Lupin arrived yesterday to begin his 4-week training program. He has presented the issues Devi informed me about, and he has shown me what his genetic makeup looks like: Lupin is on constant alert – even when kenneled for the night. He can maintain a sit-stay for about 15 to 20 seconds, but he has great difficulty holding a down-stay position for longer than 5 to 10 seconds. But Lupin has also shown me some issues I was not aware of: He is very nervous and insecure, he is extremely skittish, and he is very easily spooked. Loud laughter scares him and makes him tense, anxious, and reactive. He reacts by barking fiercely and either shoving his body at the person, or by trying to make a correction with a bite. Right now, this dog is not able to relax and enjoy life at all.
Because of his food aggression issues, Lupin is being taught to recognize and respect the food, as well as the source. This morning’s breakfast was his second meal with us – and the second time doing this exercise. You will notice how he tries to scoot closer to the food; this is a learned behavior from his early puppyhood, when he had to compete with his 10 other siblings for food.
Today is Lupin’s first full day with me. Today, he is going to learn how to become calm and more relaxed. Although I know that Lupin values food above all other types of rewards, I will be using touch and verbal praise to reinforce and reward him. I have observed that he’s uncertain and a bit nervous about it, so it’s important that he learns to trust it, and to make a positive association with it.
Have a great day, and remember to stay calm and lead on.