September 20th, 2011 § 4
Tucker running full-speed out of the woods toward me when I call for him.
When his ears flip up in the wind I call it his border collie impersonation.
He is handsome, your English.. so is mine! Star alerted reliably after a year or so. He wanted to follow through and once gave chase to an auto on our dirt road. NOT what I wanted, since he is very good at staying to our boundaries. Out of fear for him, I began to walk him in our nearby small town down streets with traffic to normalize his response. It has worked, thank goodness. He does indeed bark and hustle to any “action” and I tell him “ok, thank you.” I will be interested to read more from you on Tucker…
Right now I am struggling with how to teach Tuck what needs his attention and what doesn’t. I am not sure what kind of guidance to give beyond acknowledging his first response with an “it’s okay, Tuck,” followed by increasingly harsh, punishment-type responses if he continues to bark, growl, whatever. It turns into a last word battle and I don’t like it. Any advice on how to navigate this stage would be much appreciated!
I know what you mean and I agree. What if you try to take your attention and his away from it- help normalize? They cue from us and if they do not get our attention, then they lose some of their interest in pursuing.. whatever. But, it is difficult. I wonder what my pet trainer would say.. applying the “leave it” command. Puppy is sitting and pieces of treat are thrown a short distance from them and then it is moved closer and closer with leave it and then with the ok command they are allowed to get the treat. As the dog gets better at it and as the command is used in many locations.. wouldn’t it work for this too? The treat if no longer needed after much practice but the understanding and switch of attention is requested.. I will try it!
Great advice about removing my attention from the source of annoyance and watching what I am cueing.
Over the last week I have basically ignored Tuck’s inappropriate alerting barks and they seem to have diminished already. I was reading somewhere that an adolescent dog is testing to see if their owner is a true leader, and a true leader doesn’t get worked up unless it’s for a good reason. I take that to mean that if Tuck sees I am nonplussed by something he will extrapolate that he should be as well. I absolutely believe he has the ability to reason at this level. Thus far this approach seems to have ratcheted the tension in our relationship way down and back to the “thinking partnership” level I seek!
Thanks for the good advice!
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