Gracie is a super-friendly Lab/Border Collie mix who jumps on people when they come in the door. She also has a relatively mild case of separation anxiety. For our first session we worked on the "off" command. She picked it up very quickly, as Labs and Border Collies tend to do.
"I've always felt that animals are the purest spirits in the world. They don't fake or hide their feelings and they are the most loyal creatures on Earth.
And somehow we humans think we are smarter... what a joke."
"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive."
- Gilda Radner
The clients reported that the prior work we did to help Taylor get along with Lucy is working, as they can now spend time together in the same room. Also, the weather cooperated enough that we could go outside and work on some Rapid Recall exercises.
Whiskey is an 8-month old mini Schnauzer that likes to jump up on people for attention, so we used a little counter-conditioning and rewarded only when she had "4 on the floor". By the end of the night she was readily sitting for greetings. And who doesn't love that name!
"Until there is no dog, it is hard to imagine how much space one actually occupies just by curling up on a small circular cushion that L.L. Bean calls a bed. Without a dog, the air is thin, like the decreased percentage of oxygen at higher altitudes. Without a dog, there’s nobody to check in with, out of the corner of your eye, just to feel a sense of “you and me, we are both here, now” — a sense that, as it turns out, is pretty damn important. Without a dog, days have less structure — no going home to let the dog out, or feed, or tend to — and while structure doesn’t always equal meaning, I think that with a dog, it does. Without a dog, being one person in one space is surprisingly lonely. With a dog, there is connection."
- Katherine Goldberg, DVM
Again we worked on the relationship between Taylor and the client's other dog, Lucy, an adult Weimaraner. Taylor likes to bark and nip at Lucy, challenging her to play, but Lucy wants no part of her. Lucy's attempts to correct Taylor with growls, lip curls, and even some snapping are ignored by Taylor. We practiced blocking Taylor's aggressive actions, then rewarding her when she settled down into a sit.
“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”
― Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, IAABC-ADT, FFCP, CTDI