I am part of an amazing event called The Canine Restoration Challenge. For two weeks I get to work with a shelter dog and then on August 1st at 2:00 I will be competing with him at the Austin Pet Expo! The dog that I am working with is what seems to be a black mouth cur mix, whom I am calling Clyde. I changed his name to start fresh for training, in case there was any behavior baggage associated with his previous name. He seems to be a very sweet boy who loves to play. I found out early on that he loves to put just about anything in his mouth. As a good 'ol southern boy, one of the first items he managed to find was a Bible. I think it was a sign that he was ready to change his ways.
This weekend's training was all about discovering what he was most excited about. Working with the idea of loving to find items to put in his mouth, we worked on a lot of toy play. Instead of scolding him for grabbing a wrong object like a sock or shoe I would simply gladly accept what he brought me and then trade it for a toy that he could chew. The key to redirecting his bad chewing behavior is to make the toys more fun to play with than the object you do not want him to chew on. They need to see that you are happier and more willing to give them attention for the correct chew items rather than the incorrect ones .
This weekend we also went to two different parks to see how he would do around high levels of distraction. Because he is a hound dog, smell seemed to be more distracting for him than visual distractions like squirrels, people, or dogs. He responds well to toy rewards but a stinky and particularly novel food reward really does the trick. Food rewards can be tough if you always bring the same high value reward to the table. So far I been using mostly kibble for his food rewards mixed with other smelly treats. When we are at home I just use kibble for rewards. This tends to be a healthier, more cost effective, and better overall for training.
Starting Monday morning we will begin to work through each of the behaviors he is going to need for the tests. Check out Doggie Dojo Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to stay up to date on Clyde's adventures here in Austin. We are looking for fun places to go visit in Austin. Please comment below on any places you suggest.
From Pack Dog to Family Member,
"Life seems brighter with four paws at your side"
Professional, Certified Dog Trainer Trevor Smith
Understands the importance of convenient, effective (and fun!) dog training solutions for busy professionals and families.