21 March 2009

Gunner's visit, Part 4

"Reinforcement builds behaviour."

That's a mantra I learned from Susan Garrett and I try to keep this uppermost in my mind when managing, interacting with and training my dogs. I can tell that Gunner has had a lot of training because of his tendency to repeat behaviours that earned him treats/rewards with his humans: sit, down, wait in his crate before being released. His family, especially Scott the elder teen, has done a great job.

This past week, I've been doing a lot of rewarding of Gunner's "4-on-the-floor" to reduce his desire to jump up on me/people. Likewise with him resting on a bed or mat in our kitchen while we're preparing food and also learning to stack (stand) patiently for the show ring. I deliver a high rate of rewards in a short period of time. Being still or calm is a challenge for him because he's a very active (I hesitate to label him hyperactive but he's close); after all, he's a boy, he's a Vizsla and he's only 9 months old. But even in the evenings after a long day of playing with our dogs and he's ostensibly tired, he'll rest on the couch, then get off and lie on the floor, then move to another location every few minutes, unlike his sister Diva who will sleep in one spot most of the evening.

It appears Gunner has also been taught some of Susan's "It's YerChoice" game because he doesn't always dive for a treat and I can place treats on his paws without him touching them until he's given a release word. I've transitioned him over to his new release word, "Break". He dutifly waits by his food bowl (self-control; no command given) until I release him and he no longer goes crazy when he sees the other dogs getting their food before him.

Gunner is a very smart dog. So why then did he forget his house training habits this week? Numerous times he has peed in the house, not just excitable or submissive urination, but all out emptying his bladder. He drinks huge quantities of water and so must go out frequently but sometimes can't seem to hold his bladder for 10 minutes during the day when he's outside his crate. So he's kept me busy doing a lot of cleaning and keeps me active running to and from the door to let him out/back in. In the past 2 days, he's only had 1 or 2 accidents which is far better than the dozen or so times per day previously.

No comments:

Post a Comment