“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as
unconditionally as a dog.”
― M.K. Clinton, Showstoppers
We took a different approach with Tango today. In the past we've always challenged Tango to face his fears by slowly moving toward moving cars, bicycles, people, etc., and he has shown progress. Today we simply picked a spot in the front yard, at a distance that was under threshold, and watched the cars go by. When we first sat down Tango was very vigilant of his surroundings, but after 15 minutes you could see him start to relax, and by 30 minutes he was lying down as cars whizzed by.
Tugger greeted me tonight with some jumping, which is typical for a 4-month old puppy, but she did listen when told Off and quieted down fairly quickly. Tonight's session included Leave It, Stay, and Wait. Tugger is a fast learner and caught onto things quickly, but she was tuckered out by the end.
Red worked on meeting new people today. We went to the dog park, a very comfortable place for Red because he gets along so well with other dogs. We took advantage of his calmness by taking him around to the other people in the park. Every time he approached someone he was rewarded for it. While he still doesn't like people reaching out to him, he showed improvement by his willingness to go up to people.
Dogs make us feel special, and teach us by example to relish simple pleasures and live totally in the moment. They teach us there is only now and only who you are, who you are with, and what you are doing right then – and what could be better than to sniff the wind and be in the company of those you love?”
― Val Silver, Rescue Me: Tales of Rescuing the Dogs Who Became Our Teachers, Healers, and Always Faithful Friends
For today's session we moved from cars driving by to people walking by. We increased the rate of reinforcement and also increased the reward - from cheese to chicken and Tango's favorite, pizza crust! During the course of the session we were able to decrease the distance at which the reactions started as well as decrease the time it took him to settle down.
Tugger is a beautiful, 4-month old American Staffordshire Terrier in need of basic obedience. She already has a solid Sit, so tonight we began with Down and Off. She picked up Down very quickly, but Off will take more practice, as it often does with younger dogs.
“When was the last time someone was so overjoyed to see you, so brimming with love and affection that they literally ran to greet you? A dog will do that for you--ten, twenty, thirty times a day.”
― Lionel Fisher
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, FFCP, CTDI