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View Full Version : The "Oven Mitts" Game



QueenVee
07-14-2003, 08:01 PM
My hound, Henry, was an abused hunting dog who was abandoned by his owner. When I first adopted him from a rescue organization, I was very disconcerted by the fact that he seemed completely uninterested in play of any kind. To this day, he just looks at me like I'm nuts if I throw a ball or toy in his direction. However, the one and only "game" that I finally got him interested in -- and which he now LOVES -- is the "Oven Mitt" game.

At least once a day I put on a thick pair of old oven mitts and get down on the floor with Henry for a wrestle. He tries to get the mitts off my hands, and I fight him off. It gets quite vigorous, with us both growling and snarling at each other and working up a sweat, but the mitts protect my hands if Henry gets a little too rough.

Henry tells me when he wants to play our "game" by finding the oven mitts and dropping them at my feet....

cloverfdx
07-16-2003, 11:32 AM
thats good that he has found a game that he enjoys (be it not the best type of game) one that encourages growling and biting, but it is a game maybe you could work on other games. if you check out the thread how to teach fetch you may get a few tips.

but a couple of comments/questions (just what i think) if you knew henry was a abused dog why did you hit him when he went after the cat :confused: the poor dog had obviously been through hell and then he goes to your home where he is meant to be safe and cops more abuse ~shakes muuh head~i just dont understand.

primabella
07-16-2003, 12:11 PM
Mickey and I play the same game but with those thick slippers. He loves it. Mickey isn't a biter though. I've tried putting my hand in his mouth and he won't take it. If my hand somehow ends up in his mouth, he never presses down. That's why I know it's okay to play the game wiht him. He understands when to bite and when not too. And when to bite is pretty much never.

I think the game is fine as long as Henry understands the difference between a game and not.

:)

QueenVee
07-16-2003, 12:25 PM
Originally posted by cloverfdx
thats good that he has found a game that he enjoys (be it not the best type of game) one that encourages growling and biting
As someone who has had dog companions my whole life and has learned a great deal about dog behaviour and interaction, I know the difference between REAL growling and biting and PLAY growling and biting. The latter is very natural and harmless behaviour.

if you knew henry was a abused dog why did you hit him when he went after the cat.
Henry was not BEATEN in his previous life, he was NEGLECTED. And there is a difference between ABUSING and BEATING a dog and PUNISHING a dog. If you believe that there is never ever a situation that warrants hitting a dog, then we'll just have to agree to disagree. The threat of lethal violence towards another animal or human is a situation that calls for extreme measures, in my opinion.

Henry had been placed with several other people before I adopted him, unsuccessfully. He was a very difficult, adolescent, male hound that was out of control and refused to accept his owners' authority and was not getting the kind of vigorous exercise he required. I was told that if this placement did not work out, Henry would probably end up being euthenized. I could have bought myself a nice, cooperative, docile breed of dog, but I instead opted to commit myself to saving the life of this dog, and knew in advance that it would be a very challenging task.

When I brought Henry home (6 months ago) he didn't just run after my cat (actually my mother's cat), he literally tried to kill her. Could I have handled their introduction differently in order to avoid that situation? Yes, but hindsight is 20/20 and I had not dealt with a dog like Henry before. It all happened very fast, and I instinctively recognized the need for Henry to understand in no uncertain terms that such behaviour would not be tolerated. I only had to repeat the "don't kill the cat" lesson once more after that, and then never again have had reason to punish Henry physically.

The next two months of training in other areas were extremely difficult, almost impossible, and I was often driven to tears in my frustration. Being both very knowledgable about and previously very successful in training dogs, I completely exhausted my repertoire of positive reinforcements and was at my wit's end as to how to solve the one remaining and persistent behaviour problem -- Henry's frequent refusal to come in from the field when called and/or refusal to get back on leash. Never letting Henry off-leash was not an option, as Harrier Hounds are a breed that require a great deal of exercise and need to run and track as per their nature. They simply do not work out as pets if they do not have that outlet, as demonstrated by Henry's previously unsuccessful adoption placements.

In the end, after much consultation with dog trainers, and those knowledgable about hounds (vs your average domestic dog), I made the decision to get Henry a shock collar, and very reluctantly. I'm sure you are gasping in horror at that too, but it turned out to be the best thing I could have done. It literally saved Henry's life, and I only wish I had done it sooner.

