Today was Down/Stay day, as we taught Benson and Watson how to Down without bending over and touching the floor. We also taught them how to Stay, and we were able to walk out of the room, even out of sight, for a period of time. Both are fast learners and did a great job.
We brushed up Zero's Sit and, especially, Down so we didn't have to bend over and touch the floor. We then taught him Stay, which he previously struggled with. But by the end of our session he was staying as we walked through the living room and kitchen and out of sight into the laundry room. Exciting progress after just 1 session!
By the way, Zero does have ears!
Jet sometimes resource guards the sofa and bed, and when he is forced off he aggresses.
Part of his behavior modification is creating a positive association with people coming towards him. With a happy tone we announced our approach, then gave him a treat. Soon Jet was looking forward to us coming near him. We then taught him how to get off the couch on cue which, after several repetitions of being reinforced for doing, he was more than happy to do!
We used recall games and the Premack Principle to teach Niekah how to come. But what really increased her response was when we raised the level of reinforcer from turkey to
We completed Cooper's basic manners training by working on an "automatic" Leave It. This is more of an advanced skill, but Cooper only takes things off the desk when someone leaves the room so a regular Leave It doesn't work as well. We tempted him with remote controls, socks, flip flops, even cat food, and he did pretty well. It will still take some work because he has been reinforced by taking them in the past, but this was a great start.
Bugsy already sits pretty well, so we just taught him how to do it with a hand signal. Down,
however, he didn't know and we had to teach him from scratch. He picked it up very quickly and we had him doing it on several different surfaces.
At only 17-weeks old, Neikah is getting into the trash and is beginning to learn she can put her paws up on the counter, as puppies tend to do. By practicing the Leave It that we taught her she will learn that certain things are not to be touched.
Jet is afraid of strangers, including me, so we began his Desensitization and Counter-conditioning outside. He progressed quickly and he was able to take food from my hand within 15 minutes. We then went inside where he continued to excel. Now that he trusts me we can start working with his resource guarding and generalized fears.
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, CTDI