Dog Training Fail « Shoot Me Now

Shoot Me NowDog Training Fail

Dog Training Fail
Published on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 by

I’ve never had a trained dog before.  As a matter of fact I’m certain my right arm is longer than the left as a result of being dragged on dog walks.  But with our new Emma being deaf, training is a necessity – for her safety and my piece of mind.

Now I normally don’t curse, but in this case I find I must.  Looking for a trainer who is experienced with deaf dogs was not an easy task.  And then I ran in to Steve.  Get ready to cover your ears.  Because I’ve given Steve a nickname.  For now, in my adoring eyes he is deemed as BAD ASS TRAINER.  Please excuse my French.

Steve fought in Vietnam.  He trained dogs to jump out of airplanes with him.  Both of his knees have been replaced due to multiple jumps.  He is a retired Navy Seal.  He has cuts, bites and scars up and down his arms from rehabilitating police dogs.  He has trained deaf dogs, blind dogs, AND a deaf and blind dog.

And you will never guess what else.  Steve is deaf himself.  In my eyes, Steve is indeed one B-A-T.  (Refer to my potty mouth above.)

We had an evaluation session this weekend with Emma.  Remember who is telling this story.  Would I be someone who has a perfectly trainable dog?  Would my dog be polite, focused and eager to do what the B-A-T says?


Emma can focus well – WHEN you can get her attention.  That is my homework for this week.  To hold my finger towards my eyes with treat in hand, getting her to focus on my eyes longer and longer each time.

Where was the fail?  Throughout the entire 30 minutes Emma kept going to a corner of the contained area to stare.  Stare at what?  We had no idea.  But she was fixated.  Knowing her well, my daughter and I assumed there was a ball under one of the displays.  Where there is a ball, there is a frozen Emma.

When the session was finally over we all agreed it was time to see what caught Emma’s attention.  We opened the gate and she zipped over to a display that had just been out of her reach.  A display of balls.  Many balls.  BASKETS OF BALLS.

Three steps, a happy lift of the paw and WHAM! The basket tips and about 60 balls go flying through the air, bouncing and rolling under and over everything.  Employees begin playing 60 ball pickup as others stood and laughed.

Needless to say, we walked out of there with four new balls, a few pictures and a good story.  I’m sure employees will be finding balls under displays and around corners for weeks.  Compliments of Emma.  You’re welcome.

dog trainign fail

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  • angelshrout

    AWw she is beautiful and I hope she learns to focus soon.. That is funny about the balls.

    • She has been doing really well this week 🙂 but if you don't have a ball or food she is “too busy” to pay attention. Kind of like my kids! 🙂

  • wow. Steve really does sound like one BAD ASS TRAINER!

  • At least you found out what she wanted – maybe a blinking, bright ball would be the focus? I dunno – never had a dog. Kinda thinking soon BUT don't tell my kids.


    • Oh Oh OH You SO have to get a dog!!!!!! I won't tell your kids… well I might slip… no wait I won't tell them… but dogs ROCK!!! 🙂

  • Wow. Steve really is one BAD ASS TRAINER. And it's too cute Emma was so distracted by all the balls!

    • And you can imagine all the “that's what she said” jokes in my house when the balls go flying…

  • Katherine, I think the problem with balls used to get Emma's attention is that she won't focus on you, she'll focus on the ball. I had really good luck with bits of cooked hot dog because the smell is so strong that dogs really do notice it. They like strong smelling stuff and the usual treats are not smelly enough. Harry was not “treat” motivated either, but he went for the hot dog pretty fast. Once you can get her to pay attention to you, that's half the battle. Harry has what I swear is a touch of OCD. He can and does focus but then he gets distracted (squirrel!) by something. I'm sure with Emma being deaf, it's harder for you and her. But have patience! You might see about having your trainer come to you home for the sessions. Fewer distractions and might be worth the extra money it would probably cost. Good luck! You'll get there! Emma is “Emmalicious” isn't she?

    • I love it… Emmalicious!!!! She and I have really bonded… I love her so much!

      HOT DOGS… SCORE! That is a GREAT idea! You can slice those pretty thinly too. The trainer suggested I use a ball if food doesn't work so you are right – I am going to start with that. She has done good… off and on during the week we do the “look in my eyes” thing… although it looks pretty funny sticking a ball on your face. If I just hold it in my hand she looks at that. We have some tweaking to do!

      I have a sinus infection… gonna have to reschedule this weekend's training. 🙁

  • Trained or not, Emma still looks like Oreo Cookie Ice cream on four legs.

    • OK, you MUST keep this oreo ice cream going… I forget about it, you mention it, and then I crack up again!

  • I do not know anything about training anyone – even my three year old… I know it takes a lot of patience to train any animal, let alone a deaf puppy. I'm glad you found the perfect trainer!

    Ooops about the balls… 🙂

    • I'm sick this weekend so I am going to have to cancel the training and reschedule ;( Sad face. I don't get how dogs can be trained – I mean, if you say SIT, why do they DO IT? I know people whose dogs will do anything they say and they don't even have a treat… some dogs are so good. With Emma, so far if you don't have something she wants she is “too busy” to really “listen” to you – as much as a deaf dog can listen LOL!

  • I'm loving these Emma Tales…..they just crack me up! Patience dear K, patience and loads of ballsy humor!

    • Yes, patience indeed. Especially because i have discovered something about deaf dogs. Ever heard of a velcro dog? Well I have one, but imagine she has some of the sticky stuff on the sides of her head and I have sticky stuff on the inside of my knees. She attempts to walk under me, stuck all velcro-like against my legs. It is a deaf dogs way of attaching and gaining focus on you and the surroundings. So picture me with a velcro dog head and velcro knees and me tripping CONSTANTLY all over my house. 🙂 She is so funny – I love her to death!

  • dfdfdfdf

  • Well, I can't imagine trying to train a hearing-challenged (or especially deaf) dog, but it's always good to have a BAT on your side.

  • keep trying!! i mean, in order to succeed you must be 1st willing to fail. so it's only a matter of time

  • Well, I know what it is to be dragged by dogs. In my case, this is the left arm which must be 10cm longer…
    It looks like that you found yourself a pretty interesting dogtrainer.
    Wish you a lot of success!

    • Thanks Pete! I actually got sick right after I paid for the first two lessons and haven't been back. I have to call today and schedule a new lesson. In the meantime, I can reach higher shelves with my right arm…

  • yuani

    wow, how dare you are.. amazing..

  • Ah… Emma is adorable. Bless you for giving this special girl a loving home.

  • At least her training sessions will not be boring. To anyone. I like her already. She seems to fit right into your home nicely. I mean that in the nicest way possible.

    Have a terrific day. 🙂

    • We have had some bumps in the road with Emma, but we are working them out. She is very sweet and she is feeling at home now. It certainly has been and still is a learning process!

  • To keep your puppy interested, you must use tempting incentives. Also mix it up a bit – Don’t always treat the same way or with the same treats.

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