What I am going to present to you is my own case study about my golden retriever, Benjamin. It was through Ben that I met Karen Pryor and, thus, found some of the most effective ways to deal with aggression and fear-based behavior in dogs.
The right skills at the right time
It’s a great time to be a dog trainer! More and more pet owners are seeking training for their dogs.
Tell me why?
“My dog loves to eat his kibble while training at home. I am so surprised that he will not eat it in the group sessions.”
“Our dog stays motivated and focused for training when the house is quiet. But as soon as there are distractions, she does not want to eat the kibble.”
“Why does my puppy focus so well for the trainers during classes? She really seems to enjoy her interactions with them.”
Professional trainers hear comments like these from our dog teams every day. Owners are completely baffled as to why their puppies or dogs refuse to focus on them amid the distractions of daily life. How can this be, they wonder? Their dogs love the dog food at breakfast and dinner, so there should be no need to introduce new treats. These owners truly believe that feeding kibble is reinforcing in any environment.
Q: During the holidays last year, we had a young relative visit our home who was terrified of our dog, who is a little excitable but very good natured. I couldn't seem to convince the child—or his parents—that there was nothing to be afraid of. What can we do for such encounters in the upcoming holiday season?
Q: I've successfully clicker trained my dogs in the past, but I now have a retriever who's scared of the clicker. The sound bothered him at first, and now he won't respond to anything I've tried—he heads for the hills as soon as I take the clicker out. What can I do?