Unfortunately, this was our last session teaching Ollie his basic manners. While he is doing very well, he still gets excited when someone knocks on the door. Today we taught him to Go to Place so he had something "to do" when there are visitors. He caught on very quickly and learned to go to and stay on his blanket when his owner walked to the door and opened it. Remember, when your dog is practicing an unwanted behavior, instead of punishing him ask yourself, "What do I want him to do instead?" and reinforce the heck out of it so THAT is what he wants to do.
Allen loves to fetch his ball but he plays keep-away when he brings it back, so tonight we taught him how to Drop It. Now he immediately drops his ball to have it thrown again. We then taught him Leave It, which will be helpful because he likes to steal socks! We practiced
with socks and he did really well.
Being just 14-weeks old Floyd puts everything possible in his mouth, sometimes swallowing
it, so teaching a solid Drop It and Leave It is very important. We used his toys to teach him Drop It. When he was doing well we tried one of his "forbidden" objects, a hand towel. He eagerly dropped it when cued because he learned he would be rewarded if he did. We then taught him Leave It. Again we dropped the hand towel on the floor, but now he wouldn't pick it up because he learned he would be rewarded if he didn't touch it. Such a smart boy!
Nala is a big, strong dog and she pulls on leash because she likes to sniff things, so her owners thought that by keeping her on a short leash would fix their problem. In reality it just frustrated Nala, which caused even more pulling. Tonight we taught her owners that by letting her sniff she would actually walk better. Her reward for not pulling was the ability to move forward to the next scent, and she walked better than ever. If we make no changes nothing will change.
I was contacted to help Thor because he barks and growls at strangers, and when I met him last week he did just that to me. But after some positive interactions with me he eventually warmed up. Today was our first session since that initial meeting, so I was interested how he would react. While he did bark a little when I came in, after a nice, long sniff he recognized me and got very friendly and playful. We then very easily taught the big guy how to Down and Stay.
Tonight we taught Hudson how to Stay. He did great when we walked out of the room, even
out of sight. But a big test is when someone feeds the cat. When someone opens the door and goes downstairs to feed him Hudson races around the house in excitement. With Hudson in a Stay we made our way, step by step, to the door. Eventually we were able to open it and step inside. Hudson just sat there and watched. A good start to calmer behavior.
Size doesn't matter when it comes to fear and anxiety. It can affect a 9-pound Chihuahua just as easy as Thor, a 130-pound Great Dane. Strangers scare Thor, and he responds by growling, barking, and lunging at them. He did it to me when I met him today and, let me tell you, it's a bit intimidating! But we took our time and fed him his favorite - peanut butter - and by the end of our session we were buddies. We will work to do the same with other people he doesn't know.
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, FFCP, CTDI