Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Trainer

We are trying out a new trainer who positive reinforcement training. She came last week for an initial consultation. I was really impressed with her methods, thoughts, and questions. She was here for almost 2 hours and had a full questionnaire that needed to be filled out. After she asked the questions, she did a little demonstration with Oak and a clicker. I hadn't really thought that a clicker worked that well but she had him touching her hand on command within minutes. It was all very interesting to watch.

At the end of the consult she gave us a small bit of homework and then was going to come up with a plan of attack for the next 4 weeks of training. Oak's main problem is jumping up when guests in the door. He just goes nuts, and doesn't listen to anything I have to say. I've tried telling people to ignore him, I've tried to get him to sit and stay by me, I've even tried treats. None of these things worked, he just wanted see the new person at his door. The only thing that does work, is to lock him in the basement while I answer the door, and if the guest is staying, I end up putting him on a leash to control him for the first 30-45 minutes until he calms down! The beginning step to help with this problem, was to get him to sit and stay for a few seconds. Each time he did, I released and gave him a treat(cheeiros are working really well!) We slowly started increasing the time he had to stay before being released.
When she came back this week, we showed off his new skill. She was really impressed that he stayed for 15 sec without moving.
She came with a plan of attack and we went through all the lessons we have to practice. We are back to concentrating on the basics. Teaching him to focus, leave it, sit and stay for short periods of time and an Orienting exercise. We are also expanding our skill at the door too. He sits and stays, while I walk over to the door and open it! He's catching on to them all quite nicely. A thousand more times and he'll be perfect :)
And to top it all off we are following a Protocol for Relaxation by Dr Karen Overall. It's a 14 step program to help calm and relax over excitable canines like my little Oak.

Like Julie says, by the end of the lessons and practicing he'll be Super Oak, ready to leap small buildings in a single bound, or at least calmly meet guests at the door :)


Elizabeth said...

Practice makes perfect! Sounds like it's going well already!

Elizabeth & Luna

1000 Goldens said...

Good job Oak! I couldn't stay for 15 seconds when guest arrive - you are my hero.