Progress

Share your experience and tell us how using positive reinforcement training methods has changed yours and your dogs' lives.

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james79
Posts: 64
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:36 am

Progress

Post by james79 » Tue May 07, 2013 10:24 am

Hi all,

I've been afraid that I would jinx myself by posting an update on Murphy's progress but I'm more confident now that he's moving in the right direction. Murphy's reactivity to strangers was getting worse over the winter. Walks weren't fun anymore b/c I was constantly afraid that he'd jump/bark/lunge at anyone we passed (his reactivity was sometimes unpredictable). It came to a head when he nipped the garbage man (my OH's fault, he dropped the leash by accident) and a jogger with me (it was a female jogger, I didn't hear her come up behind us). Luckily with both incidents he didn't break the skin but it was still an awful couple of weeks with a lot of tearful nights. Finally we decided it was time to find some professional help. We had worked with a trainer before but she wasn't as experienced with behavior issues. I found a behaviorist in the area and we've been working with her since February. Within 5 minutes of our consult I knew she was going to be great, she's amazing at reading Murphy's body language. She taught us so much about how slight changes in positioning can change a dogs reaction (ie turning slightly to the side so she wasn't facing Murphy head on). We were on the right track with the information I'd learned from this site but she did some tweaks on our training that have made a huge difference. Honestly she's really training me & my husband more than she's been training Murphy :lol:

Since we've started working with her he hasn't had any issues on walks. I've learned how to maneuver him past groups of people and most of the time he looks at me like "what's all the fuss about?" The times that he does see someone he's unsure about he looks to us for guidance. We're still working on getting him to not react when he sees dogs but the distance between us & the other dog is getting smaller. He also might do a little excited jumping but he's not longer barking & lunging. The biggest change is he's so much more relaxed and not nearly as stressed as he had been. Even if we have something stressful happen on a walk he recovers quickly and we can continue our walk. He's more loving towards us and our relationship with him has grown immensely over the past few months. At the dog park (our park has a long fence that borders a busy road & side walk) he rarely barks at people walking by now and the times that he does bark it's pretty half a**ed (just joining other dogs). I can see a change in his personality at the park. I would sometimes worry if a guy came in that we didn't know b/c I could see Murphy watching the man suspiciously, I was always afraid he might decide to nip someone he didn't like. Now he'll willingly go up and say hi to the humans (especially the ladies that he knows carry treats).

We still have work to do with him (being comfortable with guests, little things like letting me towel/brush him) but we're so happy with the progress he's made so far. I have to thank you all for your help, I don't post often but I do lurk almost everyday. Between all of you & our trainer we are on our way to having a well adjusted happy dog!

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WufWuf
Posts: 1371
Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 7:53 am

Re: Progress

Post by WufWuf » Tue May 07, 2013 11:18 am

Well done to you and Murphy :D . It's so nice when walks go from being torture to being a pleasure even if they do involve some ninja tactics to avoid walking too close to the scary thing :wink: :lol: .
Operant conditioning rocks but classical conditioning rules

james79
Posts: 64
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:36 am

Re: Progress

Post by james79 » Tue May 07, 2013 12:43 pm

I know, it's amazing! It feels great to have made some real progress (as opposed to before where it was one step forward 2 steps back). I was glad to see that Honey is doing well, she's super cute.

Suzette
Posts: 1511
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:45 am

Re: Progress

Post by Suzette » Wed May 08, 2013 6:58 am

james79 wrote: Honestly she's really training me & my husband more than she's been training Murphy :lol:
To me, this is the key to your success. It starts with us . . . :D :D

What an awesome update! It's such a lovely feeling to see the fruits of our labors with our dogs, isn't it? Well done!!! :D :D
My avatar is Piper, my sweet Pembroke Corgi. b. 5/11/11

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minkee
Posts: 2034
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2011 7:58 am
Location: Yorkshire
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Re: Progress

Post by minkee » Thu May 09, 2013 5:58 am

Wonderful :D It's so lovely to hear positive updates! I think this is our click and treat :lol:

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