Friday, 4 May 2012

Private Lesson

This last week has been tough, and I haven't been doing a very good job at creating new posts or updating things. I'll try to correct the back log of things I've been wanting to write about over the last couple of days.

I'll start with the private lesson I had for Kobi and I on Wednesday morning. Originally we were supposed to have J come out on a walk with us but I decided to start off the meeting by getting her to come up into our apartment and go over the difficulties I have with having Kobi greet people at the door. I find this a challenge not because I don't know "in theory" how to train what I want, but because of the layout of our entrance way. We live in a second story flat with a stairwell leading down to the front door. There is also a door at the top of the stairs leading into the apartment.

Doorbell rings, dogs bark (I'm okay with barking at the doorbell, I just need him to stop barking on command, still working on that), dogs rush to the door, I squeeze through and run down the stairs hoping the people haven't gone away yet thinking I'm not home, answer door, dogs hear voices and start barking again. If it's a guest they come up the stairs, I open the top door and have to push through two dogs trying to rush into the opening, person comes through and Kobi jumps on them in my dash to get treats for not jumping on them.

The new plan of action. I can't change the layout of my house, so it's time to get creative.  I need to spend more time creating high value for Kobi's bed. He should want to be in that bed all the time because it's awesome and has lots of food. Once the bed has good value, he should be able to be sent to his bed and stay there while I go answer the door. This is the hard part. Because I'm so far away and out of sight, I can't properly reinforce Kobi for choosing god behaviors. So she recommended I look into getting a Manners Minder. My trainer at Sublime Canine often uses one for her dog when she comes to class. It's a food dispensing device that dispenses treats via a remote control. I think it's smart and pretty cool, but for $150 plus shipping? not so sure. I'm looking into finding one at a lower cost or how to possibly rig up a DIY one.
So that's how to solve the door issue, but it'll take time.

The second issue is Kobi's random barking around the house. Sometimes he barks for good reason, like the door randomly opening downstairs (usually my fiance coming home), or for loud booms and bangs. But he also barks purely for attention, or at things that aren't worthy of barking at, some of which we can hear (like a car door being slammed) and others we can't hear. It was recommended we get a crate and use this to help control his crate. Kobi needs a consequence for barking when it is unwanted, and all it needs to be is something he doesn't like, such as being forced to go lie down and stay there until he is quiet. This is hard for Kobi because he would much rather wander around and investigate. We've been doing this with him bed in the meantime, but the crate would have the advantage of being sent to his crate for a "time out" but we can move around and do things without worrying about him wandering off without us noticing then having to correct for it. It makes sense to me. And I have been thinking about getting one because if we end up competing in agility it is inevitable that we will need one at some point. I will admit though that I hate crates, I don't like the look of them and they're bulky. But I'll give it a shot. Now to find a cheap second hand crate!

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