A Dog Trainer’s Reflections of 2012

As I sit and reflect on 2012, I am encouraged by the number of dogs and people that have been helped through the doggyloot blogs. Most training issues with dogs can be helped with positive and consistent training. I thought you might enjoy a couple of training stories that have a funny twist to them.

My girl Shenanigans is a rough player. When I first got her last year, she would not heed my other dog’s warning that she was playing too rough for him. When she ignored his warnings, I would say “Uh Oh,” take her by the collar, and put her in time out in the bedroom for 30 seconds (this was to mark the behavior, and take away what she wanted, which was to play). When I let her out, she would be calm. After a couple of days of doing this, I noticed one evening that when I said “Uh Oh,” she raised her head up, and started going toward the bedroom – putting herself in time out – only stopping at the doorway to see if I was following. I hadn’t really planned to train her to put herself in time out, but because I had been consistent, that’s what she learned.
The next story is about a client’s dog. This dog was a pretty hard puller when walking. One of the things we use to train to stop pulling, is to “be a tree”. This means that when the dog pulls, you stop. When the dog comes back toward you and you get a loose leash, you can continue the walk. The dog will figure out that he only gets to go anywhere when there is no strain on the leash. This particular dog figured out after awhile that if he backed up exactly three steps, his owner would move forward and his walk could continue. Each time she stops now, he backs up three steps. Lesson learned, and comical to watch. Now we just need to work on the going forward part.
I hope you and your dogs all have a great 2013. I’m always looking for topics to write about, so feel free to put your ideas in the comments, or submit it in the question and answer section.
Terry Meeks is a dog trainer, APDT Member an CGC Evaluator in Pinellas County, Florida.  Find Four on the Floor Dog Training at FourontheFloor-Dogtraining.com and on Facebook.

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