Guess how much we learned about behavior and training in veterinary school? The best explanation I have heard for what is taught in vet school is this: ”Four years is much too short to learn EVERYTHING. Vet school is for learning how to THINK like a vet.” So true. Still…
The answer is…NOTHING! Maybe these days, with all of the great behavior medication and knowledge on how mental and emotional health are linked to physical health, behavior is better covered in vet school. Everything I know is from trial and error, reading and…you guys. (Thank you so much! I don’t need to be a genius, I just surround myself with them!)
So we have always had great dogs, but we have never had very well trained dogs. Here is what I know for sure:
(reinforcing the desired behavior, ignoring the undesired behavior)
is ALWAYS best.
And, um, that was going to be a list, but really, that is all I know.
The Doorbell Song
This week we have buckled down on the barking-at-the-door training. When my wonderful Aunt asked me for help with her pup’s barking, I realized that I am a lame barking training resource. Joy and Noodle are the worst door barkers there ever were. So I told my Aunt what I knew (but have not practiced well!) and set out to train our barkers.
When the doorbell rings or people walk by or New Mailman delivers the mail (their three biggest barking triggers) I thank them for warning me after the first bark, ask them to come to me and sit then give them a cat treat. That is all I have done, and it has worked like a charm!
The real test will be SUMMER, when kids are in and out of the front door constantly. I will let you know how well my novice training holds up!
Trainers, behaviorists, dog owners who are more successful in training than I, what have you done to teach your dogs not to bark incessantly? And next up on the Finch dog training…teaching Joy and Noodle not to jump on friends when they come over! I would love your suggestions!