Sunday, February 1, 2009

Nema's Night of Badness

So last night we had a guest over for dinner, and Nema put her paws up on our guest's leg, and proceeded to take a big chomp out of the mound of tabouli on her plate. OMG!!! I was so embarrassed. Luckily our guest was our neighbor who is a dog lover -- she has a little dachshund of her own -- so she didn't run screaming from the table, and I think she might actually come over again one day :-)

I put Nema in a "time out" immediately. Nema doesn't like being separated from humans so time outs seem to be a good way to reprimand her. So hopefully this time she connected her behavior with the consequence.

But in case she didn't, we are introducing a new rule: No more hanging out near or under the table while we are eating. To help us enforce this, we working on a new command we learned in training class yesterday afternoon. You pick a mat or blanket that will always be your dog's spot. Then, you use treats and positive reinforcement (by using a clicker or marking word, such as "yes!") to teach the dog to go to that mat when you say "Go to your spot." Nema has a soft L.L. Bean doggy blanket that we are going use as her spot. One important thing is that it should not be used as a punishment spot. It should be used as a place to put your dog before she has a chance to commit the bad behavior. So the spot should always be viewed as a positive, relaxing place.

We practiced the spot command this morning while Bernard was cooking breakfast, because we're also no longer allowing Nema to be in the kitchen. Her countersurfing has gotten really bad and yesterday she got some cheese we had set out for our get together with our very understanding neighbor.

Tonight we are going to try getting her to stay on the spot while we eat and then her reward will be getting her own dinner. Of course she will get her dinner no matter what, so I will find a way for her to be successful in the command, even if we have her stay on the spot for short intervals at first while she is learning.

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