Well, we met with a trainer in our house yesterday, to address some of Guinness' bad manners. What a revelation! Turns out many of his problems were being caused by inefficient, not firm enough corrections from us, and our sending mixed messages.
Maureen trains Rottweilers professionally, so I figured that she'd have good experience with stubborn dogs. I was right. She was affectionate, obviously loves dogs, obviously liked our dog (she'd better! ;-)), and took the time to teach US the corrections and techniques, not just training the dog. In fact, you could say she's a "people trainer".
This morning, he was, well not a *changed* pup, but certainly a better behaved one. No nipping or biting of clothes - he got the idea that this is not looked well upon. He actually *heeled* on our walk this morning, (with SLACK in the leash!) now that I know the right technique to teach him "heel". (I was inadvertently encouraging him to pull on the leash) It was with almost a sense of relief that Guinness obeyed. I may be anthopomorphizing, but it had to be incredibly frustrating for him to be getting muddled messages as to what behaviour was acceptable. No wonder he had tantrums! It was also a relief for us to know that his testing of us is quite normal, and we just have to make sure that we win each battle, one at a time.
Some of this stuff seems so basic, but we were never able to address these problems in obedience class because Guinness never misbehaved there. He was his natural self with Maureen, enabling her to show us what to do when he mouths, or grabs clothing, or othewise sins.
We'll meet again next week for a checkup (our techniques, not the dog. He knows what he's doing) and I'm looking forward to it. Other folks with "problem" dogs that behave perfectly in class and turn into demons at home might consider bringing in a trainer. It was certainly the best $35 I've ever spent on my dog!
Shannon and Guinness the Angel Dog
The above story is hosted by Dog-Play and reprinted with permission of the author from a post in rec.pets.dogs.beahvoir. We hope to encourage people to neither ignore problems nor give up on the dog, but to seek professional help. I enjoyed the commitment, enthusiasm and insight I saw in this post.
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