Maya’s to-do list

15 Jan

Today, i paid for a trainer (a friend of my dad’s) to come and have a chat with me and assess Maya. We had been planning on signing her up for an obedience class, but they were either full, or she was too well trained for the puppy classes but not old enough for the adult classes. So instead, we bought in this trainer to give us a few tips. 

 

He pretty much said what i already knew, and agreed that we had the right idea behind things. It helped to see him though, because he was able to give some reinforcement behind what we were already doing, and give us some correction techniques. Basically, we have been accidentally reinforcing bad behaviors, and we haven’t really been asserting ourselves (as a family) as her pack leader. 

 

His advice:

1) Only give her attention when we want to. This means that when she asks for attention (and this can be very subtle) such as by brushing past us, putting her head in our lap or laying on her back exposing her belly, we are to ignore her. We correct her if she jumps up, or mouths us. 

2) Don’t let her on the sofa’s any more. We need to do this by taking her by the collar, and guiding her down with a simple “off”. She will only be allowed on the sofa when we say she is allowed i.e. inviting her up. 

3) Corrections. To correct a behavior, such as jumping up, we will not simply ignore it, nor will we give her any verbal commands or a tap on the shoulder. These are all only temporary fixes. She will stop, but start again later because she hasn’t learnt anything. The correction is where the syringe comes in. Using a syringe we will give her a quick squirt of water (which she doesn’t like) in order to tell her that we do not like what she is doing. 

I would like to add here that we did try this once before using a spray bottle. The reason spray bottles can be quite ineffective is because there isn’t enough power behind them, and the dogs actually enjoy being sprayed with a nice mist of water. Spraying her quickly with the syringe on her chest or back works perfectly, it is quick, with enough force to snap her out of what she is doing, but at the end of the day it is only water and it wont do any harm. 

 

Here’s to hoping that as a family we stick to the rules and Maya learns some manners. 

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