I only had to use the collar's "shock" setting a couple of times, and Henry's behaviour instantly changed. For a couple of weeks after that, I only had to use the "beep" setting, and after that I only had to point the receiver at him. Now I only have to give a voice command, and he always responds. In the last few weeks I have not even had to call him, he now comes in from the field on his own. Nonetheless, in view of his history, I continue to keep the collar on him when in the field, just in case.

Rest assured that Henry is far from being a traumatized, abused dog. He is now a very happy, healthy dog who has learned to accept reasonable boundaries in his life, and is a delightful addition to our family. The hard work and perseverence involved in rehabilitating him has made him even more precious to me.

cloverfdx
07-17-2003, 09:22 AM
ok 1st off good on you for saving henrys life. and to take on the challange of training him.

but is still dont see the need to EVER hit a dog and dont get me started on SHOCK COLLARS :eek:


When I brought Henry home (6 months ago) he didn't just run after my cat (actually my mother's cat), he literally tried to kill her.
so henry was not on a lead? (just wondering)

QueenVee
07-17-2003, 02:40 PM
Originally posted by cloverfdx
dont get me started on SHOCK COLLARS And please don't get me started on self-righteous "holier than thou" types who love to pass judgment about situations they themselves have never experienced and know nothing about.... :rolleyes: However, if there is anyone on this forum who has actually had direct experience rehabilitating abused non-domestic HOUND breeds, I'd be very interested in sharing information and advice on the challenges involved. :)

lbaker
07-17-2003, 03:39 PM
hounds really are not like most domestic dogs & if you have never been a companion to one please don't jump to conclusions on the best method of training. QueenVee sounds like she's doing quite well with the bad situation she had to start with. Good job.
Laurie
p.s. I'll have to try the oven-mitt game with my guys.. especially my bordercollie, CheekyBitch

QueenVee
07-17-2003, 04:13 PM
Thanks, Laurie. I myself had NO IDEA about hounds when I took Henry on. I had been so successful in dog training in the past, had such a "way" with animals -- and I took it so PERSONALLY that Henry did not respond to ANY of the usual methods. I felt like such a failure, and it was only after doing a lot of research and talking to other hound owners that I realized that this dog needed an entirely different approach. I really learned a lot from the experience that has affected other areas of my life -- about patience and compromise, about how our emotions can interfere with effective problem solving, and about old dogs learning new tricks (the "old dog" being me, not Henry!).

I've been having a discussion about shock collars on another listserve and received the following message today from a woman who used to be opposed to them, but now appreciates that they are sometimes a necessary last resort with hounds and/or extremely difficult "alpha" dogs:

I used to think shock collars were awful. But one day when out walking my dog, a lady with a griffon vendeen hound stopped me and asked, in amazement, how I managed to have my dog NOT on a lead. It turned out that her hound was uncatchable - it took her 5 hours to catch him once and that was with a flying rugby tackle! She had tried EVERYTHING to train him, but he was incorrigible. I saw her a few months later and he was happily running free. Turned out a dog trainer recommended a shock collar and she said it was the best thing she'd done. He learnt quickly and then didnt need it any more, although she said every few months she has to put it on him to reinforce it as he starts to slip! I think that in the wrong hands shock collars could be cruelly misused. But I dont blame people like yourself who use them as a last resort.

Most people also don't realize how much shock collars have improved over the years. The "charge" they give does not actually hurt the dog, just startles him. I was told to use the collar on myself to know what it feels like, and did. The "charge" is no more than the kind of static charge you get from a carpet or TV screen.

By the way, I absolutely LOVE the name of your border collie. Do you have pics of her and your other dogs, that I can see? My friend and neighbour has a 5-month old border collie named Bear, who I frequently take out to the field with me and Henry. "Cheeky" doesn't half describe him....

lbaker
07-18-2003, 09:40 AM
:D I have not yet "evolved" enough to figure out how to post pictures but I'm attending the Los Angeles PetTalk Meeting/barbeque on Sunday and I'm sure some of the others will be able to help me figure it out. I have 7 dogs altogether, BorderCollie and Aussie shep mix mostly and 5 cats. We are a mostly tolerant, loving community here at PetTalk (if a bit zealous about causes sometimes:rolleyes: ) but always available for help, support and open arms. Welcome to our "home" ;) :D
Laurie

cloverfdx
07-20-2003, 03:23 AM
And please don't get me started on self-righteous "holier than thou" types who love to pass judgment about situations they themselves have never experienced and know nothing about....

self-righteous my A**.

thats fine you go on training your dog the way it suits you, ill train mine(with MODERN reward training) the way it suits me.

