Dozer was much less reactive to other dogs on our walk today, although he still was not responding to any cues. However, if we just waited several seconds he eventually would lose interest in the other dog then look at us, which we, of course, reinforced.
Emma did fantastic today. She let us put her harness and leash on with absolutely no problems, then walked around the yard like a champ. After just a couple of sessions of positive association and positive reinforcement she is no longer afraid of the leash.
TIP #1: HOLD THE HUGS - FOR NOW
Allow time for you and your puppy or new dog to get to know each other before you try to handle him completely. Dogs can be just as particular as humans about being touched by strangers and as long as your relationship is brand new, proceed with respect. You wouldn’t ask for more than a kiss on a first date, right?
To make it a pleasant experience for your dog to be touched, offer a treat every time you touch him in a new area. Any kind of grooming or holding should be minimal at first and always combined with lots of delectable treats. If your dog is on medication of some kind, be extra gentle and careful. A good rule of thumb is to let the dog initiate petting sessions until you know each other well.
TIP #2: WHAT A BASIC MEET & GREET SHOULD LOOK LIKE
A good meet and greet consists of the two dogs smoothly making muzzle to muzzle contact followed by some mutual rear investigation. Then either play will break out or the dogs will go their separate ways. A male may urinate on the next available vertical surface.
Meet and greets may feature stiffness, posturing and snarky stuff. The latter sometimes indicates some lack of social skill or confidence, or simply routine friction in normal dog interactions.
It's a good general policy with unknown quantity dogs to break meet and greets off after several seconds, if the dogs don't do so themselves. I recommend allowing posturing, stiffness or standing over, provided there is rapid enough behavior change, i.e. the dogs don't get stuck in some volatile looking stance such as a stiff and growly T-position (perpendicular to each other with one dog's chin or chest over withers of other). If there is some snarking or if they get stuck in some stiff posture, break them off. Happy talk them while walking away if one or both dogs are too stiff.
If you want to try again after breaking it off, wait a couple of minutes before re-engaging to let them cool off. Keep the dogs moving during the break and keep up the happy talk even as you disengage. Put the problem dog(s) through some obedience paces at some distance. Then try again.
- excerpted from Fight! A Practical Guide to the Treatment of Dog-Dog Aggression
Georgia learned how to Leave It, including things she enjoys, like toilet paper and socks!
We also practiced outside with sticks, acorns, and leaves and she did great with everything.
Poor Emma is fearful of a leash and, therefore, cannot be walked. Today we were able to get a leash on Emma only after we fitted her with a harness. We then used some spray liver on the end of a target stick to lure her into a walk. After just a few
minutes she was walking without a lure!
Peaches concluded her basic manners training by learning Loose Leash Walking. We first replaced her retractable leash, as they can contribute to pulling, with a regular six foot leash and then taught her how to Heel. Once she learned that paying attention to us earned her rewards she began to walk very nicely.
TIP #1: WORKOUTS FOR THE BRAIN
Biologically speaking, your dog is not supposed to have a bowl of kibble plunked down in front of him. He is a hunter by nature, meant to work for his keep. Mimic this by serving your dog’s food in a Kong or treat ball. Your dog will spend the first part of the day figuring out how to get at his food and the rest of it recovering from the mental effort. Perfect!
Toys are a great way to engage your dog’s brain. Dogs have distinctly individual toy preferences, depending on the day, time, and situation. Do some detective work and find out what truly tickles your dog.
The best toys have a purpose. They deliver food, present a challenge, squeak, or make themselves interesting in some other way. Some classics to consider: Rope toys, plush toys (with or without squeakers), Hide-A-Bee (Squirrel, Bird), tricky treat balls, soft rubber toys (vinyl), and hard rubber toys like Kongs and nyla bones.
Once you have a good selection, develop a toy strategy. Designate a popular toy for use only during alone time, like when you need to leave your dog in his crate, confinement area, or a spare room. Then, rotate the other toys daily to keep the novelty factor high.
TIP #2: MATCHING LAW
The choices we make are the direct result of a number of variables, such as the rate of reinforcement (how many times we’ve been reinforced for the behavior), the quality of the reinforcement (how much did we appreciate that reinforcement), or the reinforcement delay (how soon did we get the reinforcement). If you were paid $1,000 for every phone call you had to make, would you still chose to walk your dog over calling a difficult client? According to the matching law, the chances of choosing one behavior over another are the direct equivalent of how much those behaviors have been reinforced. In other words, faced with two options, A and B, if A was reinforced twice as much as B, we would chose option A twice as often as we would chose option B. Let’s say your dog got clicked and treated 10 times when sitting at a 90° angle from your body and 5 times when sitting parallel in good alignment. As a result, when asked to ‘sit’, your dog would be twice as likely to sit at a 90° angle.
- Dr. Jennifer Cattet
We were to begin Rocky's basic manners training by teaching him Sit and Down, but he
had already learned it, the smart little Border Collie that he is! So we then went to Plan B
and taught him Wait and Stay at which, of course, he excelled!
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, CTDI