Thursday, June 15, 2006

One Paw Print Forward

I get excited over the smallest accomplishments with my dogs. Most people including my husband look at me like I'm nuts. I can't help it though. When you have a dog like Wyatt that barks and then add a fourth dog like Luna who is obviously uncomfortable when he barks you get happy with the slightest move forward and this morning a light bulb went off for both of them thanks to a tip I received from a training list Peaceablepaws. Someone suggested I try rewarding Luna while Wyatt barked and stopping the rewards when he stopped. So yesterday I tried it over and over and nothing but then I didn't really expect much. This morning however Wyatt started barking, he was trying to get me to play and 5 am is not playtime, it's time for me to write and catch the news. The light bulb moment happened for Luna; by the second bark Luna was laying at my feet looking to me for her reward. Her body language was relaxed, no growling and she weren’t panting so I sprinkled a few treats her way. Wyatt continued to bark for another 30 seconds and Luna remained calm and at my feet and received a few more treats. Wyatt stopped barking and after waiting around 10 seconds I calmly rewarded his quiet. He lay down and settled for a nap not far from Luna!

The nap was short lived for Wyatt and he stood and barked again. I ignored his barking and rewarded Luna for staying calm and at my feet. This time Wyatt stopped barking after thirty seconds or so and lay down again. Once he was calm I rewarded him. The big test came when pesky Josie entered the room and began rolling on the floor with Luna. This activity usually sets Wyatt into a fit of barking, but not this morning! Instead of barking he paused watched and then made the choice to come and lay down next to my feet. I so wanted to give Wyatt a huge YIPPEE and a Snoopy Dance but instead I contained my excitement and sprinkled him with treats. Josie and Luna rolled together on the floor for 15 minutes and Wyatt bless his puppy soul stayed calm and bark free! Josie and Luna ceased their rolling play and went to their respective places on the floor, Wyatt stayed his course next to my feet and we spent the next two hours in peaceful silence, well at least it was as silent as it could be with four dogs and their intermittent snoring.

Today we started with one paw forward and while there will probably be two paws backwards, I won't be discouraged because I have seen for myself that Wyatt is understanding that he gets better things when he's quiet than when he barks. Luna is learning that Wyatt's barking while annoying is okay.

Until next time Woof, Woof, Woof and a Roo!

1 comment:

  1. okay, i saw the photos of luna. that's not a dog, that's a chinchilla/bear/dog cross. how can you not sleep on that dog!? i want to be a flea.