I am participating in the Positive Pet Training Blog Hop today so I'll talk about some of the training I've been doing with Shyla.
Many of you have followed us for a while, and you know that Shyla was very fearful when she arrived as a 9 month old puppy. As far as I could tell, she had very little life experience so she feared people, towns, cars, bicycles, doorways, vacuum cleaners - in fact, it's faster to make a list of what she didn't fear than a list of what she did fear. It seemed as if her fear encompassed almost everything.
We worked very hard with a trainer, using a technique loosely based on Behavioral Adjustment Therapy, to help Shyla learn to be more comfortable in the world. I'll talk more about that in the future. However, the bottom line is that Shyla has come a long way. She is interested in meeting the majority of people but still nervous about some people. She can do really well going to town, going into shops, going to the vet, or having people over to our house. I don't think any of these things are easy for her - but she can usually do them while maintaining an outwardly calm attitude. So, to this point, I'd call our behavioral training successful but still a work in progress.
Because we both love training, I've been teaching Shyla new tricks this winter. Her basics - like sit, stay, down - are pretty strong. That's why tricks are on our agenda now.
Last winter, I taught her to wave with her right paw. I started by luring her to lift her right paw, and I clicked and then gave her a treat whenever she did. Then, I raised the standards so she had to lift that paw higher to get a click/treat. In a short time, she was waving like this.
good book that suggests how to train a big variety of tricks so Shyla and I will be starting on some more soon! I think that any positive training, even if it seems like silly trick training, is great mental exercise for me and Shyla, and it helps build an even stronger bond between us. Moreover, for a dog with Shyla's tendency toward fearfulness, positive training helps build her confidence. Every success helps her stand up a little taller.