In our previous sessions we addressed Peanut's resource guarding by teaching him Drop It and
Leave It so we can safely get items from him when we need to. Today we addressed the resource guarding directly by teaching him that our approach when he has an item doesn't mean we are going to take it - and thus him trying to protect it - but rather he is going to get something better when we get close. Isn't that rewarding his growling and snapping, you might ask? No. What we are doing in that situation is changing Peanut's emotional reaction to people approaching him., from "Oh no, here they come to take my stuff" to "Oh wow, here they come with some good stuff!" Within the hour we were able to easily and safely take from him a paper towel that was wet with chicken stock, something he has bitten over in the past.
When we began walking Hobbs pulled a lot, and he is a big, strong boy! I then started using a very high rate of reinforcement (a click/treat every 2-3 steps) until he learned that sticking close by was worth it to him. He ended up walking great!
Nolan has a habit of bursting out of the back door when it is opened, or getting in the way at the front door when guests are entering. Do we punish these behaviors to make them stop? No. We ask "what do we want him to do instead?", then teach that. Within an hour both issues were resolved by teaching him to Sit and Wait patiently for the back door to be opened, and to Stay while we answered the door or when someone was leaving. Great job, Nolan!
Henry has a history of not coming when called. But food is a powerful motivator, and by using it she came to us quickly and consistently. She even retrieved her frisbee, something she never did before.
Today Thea learned how to walk without pulling. We started our walk by standing still - and rewarding Thea for looking at us. Once she understood that paying more attention to us was valuable to her we started walking and she chose to stay close by. In the beginning we used a high rate of reinforcement (frequent clicks and treats), but as she continued to walk better we reduced how often we rewarded her. Such a fun, relaxing walk.
Duncan did great learning how to Drop It and Leave It, easily letting alone food that we dropped on the floor. We also practiced Stay while his brother, Woodstock, was eating and he did real well with that too, though I'm sure it wasn't easy for him!
Maggie did really well learning how to Down and Stay. Stay was especially surprising since
she follows her owners everywhere. But today they walked out of the room, up the stairs, and she sat perfectly as I walked out of the door. Great job Maggie!
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, FFCP, CTDI