Max has been here for a week and a half, and we have definitely turned a corner!
Max has learned to go potty as soon as he goes outside, and to run and play while out there, rather than just run around marking. He is still on leash or on his line while outside, but he has learned that fun things happen on it, so he likes it.
Using the line has also helped in teaching Max to be more tolerant. He is learning not to bark every time he does not get what he wants. At first I thought that Max was barking just to bark, but then I thought that it could be a form of separation anxiety. So I did the usual leave come back, leave, come back, leave, come back, leave, come back. I found that I had to do it in a circular motion, at first not stopping at all, and then slowly pausing at the apex of the circle furthest from him, and also making the circle slightly bigger each time. If he barked, I would just freeze, with my back to him, until he stopped barking for a full 3 seconds. Then I could walk back to him, not saying anything. The same rule of not making too big a deal of goings and comings still very important.
I paired this training with positive focused training in the crate. We put the crate in the office, and the first step was to leave the door shut. We ignored the barking, and only opened the door to say hello and give pets/ let him out when he was being quiet. If he started barking, he would NOT get that door to open. I would wait for at least 3 full seconds of silence, then I would go in and calmly let him out, say hello, etc. This is called working for extinction. This made quite a difference, then we moved to step two, which was to leave the door open, and then close it if he starts barking. Doing this, paired with the separation training outside has made all of the difference.
Max has also learned that he must earn affection. This and treats have helped him learn all kinds of stuff, like: sit, stay, bed, back, quiet, drop it, get it, and this smart little man is now learning leave-it.
We have now moved into the next phase of his training: he is in the house with us most of the time, on leash, connected to one of us, but he must behave and learn to be more passive when it comes to the other dogs if he is going to get to stay out. If he barks or growls or is nasty in any way, straight into the crate he goes, with the door shut. Now I do not like using the crate as a punishment, but since I cannot leave him outside or in a room unattended, I really do not have a choice at this point. He must learn that if he wants to stay with the people he loves, he must follow our rules: no nastiness. We are working on affection guarding right now, then we will move on to treats, then finally, toy guarding. I think that one will be the most challenging for him.
In : Foster Care
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