Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I have Doggie Tourette's syndrome

Tourette's syndrome: an inherited neuropsychiatric disorder with onset in childhood, characterized by the presence of multiple physical (motor) tics and at least one vocal (phonic) tic; these tics characteristically wax and wane.

Doggie Tourette's syndrome, aka hiccups (aka hiccough): the spasmodic contraction of the diaphragm that repeats several times per minute.

In general I think I am a pretty positive trainer. My corrections for my dogs are mostly verbal markers. I admit I have used other, more physical, methods in my past but for me and my dogs the verbal markers seem to be most effective.

My negative verbal marker for Icon was initially a gasp. Like, " Icon! I can't believe you did that!" (it has since evolved to more of a "HEY!" comment.) It worked brilliantly for the most part in general usage (when he was in full drive mode, the breath intake of course didn't phase him, which probably led to the "HEY!").

But this has come back to haunt me. I don't get hiccups very often, maybe once ever 3 months or so. But now whenever I DO get hiccups it totally shuts Icon down and freaks him out.

I am quite sure that he associates this "spasmodic contraction of the diaphragm" or "sharp intake of breath" with my original negative marker. The poor thing probably imagines me screaming, at regular intervals, for no apparent reason, "YOU MOTHER F#*(er stupid piece of SH!T A$$h0ie DOG!"

Poor guy.

So. I guess the moral of this story is be careful what you choose for a verbal marker. It may come back to haunt you.

1 comment:

  1. LOL! Keeper gets up, gives me a Look, and moves away every time I burp. I finally figured out she does that because I usually follow a burp with "Excuse me"...a phrase I had used to tell her to 'get-out-of-my-way-right-now.' So of course she worked that command back to it's lowest common denominator...a burp. I'll let you know if she starts leaving the room when I open a bottle of beer.