New puppy Max is a 6-month old Miniature Schnauzer who is in need of some basic obedience, although the clients are experienced dog owners and have already laid down a great foundation. Max gets very excited when greeting visitors so we started out by working on Go To Place and Off. Max is a very smart little pup and did great!
“I, too, had set out to be remembered. I had wanted to create something permanent in my life - some proof that everything in its way mattered, that working hard mattered, that feeling things mattered, that even sadness and loss mattered, because it was all part of something that would live on. But I had also come to recognize that not everything needs to be durable. The lesson we have yet to learn from dogs, that could sustain us, is that having no apprehension of the past or future is not limiting but liberating. Rin Tin Tin did not need to be remembered in order to be happy; for him, it was always enough to have that instant when the sun was soft, when the ball was tossed and caught, when the beloved rubber doll was squeaked. Such a moment was complete in itself, pure and sufficient.”
― Susan Orlean
Today we worked on Leave It and Come When Called, which Tango picked up very quickly, so much so that we had time to work on his anxiety issues with passing cars, bikes, etc. We practiced counter-conditioning as cars went by, and we were able to make it half way down the driveway without a reaction to cars. Trucks are a different story! But we made progress on our first day, and that's what matters.
The client reported that Bella and Nikki had only 1 minor spat over the past two weeks, so the counter-conditioning and overall management of the situations that trigger Bella seem to be having an affect. One of Bella's other big problems is door darting, so we worked on Wait and Stay. Next session we will introduce the Protocol for Relaxation to help with her focus.
“I don't think twice about picking up my dog's poop, but if another dog's poop is next to it, I think, 'Eww, dog poop!”
― Jonah Goldberg
Tango is an Aussie/Sheltie mix with anxiety issues that cause him to react to many stimuli including cars, bikes, and dogs. We began our first session by strengthening his Down and Stay commands, as they will be helpful when we begin to deal with his anxiety. We also initiated the relaxation protocol to help, as well.
Bella had a good week, with only two minor dust-ups with her companion, Nikki. To further help control Bella's outbursts we taught her the Leave It command today. She also is inconsistent with her Recall, so we worked on that as well. I instructed the client to keep up with situation management, which seems to be helping, as well as these obedience commands that will help with her impulse control. In the coming weeks we will add more to strengthen her self control.
The focus of Heinz's training today was on his jumping. We determined that he loves wiffle balls, so whenever he would jump we would give him the Off command, then ask for a Sit. When he complied he would get his wiffle ball. He learned very quickly that by sitting, instead of jumping, he would get his favorite toy! We also began Dr. Karen Overall's Protocol for Relaxation, which is a detailed process to teach a dog how to be calm. Much to my surprise, after we did the steps Heinz jumped up on the couch and fell asleep! I think I'll be using this more often!
“Every year thousands of dogs are abandoned to shelters because of behavior problems. And these are things that can be corrected with just basic training. Dogs are being killed because of lack of training, and that's what the Canine Good Citizen program is all about. (Mary Burch, AKC)”
― Martin Kihn, Bad Dog: A Love Story
Molly's training continued tonight with Come When Called and Go To Your Spot. We started the Come When Called outside and had the client run about 20 yards away while I held Molly. When I let her go she sprinted to the client, then right past him! We started too big too soon and there were too many distractions outside. We backtracked a bit and kept the distance shorter and we achieved positive results. We introduced the Go To Spot to help Molly relax when people enter and leave the house. Since she enjoys her crate we used that as "the spot". That greatly helped her learn the process fairly quickly. As with all dog training, these two commands need consistent practice to make perfect!
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, FFCP, CTDI