Hawk's Schedule

8/4 Lake Mills
8/12 CCSDA Training

June 17, 2011

Uncivil Rewards

Monte did surprising well last night at our OccuPaws training class. His obedience is generally very good, but there were a lot of energetic puppies and distractions galore in the mall. My biggest concern was when we swapped puppies. Monte doesn't always work well for others; he requires consistency and a firm leader. Needless to say. it is critical that our dogs will work for others.

Abbey became my partner and she is a little spitfire. After a short breaking-in period, we found common ground and worked well together. She was focused on me, and my "air biscuit'. There were only a few bouts of over excitement and loss of control.

Now, Monte can be food obsessive, so we never work him with treats, real or imaginary. He simply loses his brain. I was able to share this with his "new" raiser which eased the transition. I was not able to watch Monte, as Abbey required and received my undivided attention, but Lisa said that he did better than she expected.

In addition to our obedience work, the mall is a place to greet people. Monte has learned to greet me calmly when I come home. He is ignored until he complies and affection ceases when his behavior is undesirable. However, when meeting strangers, he has learned that most any behavior is acceptable because he always gets rewarded. On numerous occasions Monte's uncivil behavior was rewarded.

On our walk tonight, we met a neighbor and her dog. She asked if Monte could have a small treat. "Only if he stays calm and takes it gentle" was my reply. He quickly learned the only way to get a treat from me is to let me open my hand with treat exposed and wait for an "OK". She tried so hard to follow my rule as Monte attempted to dislodge the morsel from her hand. Eventually she got frustrated and dropped the treat into his mouth from above, to "preserve her fingers" she said. Monte's uncivil behavior was again rewarded.

For me, the hardest part of being a puppy raiser is training others to help train my dog. Granted Monte is high energy dog with a low dose of impulse control, but he is smart and quickly learns what is acceptable. He has also learned that different people enforce different rules.

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