Boots the Frenchton is now 11 weeks old and quite the little firecracker. He’s had two basics lessons so far, and last night, he got his first introduction to other animals and a new person. During his lessons, he showed that he is very quick to learn… and that he will bite – or try to bite – if he doesn’t get his own way.
At the introduction session last night, Violet the cat taught him in seconds that lunging and jumping is neither acceptable nor wise, and that biting to get what he wants [in this case, it was treats] is unacceptable and earns him nothing.
Glimmer helped out tremendously by showing Boots how to earn the treats. She showed him the sit and the down positions, and she showed him how to wait for the reward calmly. Boots watched Glimmer very closely; he did an awesome job of mimicking her when it was his turn.
By the end of the session, when Glimmer was asked to sit or go into a down, Boots was doing it, too – and without being asked to. He also learned to wait calmly for his reward, rather than jump, lunge, and bite at his owner, which he’s been doing prior to last night’s introduction.
To finish off the session, I introduced him to the treadmill. After he was comfortable going on and off of it and then just standing on it, I turned it on. At its lowest setting, it moves super-slowly; Boots was a bit surprised at first, but then he adjusted himself almost immediately to move with it and balance his body so that he wouldn’t trip. He was only on it for about 30 seconds, but he did a fantastic job with it. Afterwards, he was rewarded by being allowed to play with one of the toys he’d had his eye on.
Overall, Boots did a fantastic job. He’s super-smart, and he’s got a ton of energy; he just needs time, patience, and practice with the rules, and with learning what is and is not acceptable behavior. By the end of last night’s session, his biting and lunging behavior had almost completely stopped – he only tried once to bite his owner – and he also learned that he has to work for and earn toys, treats, cuddles, meals, and etc.
I’ve encouraged the owner to arrange for more socialization time with Glimmer and Violet, as Boots not only needs that for his own health and well-being, but they also help him learn and practice better manners.
Have a great day and a great weekend, and remember: Stay calm and lead on.