~yawns~ ack im over this thread

QueenVee
07-20-2003, 11:18 AM
Originally posted by cloverfdx
thats fine you go on training your dog the way it suits you, ill train mine(with MODERN reward training) the way it suits me.

Funny.... I don't remember saying ANYTHING about how YOU should train YOUR dog, and wouldn't presume to do that. I was only discussing my own particular dog, situation, and experience..... which is obviously very different from yours. I'm sure you're doing a great job.

cloverfdx
07-20-2003, 11:39 AM
i did not say that you had said anything about how i train my mutts, i was just saying that obviously our training methods are totally different and that you train henry the way you wish and vice versa.

also is henry still enjoying the oven mitt game that started this thread?

QueenVee
07-20-2003, 12:52 PM
Originally posted by cloverfdx
is henry still enjoying the oven mitt game that started this thread? Sure is! Everyday! And so am I!

lovemyshiba
07-29-2003, 02:08 PM
What a great suggestion!!!!

I bet my Abbey would just love that--she loves to wrestle on the floor with her daddy--I could play too if I had something on my hands!!!!

Abbey is some kind of beagle mix, we have no idea what. She looooves to growl and snarl when she is playing, but the minute I say "stop, gimmee kisses" she's all over my face with the tongue:D

QueenVee
07-29-2003, 02:17 PM
Originally posted by lovemyshiba
Abbey is some kind of beagle mix, we have no idea what. She looooves to growl and snarl when she is playing, but the minute I say "stop, gimmee kisses" she's all over my face with the tongue:D Yes, it is natural for dogs to growl, and snarl, and "bite" when playing. Puppies just need to be taught to tone it down sometimes. When my dog gets a little too rough (which is not very often anymore), I just stop the game and say "Gentle" until he calms down. Also, if one of the mitts slips off, he never tries to take my bare hand in his teeth, he knows he can only do that when the glove is on.

Foam
07-30-2003, 07:18 PM
Originally posted by QueenVee
And please don't get me started on self-righteous "holier than thou" types who love to pass judgment about situations they themselves have never experienced and know nothing about.... :rolleyes: However, if there is anyone on this forum who has actually had direct experience rehabilitating abused non-domestic HOUND breeds, I'd be very interested in sharing information and advice on the challenges involved. :)

I'm experienced with it! =D Well, not NEGLECTED Hounds, but hounds. ;)
My mom grew up on a farm, and when I was like 9 or so, she still had one of her father's dogs! Her name was Lilly. She was I think, about 19 years old in dog years! She died of old age, but she was a GREAT doh. The only thing she did that annoyed me was stalking birds in the yard. She even killed a couple, but it's only natural for them, and I couldn't punish her for doing what she used to do best. She didn't even howl! And at her old age, she was still a tad active, because my father worked her muscles so well when she was young. Hounds are great, and I admire you for adopting one! :D

wolfsoul
07-30-2003, 08:08 PM
That sounds like a great game to play! :) I often wrestle with Timber, and I guess the mitts would help so I don't get hurt as easily. :)

I don't think shock collars are wrong -- If they are used correctly. Leather was used on a shock collar when she wouldn't stop jumping the fence. It was one of those ones that you would manually press. My dad would get out of sight, and when she would run up to the fence he'd press the button. But it didn't phase her. The only thing it would do was ruin a good run-up and make her skin her stomach on the fence. It was a six foot fence lol. I don't agree with people that repeatedly shock their dogs for no reason, or stupid reasons. I think that shock collars should be used for safety reasons only...

QueenVee
07-30-2003, 08:31 PM
Originally posted by wolfsoul
I think that shock collars should be used for safety reasons only... I am in COMPLETE AGREEMENT with you about that. I feel it should only be used as an absolute last resort, and only where the dog's behaviour is a danger to himself and/or others and therefore MUST be eliminated. Used properly, the "shock" function of the collar should not have to be used very often, and only for a short period of time. If someone is having to use it a lot, on a long-term basis, the collar is NOT WORKING as a training method.

QueenVee
07-30-2003, 08:36 PM
Originally posted by Foam
She was I think, about 19 years old in dog years! She died of old age, but she was a GREAT dog. The only thing she did that annoyed me was stalking birds in the yard. She even killed a couple, but it's only natural for them, and I couldn't punish her for doing what she used to do best.... Wow, 19 is old for any dog, but especially for a hound. I sure hope my Henry lives as long. Henry is not interested in birds, but loves to track rabbits and groundhogs. He rarely catches the rabbits, as they are simply too fast for him, but he catches a lot of groundhogs -- which makes the farmer whose field he runs on very very happy....