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Old May 11th, 2012, 12:52 PM
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tenderfoot tenderfoot is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Posts: 1,249
Put this behavior into the body of a 6 yr old girl and you would think "oh, my she is cute and sweet, but rather demanding and indulged". Her potential to be great is apparent in her very sweet behavior. But its not how good one can be but how bad that makes or breaks a relationship.
Great that you are doing the work with her food bowl etc., but you need to make the same efforts with her other behaviors. When a dog behaves in a manner we don't like, we have to hold up the mirror and ask how we have encouraged, rewarded or permitted the behavior.
With 'attention getting' behavior you have three choices.
1. Ignore it and the dog will tire and learn that it doesn't work and is a waste of time and energy. Unfortunately you will have to have patience beyond Jobs' to out do this princess. I think we are going to eliminate this choice at this time.
2. Correct it. Let her know that barking is not tolerated. This means that you have to have a means of control (ie a leash attached to both of you), and you will need to firmly tell her to be quiet (a good foot stomp will help to empower your word). The leash helps her and you because you can have a healthy interaction without her running away or running circles around you as she barks. Keeping her near you gives her the chance to listen and learn. This is our favored choice at this time because she has become obnoxious and needs to learn it is the wrong choice. At this point you need to stop the behavior in order to teach her what does work - ie. being calm and quiet.
3. Get her brain busy - a busy brain doesn't have time to act badly. And a busy brain is also a calmer brain. Every time you ask her to do something and she does it out of relationship with you she has an outpouring of calming chemicals in her brain that actually cause to her change physically. The busier she is the calmer she is.
Exercise is important as many a TV trainer will tell you, but think about it....1 hour of exercise today will have to be 1.5 hours next week in order to get the same results, because you are now conditioning an athlete and she will need 2 hours the following week and soon you wont have enough time to exhaust your dog in order to have a calm dog. AND she will be tired and take a nap but wake up the same dog she was before the workout, but didn't learn a thing. Mental workouts are far more tiring than physical workouts and have a lasting benefit because the dog is learning.
Your little beauty is undoubtably smart, she has you very well trained - she barks YOU pick her up.
The main thing you need to think about is "Who is in Charge?" Who is leading this dance? Who is making the decisions in this house? The answer needs to be you every time.
This is more than correcting her every time she misbehaves. But just like a child who consistently misbehaves we need to let them know they are making bad choices, but we also have to help them learn about making good choices. This means that she needs a BIG vocabulary so you have lots of things to talk about, lots of opportunities for learning and understanding, which can transform your dog and your relationship.
You also need to teach her how to play with you. We have a large pack of dogs and we play differently with each dog, some are growly when they play but don't mean disrespect, some are tender in their play, some are mouthy, and some get barky. We understand each and so long as all things are in balance we can accept the differences, but if someone gets too mouthy, too barky, too growly then things stop, we teach and then go back to play.
Best of luck, and please feel free to call us for additional ideas and help. We are in Colorado and take calls 7 days a week (9am to 9pm). No charge.
Love Them & Lead Them,
~Elizabeth & Doug
Dog Training the Way Nature Intended
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