Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dog Training: Teaching Your Dog to Act Like When You're Home...When You're not Home

 When we're home, our dogs are perfectly respectful and restrained. We can leave delicious food in front of them for 10 minutes and they wouldn't dare touch it. They don't get into trouble.But when we leave, it's just like an incident from Toy Story where they come alive do things they can't do when they know we're home.Like sit on the couch.
The worst part is Miss M knows it's wrong, yet she is being bossy and decides to do it anyway. Knowing she'll keep pushing her boundaries, we knew it was time to start our retraining and recondition her to stay off the couch and stop being a bully.
 It's hard to reinforce rules and authority if you're not there to do it. So, one trick we've learned is to not let your dog realize when you're home and when you're gone. Our dogs have been conditioned to know that when the door shuts--we're gone. So we had to work on reconditioning that. One way is to put on your coat to pretend you're leaving, shut the door, and hide. When we did this the dogs came out of their beds and made themselves comfortable. And when we popped out, and they realized we really were home, they were back to their good behavior, though a bit surprised.
 If you don't want to be so dramatic, there is another method we learned from our trainer when we were working on Mr. B's "isolation distress". Mr. B was fine sitting in the crate when we were home, but once we left he freaked out and would bark. Our trainer had us go to the back door where Mr. B couldn't see us, and shut the door while remaining inside. Once he started barking we yelled "Quiet", and he was actually quiet. We did this a couple of times where we would randomly open and shut the door, to the point that he never knew if we were home or gone. And when he started thinking we could potentially be home, he stopped being anxious.It's funny how something that seems so commonsense--telling him to be quiet--actually worked.
This might put us one step ahead of Miss M, at least for now.

20 comments:

saratogajean said...

I love that Mr. B finally realized that being in the crate when you were home v. not at home was essentially the same.

I also love the image of you two crouching at the back door, coats on, yelling, "Quiet!"

Mack said...

My mom really likes these ideas. She is always looking for ideas to help us behave!

loveandaleash said...

This is so funny. Our Chick had a phase where he would redecorate our house when we left for the day (by spreading flour and other pantry items all over the floor, transplanting potted plants from their pots to other areas (like the rug), pulling things off the counter, etc. We dealt with some of these behaviors by giving him puzzles (kongs and others) to solve as we were leaving to get his mind off the fact that we were gone, but for others, our trainer had us set up some booby traps. I think my favorite was for the pulling-the-dishrag-off-its-hook issue. We collected a bunch of empty beer and coke cans, put a few pebbles in them, and threaded them all together with a thin piece of thread. We set them out on the counter in a big cluster just out of dog view, and threaded them to the dishrag that Chick always pulled down. We baited him with a little peanut butter on the rag to make it extra irresistible. The idea was, he would run over to yank the dishrag down like he always did, and he would be shocked at the barrage of very noisy empty cans that came crashing down on his head out of nowhere. Well, it worked. We came home to a pile of empty cans on the floor in the kitchen and a very meek dog curled up on his bed. He never pulled a dish rag down again :)

Aleksandra
follow our foster: loveandaleash.wordpress.com

Erika and Blair,xoxo said...

These are some great ideas, although Sophie tends to be anxious when she sees that I am leaving no matter if people are home with her or not. It's weird. Koda is allowed to stay in the yard when we are gone although we know he goes for adventures the funniest part is that if he sees us when he is out and about he rushes home and pretends he was sleeping on the back deck the entire time.

Kari in WeHo said...

for me the hardest part is when the place we are visiting is filled with people who want to break the rules!

Kari
http://dogisgodinreverse.com/

orange sugar said...

How did you get a picture of Miss M on the couch if she only does that when you are not home? Do you have a super secret spy camera? I sometimes wish I had a nanny cam so I could check in during the day and see what they are up to.

orange sugar said...

How did you get a picture of Miss M on the couch if she only does that when you are not home? Do you have a super secret spy camera? I sometimes wish I had a nanny cam so I could check in during the day and see what the huskies are up to.

Kate@TwentySixToLife said...

That's a really neat idea. We're pretty lucky in that our dogs have never really gotten into things while we're gone, but I can just imagine sneaking up on them when they thought we weren't home.

mayziegal said...

Um, so did you actually jump out from behind a curtain or something and yell "SURPRISE!"? Cuz, well, that woulda skeered the peewodden outta me! (I don't know what a peewodden is. My dad says it a lot.)

Me and Brudder Ranger are real good when mom and dad are gone. We don't even get into the totally-open-and-at-dog-eye-level recycle tub. But it's prolly good that we're allowed to gets on the furniture cuz I might have to break the rules for that.

Oh! And I just L-U-V LUV that last picture of Miss M and Mr. B! I always think they couldn't get any cuter and then they DO!

Wiggles & Wags,
Mayzie

brooke said...

That last picture is so cute! It looks like Miss M is nibbling on Mr B's ear.

These are great ideas!

Traci said...

Who would have thought that pretending to go out and then yelling "quiet" would work so well?! Dogs are so funny with what they will do when they think you aren't home! We were very lucky with our dog - she needed to be in a crate when she was a puppy due to chewing, but after that, she never did anything bad while we were gone!

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog to leave words of sympathy about the loss of our dog - I really appreciate it!

Kitty+Coco said...

Smart, you guys are smart. We could use some work on not barking at the doorbell. Man, that is a hard one.
Proud of Mr. B for learning to be more calm in his crate.

Alana Friese said...

Man I wish we could trick Boss into thinking we are gone/home when we are not, unfortunately our tiny place with it's open layout lets him know EXACTLY where we are at all times. Luckily he enjoys his crate, especially when he is lucky enough to get an ultimate kong-thanks for your tip.

houndstooth said...

*snicker* You're evil people, and I like that about you! We have the opposite with Morgan. She'll howl in the crate as we leave, but as soon as we're actually gone, she shuts up and takes a nap!

jacquelincangro said...

My dog Reggie does the same thing! He doesn't get on the couch when I'm home and then when I leave he makes himself at home. I know because when I come in there is always a warm spot and clumps of fur on the cushions.
I asked the trainer the same thing: how do I stop him from doing it if I'm not home. She suggested getting one of those plastic carpet runners and placing it upside down on the sofa. The underside has little grippy teeth so if he jumps up it doesn't hurt him but it's not comfortable to lay on. It worked like a charm!

Kirby, CGC said...

I can just imagine them both when you guys leave having a blast! That made me laugh! Good luck on reconditioning Miss M.

Kirby's mom

rescuedinsanity.com said...

This is a similar way we worked on Shiva's separation anxiety. I would put on my coat and shoes and grab my bag and then put her in her crate and leave. But I wouldn't really leave, just stand outside the door. Once she stopped howling for more than two seconds, I would come back in. Eventually she would stop howling for longer and longer periods.

Great advice for many problems! You guys are such smart trainers. I had to learn it the hard way.

Benny and Lily said...

Oh Ms. M we could even teach you this...If you hear your Paw or mom coming jump off the sofa
Benny & Lily

road-dog-tales said...

Hmmm, Mr. B & Miss M - looks like you've got some tricky humans there!

The Road Dogs

mobilethemesworld said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...