Monthly Archives: February 2011

I Created a Monster

I created a monster and I love it, big faster steps.

Moving from treating on my foot to get Ms. Honey used to getting treats from me to taking treats from my hand, either one left or right, only took from December 17th until February 11th and fast 59 days.

This is an example of “patience shown” results in behavior modification.  As she became used to my smelly foot thing on the top step of the back porch, we moved ever so slowly to different steps on the same porch.  After a few weeks of moving around the porch, I finally sat on the top step and placed treats on the next step down, while staring off into the wild blue.  Another week or so, I placed first one finger by the treat, then two fingers.  We progressed onto a palm up placement on the step and a high valued treat nestled in the palm of my right hand only, nothing from that scary left hand yet, thank you very much.  The next try was to stand placing a treat in the palm of my hand on the top step and after a couple tries SUCCESS.  As I slowly moved my hand away from the sanctuary of the steps and more time, she got the idea, “hands aren’t really that bad” at least from the old guy.

She has progressed and is now happily, with tail wag and all, taking treats from either hand and anywhere those awful hands happen to be, yard, car port and even inside.

She has become the “Cookie Monster” I knew she could.  The side benefit is I now have a new shadow, Ms. Followtail always near watching those nice hands and that bearded old face, the face makes funny sounds like “Cookie” or “Yes” if there are no cookies present.  She’s checking in to see if the face will magically make a Cookie appear if she stares at it long enough, and it does.

I was told, “you have her now” by a expert in these matters, however I know it’s the other way around.

She Did It

Yesterday, at 371 days, She took treats from my hand!

HURRAY!

YES, Yes and a bigger YES

What Dogs can Teach Dogs

I received my copy of A Guide to Living With & Training a Fearful Dog written by Debbie Jacobs, it should be required reading before we humans start to live with any fearful dog.  When I stared living with Honey there wasn’t much information available, lots of trial and mostly error on my part, but we now have the “guide book.”

I’ve noticed over the last 367 days Honey learns faster from my other two well socialized laid back dogs then from me.  I had to first learn to speak and think dog, the international language of dogs.  She didn’t need to learn anything, at the first meeting, she knew which dog to hang with, by just a sniff, she picked Dexter.

Dexter taught her which was the best bush to nap under in the yard, to come by hand signal, Dexter dog was deaf.  Most importantly, people who come to visit aren’t really that bad.  Honey may backup a bit at the first site of a visitor, but if the “D” man was okay with them and lays by our feet while enjoying the weather, Honey will come and lay down a couple feet from us too.

Maggie taught her to come in the kitchen in the morning, good treats are available.  Honey is currently studying Maggie as I brush, wipe feet and trim nails.  Honey just sits a couple feet away and watches what’s up with interest.  I have recently started using Maggie as an example for Honey to sit on command, with some success.  My wife will tell Maggie “you’re being USED” whenever she sees what I’m up to.  Maggie seems to reply, “yep, but I get treats too.”

I’m not sure, it would be a interesting study, but I believe fearful ones learn more from other dogs than I gave them credit for.

Those who live with these fearful ones, what have you noticed regarding other dogs you may have taught  your shy ones?

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