Saturday, April 9, 2011
Misha May Foundation Dog Training: Samson is rewarded as people approach
Exercise Goal: to create positive assocations between Samson and approaching people. Samson, a 5 yr old neutered male Rottie mix, is uneasy, and sometimes even startled, when people approach, even those he knows. And, if that person is approaching a person he really depends upon, such as his seated foster mom Shannnon in this video, he is even more troubled. Since Rotties were orginally bred to guard, they guard, when they have not been taught a different behavior response. We wanted to teach Samson the correct response to approaching folks. In this exercise, Shannon says "Mom" in a cheery voice as her mother approaches. Samson already knows and likes Susan very much, so the exercise goes well. Because Samson remains calm and welcoming, he gets a treat from Shannon and then also from Susan. Right away, he begins to anticipate Susan's approach and moves toward her for a treat. He still hears Shannon saying 'Mom" and can get a treat from her as well. This exercise should always begin with people the dog likes and trusts the best, and then can slowly include people they know less, until finally it can be done with strangers with the dog on a leash. If the dog ever shows signs of discomfort or stress, you have gone too fast and should go back to the beginning. You really can't go too slow, but moving too fast will not teach the dog what you want. The Misha May Foundation offers a 6 week behavior class, Understanding Dogs. There is also an apprenticehip program to learn to be a relationship based dog trainer. www.mishamayfoundation.org for details.