Storm is making excellent progress. She did try to jump on me when I entered the house, but her excitement level was less intense than the first time I met her, and she stopped the behavior fairly quickly and went into a sit, and then a down position without being asked. And she gave me direct eye contact, too, which was wonderful. Clearly, her people have been working her on the exercises from the first class.
In our second lesson, Storm was introduced to the mat. As can be seen in the video, she is doing remarkably well:
Storm is still continuing to mouth and nip at shoes and pant legs. She is also continuing to tug on sweaters and shirts. But, while this behavior is not condoned, I understand that this is her way of conveying that she’s starting to feel frustrated with the lessons and she’s had enough. She works hard in her lessons, but she is still a baby, after all, and that has to be respected. As she gets older, her ability to work the full hour will improve. As it is, her ability to work almost the entire hour without acting out is pretty remarkable. It’s also pretty amazing that she is working so hard and so long while having to deal with a lot of distractions: In our second class, both of the cats were in the area, watching the goings-on from a perch, and there were other people and kids going in and out of the kitchen. That’s a lot for a puppy to have to ignore!
Because of her high intelligence and quick learning ability – and because one of her unwanted behaviors is to take clothing and bite and tear at it – I had to incorporate a couple of exercises she wasn’t supposed to be starting for a couple of weeks: “drop it” and “leave it”. So, her second class consisted of practicing her “sit”, “down”, “stay”, “wait”, and “come” exercises, and learning “mat”, “drop it”, and “leave it”. She did a great job learning the new exercises, but when she was at the end of her limits, she took hold of my sweater, gave me a bit of whale-eye, started to tug, and would not listen when I told her to drop it. Not knowing what to do, her people remained quiet and allowed me to deal with the situation – which was exactly the right decision to make. Maintaining eye contact with Storm, I calmly asked her people to find her favorite toy and attempt to distract her with it. The redirection technique worked, and Storm let go. The class was immediately ended on a positive note, and all was well again.
Overall, Storm is a sweetheart and a real joy to work with. Her people just have to remember that she’s just a baby, she’s practicing normal puppy behaviors, and that with time, patience, and consistency in working her through her lessons, she will eventually outgrow the current unwanted behaviors.
Have a great day, and remember: Stay calm and lead on.