The Dog Charmer
I am sure my dog Toby thinks his name is “Toby No!” How can I change the grumpy mad woman that I have become in Toby’s eyes? He is always doing something that I have to stop!
“Half the dogs I meet think their name is ‘No. Bad dog’”. Voice intonation is more important than the words. Say anything sweetly and your dog will be wagging her tail even if you call her a piece of dirt. Tell her “I love you” harshly and she won’t be feeling the love. You want Toby to always come when you call his name, so you want his name associated with your love and positivity.
When it comes to the 4 leggeds, “No” is not part of my vocabulary. I say “Uh Uh”. The split second the unwanted behavior stops, immediate praise. Here’s where timing is critical. Lets say Toby starts chewing on a carpet edge and you say “Uh Uh” and he stops for 3 seconds as you’re saying “thank you or good boy.” A second later you’re back to uh uh cause he started chewing it again.
The key is that Toby puts together that you’re unhappy when he’s chewing on the carpet and happy when he stops. What Toby will read just as well as your voice intonation will be your body language. If Toby’s looking, you your face is clearly unhappy when he hears “UhUh” and smiling on the “thank you”.
A half puffed-up step toward him on the “UhUh” will add to the strength of the negative words. Time the positive and negative responses perfectly and watch his mind expand with comprehension. When he doesn’t expect it, ten times a day call Toby to come and give him a small treat and praise when he arrives. It’s a very easy way to get a real cooperative dog.
Instead of saying “Toby No”’ I’d also suggest a “Leave It” command. When he’s sniffing something you want him to ignore you tell him “leave it” and a split second later something startles him. Something can be a little plastic ultrasound device that when you push a button it emits an ultrasound that startles and annoys a lot of dogs. I met a lady that uses a small boat horn that was way over the top. Her dog practically screwed itself thru the ceiling when she blew it.
Then there’s what I call the “Dog God” principal. It’s for when you leave the TV room with the cookies on the coffee table. As far as Toby is concerned the cookies are fair game as there’s nobody around to say “Leave It”. But El set up a mirror that enables her to see the coffee table with the cookies without being in the room. As soon as Toby is sniffing the cookies El pushes the button on the remote causing Toby to be startled by the sound or vibration or electric stim on the e collar he loves and is wearing. He loves the collar because he was taught to love it by being given a treat everytime it’s put on. I’d suggest that the cookies on the coffee table are in a plastic container with lots of small holes for the scent to draw him, without his being able to self-reward by getting any of the cookies. Electric stim has to be carefully considered based on the sensitivity of the dog and the intensity of the behavior to be stopped.
Toby will learn that even if El is not around, the “Dog God” knows what he’s doing and will tell him so.
Give Toby a kiss for me-
Dog Charmer Tom