When management fails - but training pays off!!

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

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Joined:Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:42 am
When management fails - but training pays off!!

Post by bendog » Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:29 am

Poppy is still a bit of a bully over food, and a guarder. We try to manage it as best we can.

I know you guys will understand, but yesterday we had a not brilliant incident, but it had potential to be worse than it was.

I'd left a couple of treats in a jacket pocket and left the jacket on bathroom floor (I should know better). I was in bedroom with the baby when I heard a bit of commotion. I didn't see what happened but I know that basically Charlie had found the jacket and was trying to chew a hole in the pocket, when Pops had come up and charged and bullied him off. Thank God for me it wasn't Sash who had found them because then we would've had a full on fight.

(Pop does also sometimes do this bullying thing with food puzzles too and will chase Charlie and Ben off so she can have them, so we try to seperate the dogs when they have puzzles, or supervise heavily so she can't practice the behaviour. The boys always back down so it's reinforcing for her if we allow it - it seems like with her the "possession is law" rule only works if something is actually IN another dogs mouth - ie kongs or bones she won't do it with - but if it's on the floor and another dog is sniffing or working on it she'll have a go at chasing them off)

Anyway, there was a bit of a stand off. Charlie had backed off and was lying down, but trapped in the bathroom so he couldn't get away. Pop was tense, and stood over the jacket growling. Poor Charlie was doing his best to diffuse the situation but couldn't get out of the bathroom with Pop stood in the doorway, and being a terrier, wasn't about to roll over - lying down and looking away is about the biggest concession he will allow.

This was the scene when I managed to get out of the bedroom and onto the landing. I realised straight away what was going on, and in the nicest voice I could manage went "Poppy, touch" and held my hand out a few steps behind her. She stopped growling and half turned towards me but was clearly torn because she didn't want to lose her prize, so I asked again, and this time she came and touched my hand.
"yay, good girl!!! poppy, sit"
She sat, and this time I even got a happy waggy tail and a "ooh training time, what's next, where's my treat!" sort of happy look.

I picked the jacket up (knew by this point that Pops wouldn't object to me doing that) took the treats out of the pocket, and shared them between both dogs.

I'm not stupid - I know that Charlie did most of the work, if it had been Sash in the bathroom we would've had a bloodbath. If I hadn't intervened, these two dogs would've sorted it out themselves, with Poppy probably staying tense and ripping a hole in the pocket and gobbling down the treats, shooting "keep away" looks and growls at Charlie the whole time, whilst Charlie stayed stressed out, trapped in the bathroom until Pops was finished and moved away to give him space to get out. It wasn't likely to escalate into a fight in this instance, with these dogs.

I do think by intervening I saved them both a bit of stress (shouldn't have left treats in the pocket in the first place of course!). But I was most impressed by the fact that Pops actually LISTENED even when she was busy guarding an object. And not only that, but I almost instantly saw the tension dissolve and my stiff, growling dog was replaced by a keen, eager one.

Joined:Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:35 pm
Location:North Carolina

Re: When management fails - but training pays off!!

Post by Erica » Fri Jun 19, 2015 5:40 am

Heeey, nice work! :) We're all human, so mistakes will be made - but everything was resolved well!
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

Joined:Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Location:Dorset, UK

Re: When management fails - but training pays off!!

Post by JudyN » Fri Jun 19, 2015 7:03 am

Well done - you know your dogs so well, and instantly work out the best way to resolve a situation without conflict :D
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Joined:Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:24 pm
Location:West Midlands

Re: When management fails - but training pays off!!

Post by emmabeth » Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:38 pm

Really fab stuff!

I have noticed that recently, I can 'out' Womble off stuff he is guarding, becasue we have worked REALLY hard on tug games and he will out off his puller rings SUPER fast... not perfect yet but a work in progress!
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

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