Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Rossi the crocodile

Who me? I am an angel me.

After my post yesterday I thought I would let you know what we are currently working on with Rossi. Now Rossi is still a bit of a crocodile, he has very curved puppy teeth so often catches us with his teeth so we are working very hard on teaching him how to be careful with those awful impalers.

Heres what we are currently doing to work on this and to teach him how to calm himself down.

I sit on the floor and either rough house him or play tug.....if he bites or catches me I squeal and walk away if needed I walk out the door. Then I start again. When I feel like it I go all soft and talk very sweetly to him saying 'ahhh Rossi calm, ahhh Rossi' then I hold him quietly stroking him really slowly in long slow strokes until he calms himself. At first it was like holding a death roll croc and my 'ahhhh Rossis' sounded like I was warbling! Now no matter how excited he is I can calm him by the second 'ahhh Rossi' and he snuggles into me for a cuddle and stroke. Once really calm I give him a peck on the side of the face and see if I can let go totally only holding if he tried to restart the game again I can now do this fairly quickly.

Now many many people advise people with highly motivated or excitable dogs not to get them hyper or to rough house them but I have found the sooner you teach them how to calm the better. I personally dont want a robot dog or a dog who never does the mad half hour when they are excited but I do need them to have strategies to calm down themselves. Swiftly the three legged wonder dog was a evil playmate she thought if you were game enough to play with her you should have hands of steel. Yet if you even whispered 'Ow' she'd stop instantly and give a gentle kiss. This coming from a dog that went blue whilst playing with you as she was so competitive.

Am I right or wrong, probably both. Just as positive reinforcement is the right way to go it is not the end all and be all. Is it going to keep your dog safe in every situation? Not a chance. So all I can do is tell you what I have found to work with the dog I have worked with, lived with and enjoyed.

So next time you ring and it appears I am being savaged down worry I am just trying to teach Bruce ( hehe only joking Rossi!) to be calm.

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