Saturday, April 9, 2011

Misha May Foundation Training: Samson guards his food #1 - It's raining ...

Exercise Goal: To teach Samson to relax while eating and not feel threatened, because people are the source of his food. Samson, a 5 year old neutered male Rottie mix, has shown discomfort with folks being around his food dish. When very uncomfortable, he will growl softly. It seems that he believes, perhaps because of a past experience, that people around his food are threatening. Maybe they will take it away. In this first of a series of three exercises, we are teaching Samson that people moving around his food can only mean good things. Lorraine tosses kibble into Samson's bowl while he is eating, and he continues to eat without being disturbed. She helps him make the connection that she is the source of his food by waiting for him to look at her and see that she is indeed tossing the kibble. Because he did very well in the first exercise, we proceeded to the others. If he had shown any discomfort, we would have stopped immediately, asked him to do something at which he could be successful like a 'find it' (we throw the treat on the ground for him to find), and then begun fresh the next day. As with all of our dog training, we are lowering the anxiety, building trust,and creating an environment for learning with precise goals. We also create a safe environment for the people, thus Samson was tethered just in case he became aroused or overstimulated. The Misha May Foundation offers a 6 week behavior class called Understanding Dogs. There is also an Apprentice Dog Trainer Program. for more information.

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