We had a neighbor visit so Logan could practice his greetings and make good associations
with strangers. With the help of hot dogs he did fantastic and made a fast friend. Logan
has made such tremendous progress.
Gracie and Maverick did great with Drop It, and by the end of our session they were immediately releasing items when asked. They did equally well with Leave It, even with things they love like paper towels and shoes. They are a handful but they are getting better!
Indiana was awesome learning Wait, Drop It, and Leave It. By the end of the session he was
patiently waiting for food to be put down, and dropped his toys quickly. He even left alone
slippers and towels that were on the floor! Of course, proper management of the environment
(picking up/putting away slippers, towels, etc.) goes a long way towards proofing this new skill.
Max doesn't like to get in the car. In fact, he avoids it. He is a young, healthy Labrador Retriever, so he is physically able to do it. He doesn't get sick in the car. In fact Max rides very nicely. His owners take him fun places so he doesn't associate car rides with negative outcomes like going to the veterinarian, so we're not quite sure where this aversion comes from. I initially tried luring him in with some food but Max wasn't having it. I then walked to the other side of the car and opened the door across from him and, lo and behold, he jumped right in. We tried this with two different cars and he jumped in every time. It seems that, for some reason, the enclosed space was causing some fear or anxiety about jumping in. Once we changed the environment and gave him a different perspective we were able to change his behavior. Another win for Applied Behavior Analysis and Positive Reinforcement.
At 23-weeks old Mia is still getting into things, like paper towels, as puppies will do. Teaching
Drop It and Leave It will go a long way toward interrupting those unwanted behaviors, along
with a good management plan. By the end of our session Mia was leaving alone paper towels we dropped on the floor.
Indiana had already been taught how to Down, but only after asking him to Sit first. If we
continue to ask for a Sit, then a Down, Indiana will form a "behavior chain", where Sit predicts
Down, and he'll Down when we ask for Sit. To prevent this we taught him to Down from a
standing position. Now we can ask him to Down, whether he is sitting or standing, which helps break that unwanted behavior chain.
Don't let that cute, quiet, sleeping face fool you. Bubba has the energy of three 15-week old puppies! So imagine my surprise when he absolutely aced his Wait and Stay training. Our goal in the initial session is a Stay of 30 seconds of duration, and another of 10 steps of distance, and Bubba had little trouble achieving both of those standards. He even stayed like a rock when I left at the end of our day.
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, FFCP, CTDI