Today we met Rigby, a 2-year old Pit Bull/Boxer mix. Rigby was recently adopted and needs to learn some manners and impulse control, so we will be going through the Basic Obedience program over the next few weeks.
I believe that some of Tucker's leash reactivity is due to anxiety, due in part to the prong collar he was wearing. Today we ditched the prong collar and taught Tucker how to Heel and walk nicely on a loose leash, which he did very well.
"There is no evidence that dogs have the kind of complex emotional lives and value systems that we do. It's one reason why we love them so much, in fact. They are neither "good" nor "bad." They don't hold grudges, act in petty ways, or seek revenge. They read our moods, but not our minds."
- Jon Katz
Otto Rocket (love the name - ask your 20-something kids) is a 4-year old Beagle mix with some serious stress/anxiety/OCD issues. He wouldn't come near me during my visit and actually barked the entire time. He also licks things constantly. I recently read an article that stated canine OCD can be caused by GI issues, so the first thing we need to do is get a medical checkup. If his problems are a result of a medical issue no amount of training will work without addressing that first.
We finished Violet's basic training with Loose Leash Walking. We taught her how to Heel and how to walk nicely with a nice, slack leash. She did very well, except when she sees another dog. That may be something we have to work on in the future!
TIP #1: YOU DON'T GET WHAT YOU WANT, YOU GET WHAT YOU CLICK
Use marker training to mark the instance your dog does something that you want, and follow it with a high value reinforcer to raise the probability that the behavior will be repeated. Clickers are the #1 choice for marker training, but you can use an emphatic YES! or other word to let your dog know what he did was correct.
TIP #2: LEARN YOUR ABC'S
Every behavior is preceded by an antecedent (an influential event that comes before the behavior) and is followed by a consequence (an influential event that comes after the behavior, i.e. reinforcement or punishment). By controlling the antecedent and consequence you can change behavior. As easy as A(ntecedent) B(ehavior) C(onsequence)!
Lexi already has a pretty good foundation for Recall so we just worked on some games and philosophies (no punishment after a recall, be aware of unintentional punishment) to strengthen it. What we did focus on was her leash manners. We started out in the back yard teaching her Heel and Loose Leash Walking. We then went out front where there were cars, kids, and dogs and she did wonderfully! Great job Lexi and Chrissy!
"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog."
- Edward Hoagland
Tucker is an 8-year old Chow Chow mix who, over the years, has had a history of random lunges, snaps, and nips of people and other dogs. Recently he inflicted his first bite. Our first order of business is to get him off the prong collar that he wears on walks (all prior incidents have been on walks) and then we will begin a process of desensitization and counterconditioning.
Besides working on Come When Called we also introduced Violet to the Relaxation Protocol in order to help her learn to stay calm while things are going on around her. She did very well, already completing Step 1 and nearly finishing Step 2!
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, IAABC-ADT, FFCP, CTDI