Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Dogs just love to surprise you

Walking with owners is such a valuable tool! Today we walked with Sherleen who has the lovely Charlielab. Charlie loves his walks is very sociable with the guys and just loves to run run run with those fabulous legs....

Today however it was more important to him to be next to his mum, not just next to her but even trying to control her movement, jumping so high he could see the top of her head! He was using his mouth( gently) to control and genuinely was wound up. Now this is a new thing that we have never seen before.

So it showed me that there was no longer a healthy balance between loving his mum and feeling anxiety about her not being by his side. So it was likely that today was just an overspill of what was happening at home. How do you get the balance? To be adored by your beloved dog but not have them unable to cope when you are near them but not having their undivided attention?

Many dogs find it hardest to cope when they know their owners are there but they can't be with them so we will work on that.

If your dogs is used to a cage use this as an aid in the beginning.

Find something that is visually striking, I have used a bell in the past for example as it makes an unusual noise and is visually shapely.

Pick a good programme on tv or a good book or even if you want talk to your other half( not compulsory).

Here we go!

Bring out the Bell, give it a little rattle and place it in a place the dog can see but can't reach ( for when you don't use the cage).

Gently pop you dog in the cage you can put a word command on it or just do it using the bell.

Now the difficult/ important bit.

DO NOT even look at your dog, ignore everything including whining, crying lying on their backs and pretending to die in the most dramatic fashion. Even if they squat on their haunches and poop on your foot( yup it happened).

Read your book or whatever you want to do as long as it doesn't involve poochy.

Some dogs will continue to whine for so long that you simply can't wait until they give up so if you can wait and it isn't too traumatic for you both try to wait until they are quiet if not pick a moment when they aren't quite as loud pick up the bell give it a rattle and pop it away allowing poochy so see.

Open the cage and don't make a fuss, from this moment on you can carry on as normal allowing usual contact.

So what is this all about?

We want a visual and sound cue to let the poochy know you aren't going to take a bit of notice of them during the bell time. Not a look, no talking , cooing or petting. In time they learn that they may as well chill out and settle as nothing is happening. Using a bell allows them to understand faster when this 'rejection' will happen.

This must be done in stages so at first they are in their cage, then you can do it in the same room as them but no attention. Then you can leave the room and do jobs. Soon you should be able to roll around on the floor in gay abandon just cos you want to and your poochy won't bother to join in.

Now we could go into all the technical jargon ( I would have to look it up!) but what we are also teaching them is to cope with being with you without expecting something from us. Expectation is a curious thing.

You walk into a sweet shop owned by a friend and you are given a flump. Yum
You do this every week when you visit your friend and have a chuckle at a forty year old eating flumps.
One week your friend couldn't get any Flumps, whilst disappointed you, as a human, understand it can't be helped and anyway there is always next week.
The following week hey presto Flump ahoy.
But then disaster strikes, you go to get your Flump and there are no Flumps, well there are flumps but they are out of reach. You look longingly at your friend trying to send her give me Flump thoughts and nothing happens, do you ask, do you jokingly tell her to hand over the Flump woman? Oh no maybe I will have to buy one and then does that mean you have to always buy one? Is your friend upset with you?

See how even for a thinking human how hard it is when expectations are dashed! So all we can do is train our guys to understand we aren't always available, things aren't always going to go their way and anyway Flumps aren't good for you!

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