Thursday, December 1, 2011

Kinder and Gentler Puppy

Chou Chou is doing so well! The professional training, or my training and consistency, or her maturity, or all of these have turned her back to the sweet little puppy she was when she was a few weeks old.

But it was not the prong collar that worked; I stopped that quickly. The prongs just made her madder. I can maybe understand the prong collar for a dog that pulls, but she doesn't pull. When she turned on me and jumped, the prongs did nothing. And she seemed depressed, like she'd lost her waggle and spark. 

So I changed to a harness instead and brought cheese on the walk. I was able to walk past the difficult places, like the bush, with the cheese lure. I need to listen to my own instincts more and not the trainers. 

Chou Chou has to work for everything -- "sit and wait... okay" -- before she can eat, drink, go outside or into the house, get in or out of the car, be handed a toy, or play with the ball. She gets occasional treats for training "sit," "stand," "stay," "wait," "down," or "give me your paw... other paw." She also gets a treat when she brings in the newspaper and puts it on my chair; she is so happy to do that. Briards like to have a job.

She doesn't jump on me anymore. And when people entered the house today, she greeted them very calmly and went to her place to lie down. These are people she jumped on a few months ago, pawed at their legs, and tried to chew their shoes. Today she was perfect.

Now when we play fetch, she actually brings me the toy and lets me have it. Before, she brought the toy, almost, sometimes, but darted away again when I put my hand out. She does not grab and chew on the leash as we go out the door. She is calm when getting out of the car. She listens better.

I am pleased. ("You're welcome!")

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