More Nippy Dog Advice

Happy Monday all.  Normally this is the day I announce the winner of Friday’s contest, but as you know by now, I had to put it off for a week.  Things should be back to normal this Friday.

I wanted to share a comment from a member, June  Goritz, who wrote in regards to the “Nippy Dog Contest“, about the Sheltie that gets so excited at the end of her agility run that she would nip her owner.   I appreciated June’s approach of preventative training, rather than on-the-spot training, and felt it worth sharing here.  She wrote:

“Ignore the bad behavior” and “Acknowledge the Good Behavior”.   When your Sheltie pops with excitement it is too late to curb his/her enthusiasm.   Watch for the early warning signs of your Sheltie beginning to rev out of their usual concentration and react to his/her surroundings vs. on you.  Obedience starts in the home.  Begin by talking to your Sheltie in his/her own language such as expressing subtle canine Calming Signals: drawn out yawning, leisurely stretch out your arms out infront of you and glance coyly at your sheltie from the corner of your eye.  You will begin to see that your Sheltie will express, “You do understand my language” and begin to react to your request to calm.  When your Sheltie succeeds to bridge these beginning signs of calming – and can then settle himself – then and only then – acknowledge this good reciprocating “listening behavior” by adding tranquil even strokes and soothing voice.  Until he/she reciprocates calm – just ignore the exuberance and do as their litter mate would do during bad behavior towards themselves, they would turn away, walk away in efforts to ignore the rude behavior (yes, you can walk out of the room or look at the ceiling to wait until you see an initial glimpse for a positive response signal that he/she is attentive to you and providing you with good attention and settling themself down – stopping the low/entry level of excitement). When you can calm your dog without distractions (may take days or weeks), advance and try your calming kharma when in your yard and during a moment when there are known distractions that cause your dog subtle excitement levels, and not setting your dog up to fail. Start to succeed with proven low level triggers (where your dog normally is passive when a person walks quietly by at a distance without dogs and not at high alert status instances such as a squirrel scurrying or chattering away tauntingly in the trees) and gradually raise the bar to assure your success is communicating clearly with your Sheltie.