Mako is very food motivated, so teaching him to Wait for it took a little while, as did waiting at the door, but he eventually got it. We also taught him to Stay as people walked away and things happened around him. Good job, Mako!
Greta pulls on leash, so tonight we taught her how to heel and walk nicely on leash. She lives on a farm with lots of smells, but by using a high rate of reinforcement we were able to teach her that paying more attention to us was a better deal.
We began Lucy's impulse control training by teaching her Wait and Stay. She did very well,
considering she is only 16-weeks old. We were able to walk out of the room and sit down at the table for stretches of time without her moving from her place. Impressive because, other than sleeping, when are puppies ever still?!
Thor gets easily distracted on his walks, especially by other dogs. His owners tried using a shock collar to correct his behavior but didn't get the results they were looking for. Over the past several weeks we have been teaching Thor impulse control using positive reinforcement. That training culminated in Thor being able to walk by and eventually meet another dog with no barking, pulling, or lunging.
Today we taught Lucy how to Sit and Down. She did extremely well, learning both within 30
minutes. But all of those puppy push-ups left her exhausted and she was asleep before
we wrapped up.
Sully was a rockstar learning Drop It and Leave It. Once he got the concept he was able to leave food just inches away. Now to try it with the cats!
TIP #1: AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION
If you have a reactive dog you've probably already spent a lot of time trying to prevent incidents while walking in the neighborhood, but it always helps to review what you're doing now to stay out of trouble while you're working on a treatment plan.
Most people with feisty fidos try to walk their dogs at quiet times of day. When you do encounter another dog, don't hesitate to cross the street or turn and go the other way. To make this possible, try to walk on streets that have little traffic. Obviously, you are already avoiding streets with dogs running loose, but you also might want to look out for yards with high hedges that may conceal approaching dogs until they are too close.
Most importantly, if any situation makes you feel concerned, avoid it. Many of our clients skipped their neighborhood walks during the early stages of training, and found other ways to exercise their dogs. Don't think you are being a wimp for avoiding trouble. You're being a wise and thoughtful dog owner with a carefully thought out rehabilitation plan.
- Excerpted from Feisty Fido
TIP #2: MY DOG IS A FAILURE
Don't worry if your dog fails. Failure is a natural part of learning. Remain calm and resist the urge to yell "no" or physically move your dog around. If your dog fails three times in a row, stop. The task is too hard for your dog. Go back to the previous step or find a way to make it easier for your dog.
Each training session should be 5 minutes long or less. Training should be fun, so don't keep going unless both you and your dog are enjoying it. You can repeat a lesson up to (but no more than) three times in a day. Ten minutes a day is an excellent target.
Each training session should focus on one behavior only. If you'd like to work on another behavior, do so in separate training sessions. Each lesson should be repeated until your dog is successful at least 80% of the time. In addition, your dog should be bright and eager to train. If she's not having fun, that training session has not been successful, no matter how well she performed!
- Excerpted from Beyond the Back Yard: Train Your Dog to Listen Anytime, Anywhere!
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, CTDI