Friday, April 20, 2012

Training Tess 4-20-12 "Nail trimming"

This week's training video is up!

FYI - I've started to include my initials "mnf" at the end of all my videos so it should be easy to search youtube and find my videos.  

This week I videoed Tess's nail trim.

BTW - I have no idea what the audio sounds like in this video because I uploaded it and annotated it in class on mute!  Audio wasn't important for this session anyways. 

Tess really resents any kind of restraint or "man handling".  Unfortuantley she's also very reactive to having her nails trimmed.  I'm not sure what she doesn't like about it - probably the requirement that she has to be reasonably still and not bouncing around, and the fact she's being touched, and maybe she just has really sensitive nails?  Today is the first time I quicked her (pre-video - I clipped the video so just a portion of the nail trim is shown), there's no reason for there to be a negative/pain association with clipping.

I've been trimming her nails while she's on her back and it goes MUCH better.  She associates being on her back with all sorts of games we play.  I'm not asking her to roll on her back for the session - I'm placing her in position - because I don't want to associate the "on your back" command with nail sessions for now.

Another important note is that the point of the session is desensitization/counter conditioning (DS/CC) - NOT training.  Thus, I'm not rewarding her for a specific behavior during the session - I'm trying to change her emotional response to nail training from a negative thing, to a positive thing.  Ideally, I would be giving her treats when I was actually trimming the nail, but not having 3 arms (nor 2 heads incidentally) she's getting treated between trimming the nail.  Sometimes I ask my partner to help me and the timing is much better (he feeds as I trim). 

Between each foot she gets a play break to work off any stress that has accumulated and to let her know that this is a fun game!

On her back she's not really restrained.  I've placed her in position and she's holding it voluntary based on the support of my legs.  I'm teaching her to accept restraint, and to roll into position - but again, 2 things that I'm working on APART from nail trimming, since the act of nail trimming has such a negative connotation for her.

Based on my experience with Tess, I'm not sure that regularly handling puppy nails and feet, and doing nail trims young necessarily guarantees you a dog that doesn't resent nail trims as an adult.  I was very conscious of doing the "right" handling things with Tess as a puppy - nails, teeth, restraint - and I've come to the conclusion that the dog's cooperation with those activities is partly based on their personality.  My hope is through DS/CC and a positive approach, eventually Tess looks forward to the game of nail trimming!

1 comment:

  1. I increased the size of font on the annotations so it's easier to read on the embedded video. Youtube and video is very new to me so if you have any other suggestions or quick fixes, please let me know! I'm obviously limited in camera and my lighting/audio for now, but hopefully you see little changes in the "watch-ability" of each successive videow :)