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gingersmommy's picture
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Joined: 2010-05-04

Ginger's been going back to school - she is seven and a half. (Yes, I'm a little late.) Something changed in me a couple of months ago and I knew I had to learn how to teach her to be a good canine citizen. John and I want to be able to have people over without taking her to my sister's for the evening or confining her behind baby gates the whole time people are over. I knew we had to teach her to greet people calmly, to not stand inches from the appetizer table, to walk without pulling, to just hang out with company like I have always wanted. We want to take her in the car without her barking like crazy or trying to get in the front seat. I think the day just came when I was ready to tackle this calmly and fearlessly.  Better late than never.

I love the school she is going to.  They work on real life situations like greeting people, doorbells ringing, people knocking at the door, introducing nail clippers (that one thing I still don't think I can ever do), etc. 

Last night we had friends over for dinner. Ginger was the perfect girl and the star of the show - she was completely calm when they came in and left, she only went near the appetizers a couple of times and redirected immediately, and at dinner, she actually laid flat down touching John's chair and went to sleep!  She was so good and made me so proud! Our friends who have been over many times, were completely astounded at the difference. She was sociable, calm and friendly. We took her to my sister's on Friday because we were going away overnight.  My sister even commented how calm she is and how good she was.  She was calm in the car going over and picking her up, except for a couple of barks when we got close to my sister's house or back home.  I'm so enthused.  This is a perfect example of "the lesson keeps presenting itself until a teacher appears."  I thought, maybe we can even go for our CGC, something I would never even imagine a few months ago.

Q Tip's picture
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Joined: 2009-03-22

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Hey Gingers Mum, thats so awesome to read and encouraging fo everybody to read. I guess its easy for our pups to get into bad habits.(Q has a couple of small things I wouldnt mind ironing out) Ive seen some dog trainers around who do house calls. Pricey but probably worth it.

DobieWanKenobi's picture
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Joined: 2011-08-28

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Well done, Gingers' Mum! It's great when you can see the change/

That's fantastic it sounds as if Ginger is doing very well! It's always so nice when we can accomplish something like that and other people even notice how well behaved they are. Keep up the good work.

Do you want to take Romeo and work with him lol he could use some basic manners! In all seriousness I do need to work on when the door bell rings at my house. It takes so much energy to work this with more than one dog. We are planning on having our hardwood floors redone and I would like to get them not to go nuts when the doorbell rings or someone knocks. Anyone have any good ideas for multiple dogs?

gingersmommy's picture
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Joined: 2010-05-04

Thanks, Des.  Believe me, I'm no Dog Whisperer and Ginger still needs lot of situational reinforcement, but I am encouraged.  The class we are going to uses treats and a clicker as a "bridge" for the behavior you want to encourage.  The treats are usually people food - the more delicious, the better.  They work like a charm, especially if your dog is highly food motivated, like Ginger is.  I have used cut up chicken breast, Ritz crackers (quartered), potato chips, cheese cubes, Fritos, etc.  Before our company came over, I made up some treats and had them on the counter.  I gave her one or two before they got here so she would know what was waiting for her.  When our friends came, I called her to come to me and when she did, I clicked and treated her.  Then I just had her do sit and down, etc., to engage her while John greeted our friends.  She was fixated on me.  By the time we were finished, they had been inside for a couple of minutes and she was okay with their presence.  She greeted them all happy and friendly, but not jumping, etc.  I did that, too, when she would move toward the appetizers.  I called her over, made her sit or lay down next to me and then treated her.  It wasn't constant, but the redirection helped her change her focus.

Lady Kate's picture
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Joined: 2009-10-28

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Hey good for you and great for the Ging.. Goes to show it's never too late.. Thanks for posting. I'm sure there's alot of folks here who have adopted adult dogs and feel it might be too late to start with Miss Manners.. glad you let us know how well she's doing

gingersmommy's picture
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Joined: 2010-05-04

Thanks, Kate; we are both having fun. She is just so cute when she behaves and pleased with herself, I could eat her up!

Lori's picture
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Joined: 2010-04-03

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nice work!  It's good for both of you too...she probably loves to please you and now that you know how, you can make her work for that, which builds a good bond between you.

talisin's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-25

I work on Ben's manners a bit each day, I can't use the clicker though cause the chihuahua is TERRIFIED of the noise after getting microchipped he is horrified by the nail clippers and terrified of the clicker training tool. I snap my fingers but I need something a bit louder for Ben so I have a dilema, but it sounds like your dober dog is doing just wonderful with the clicker and focus!!! I will be sure to tell Ben that he needs to step it up if he wants to keep up with his dober relatives.......:))

gingersmommy's picture
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Joined: 2010-05-04

Thanks, everyone.  Ginger's not quite ready for her CGC just yet.  :)  We have "school" tomorrow.  Making up the treat bag is a process in itself.  I have to cook chicken breast and cube it up just so, and then find a variety of other things she loves to pack in the treat sack.  Luckily, she is totally food motivated and will divert her attention to most anything at the prospect of one of these delicacies. The first week, I packed just chicken, but I've discovered I can get even more out of her by mixing it up. By the last five minutes of class, she is full up!  I'll hold out a treat and she'll just turn her head away. She is such a riot.