Consistency and Patience Paying Off
Our dog, Chase, is very dog selective, and has been since the day we adopted him. He would bark and lunge at any dog he thought was a threat. (Side note: this is how most trainers get started in the profession, with their own "project" dog.) We have worked hard over the years to desensitize and counter-condition Chase and we now take walks and go camping with little to no issues.
My son now has a dog, and we sometimes "dog sit" him. Kam is a spunky terrier mix - dog and people friendly and very high energy. Although Chase now does well with dogs out of the house, another dog IN THE HOUSE is another matter! The first time Kam visited, Chase barked, lunged, and snarled - through the safety of a gate - at the poor, unsuspecting Kam.
Over the half a dozen or so times Kam has visited we have worked on desensitizing and counter-conditioning Chase. At first it was clicking and treating Chase just for looking at Kam, but now we reward Chase for being calm around Kam. We do this every time we have the opportunity.
Kam came to visit last night (Tuesday) and will be staying until Friday. When Kam first gets here he is a whirling dervish, getting into just about every toy he can find (he loves dissecting the plush toys to find the squeaker). It is definitely a stressful time for Chase so they are separated by a gate between our living and dining rooms. By the next morning, however, Kam has usually settled in and is much calmer. After breakfast is also nap time for Ash and Chase, so I took advantage of the situation.
As you can see, our consistency and patience are paying off, as Chase and Kam are resting comfortably on the same couch. We still have work to do, but the fruits of our labor are well worth it.
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Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, IAABC-ADT, FFCP, CTDI