Monday, September 14, 2009

Skill Sets In Action...Behavior Modification

Rose, a lovely little red border collie who is a rescue, has been attending classes with her new loving owner with a small list of issues to conquer. Reactivity being one.
Rose and her owner have been working on the "who (what) is that Rose" game to allow Rose the opportunity to acknowledge other animals or people around her without the frustration of being told no or being asked to do something else.
Every time Rose wants to charge at, pull toward or react in anyway to someone near by, her owner simply said "who is that Rose" and clicked and treated. Rose went from "having to get to" the other to making half-hearted attempts and would return to her owner at the sound of the clicker.
In class last week a new dog entered Rose's Skill Set Level, and Rose wanted him in the worst way. Her new classmate is Max, a 8 month old lab, who is all too willing to charge back and play. Both dogs were working on their "manners on lead" and paying attention to their owners, all while outside on our 10 acre hobby farm (where I raise Australian Shepherds).
Rose made a HUGE break through when working loose lead walking past Max she looked at Max then immediately back at her owner with no attempts to romp, pull, jump, play or react! Rose got it! It is ok to see him, it is ok he is there and there is no need to be frustrated because if you really really need to see him you can..the choice is yours!
I was so happy to see how working to a certain level and continuing to work only a small set of behaviors has allowed this once unruly girl to make huge strides forward!
We shall see what this week shall bring as yet another little dog joins our this level. It is truly a great experience to watch them grow-dog and owner alike!

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