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.

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Posted on February 14, 2011, in Our Blog. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. How joyous to read about Honey’s continued progress George, and well done to you for getting her there.

    Today I witnessed Gracie approach my husband whilst he was sitting and petting one of the other dogs and he reached out to her and she didn’t back away! She stood there whilst he stroked her, without treats I might add, and it made our day 🙂

    Everything comes to those who are patient.

    • Oh WOW, how great is that after all that time. Did he try the foot thing, just asking.

      I would have never thought in a million years how excited we get for just the slightest change.

      Congratulations to your husband and Ms. Gracie.

      • No George, no feet. 🙂

        Gracie is quite happy to take food/treats from his hand so long as he is sitting. She still finds him too scary when he’s standing or moving around the house. And quite frankly I think that the sight of his feet would be enough to scare anyone let alone Gracie!

        We will continue to work on it but everything that Gracie has achieved so far has been in her own good time and I can live with that. I’m sure it’s the same for Honey.

  2. One of the ways you can get to petting is to use the handing of treats to help DS/CC to your other hand. I’ll do my best to explain how it might look. One hand is palm up, lower than the dog’s chin and close to your body. The other hand reaches over the palm up hand to offer the treat, extending beyond the other hand as far as necessary for the dog to be comfortable. Slowly the treat offering hand begins to get closer to the palm up hand (which can also move away from your body) until eventually the dog is taking the treat with her head over, but not necessarily touching, the palm up hand. As you progress the palm up hand can rise up a bit so that the dog has to touch it in order to take the treat. If she chooses not to, then go back to treating with the palm up hand lower down again or the treat offering hand extended further away from the other hand. The idea is that the dog does the touching of the hand, not the other way around. When a dog is comfortable doing this you can intensify the contact slowly with finger movements, little scratches under the chin, etc. Give the dog breaks and send them away with a treat toss to relieve any pressure they might be experiencing.

    Combined with this activity can be posture changes as well. Leaning slightly toward the dog for example. Each rep is a chance for the dog to say what she is comfortable with.

    • Thanks for the verbal drawing on how to get her to touch. She does touch already, do to her needing to stand on her two rear feet to get the treat off my foot. She happily touches my hand to get the treat out of the palm. I will start to put my other hand over the palm up hand and see where that takes us. Just a side note I always toss a treat far away after working with her to release any stress. I remember that from your previous suggestions.

      Thanks to you and your book, working with these wonderful souls is fun and rewarding.

  3. Way to go George & Honey! The one thing about some of these long journeys is that when the dam finally breaks, progress seems to pick up exponentially faster. Looking forward to the day she climbs into your lap!

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