Day 4 was a busy one for young Roko. Below, and in no particular order, is a list of exercises and issues worked on several times over the course of the day:
— leash manners during walks
— interaction exercises with Glimmer and Violet
— leave it, away, recall, sit, stay, down, bed, take it, out, back up, wait
— separation anxiety
— sharing [resources, toys, affection]
— jumping on people when overly excited
— impulse control
Roko’s ability to be patient is slowly improving, but he is struggling with sharing. When Glimmer tries to help by showing him what to do [e.g. sit, down, etc.] and she is rewarded in any way [food, pets, the marker word “yes”, even the clicker], he doesn’t growl, bark, or snap at her, but he does try to shoulder her away. This behavior presented during the exercise with the treadmill. When I saw it happen, I corrected him, moved him away from her, and denied him any further interaction with her.
Roko showed his high intelligence with the treadmill. I turned it on, and he immediately became intently focused on the movement of the tread. He sat and watched it for about a minute, and then he put one of his paws on it. He did this several times – he was figuring out how it was moving and in what direction it was going. Then, to my surprise, he got on it – while it was still moving – and he walked with it. And all without any guidance from me. I was stunned…
Two of the bigger issues Roko’s owners have are their inability to walk him as a family, and his tendency to steal food when they aren’t looking. On the walk, Roko is good when walking with only one family member. But, when more than one is present, Roko tends to jump against them and nip at their clothing, legs, and heels. His table and counter surfing is self-explanatory.
To start working on his walking manners, I am inviting a few of my family members and friends to assist me in helping him learn to make different, more positive and rewarding choices.
Currently, Roko continues to be leashed indoors. Although he is getting better about controlling his excitement around Glimmer and Violet, he isn’t able to maintain that control for longer than a minute or two. His excitement gets the better of him, and he ends up trying to bully and harass them into play. When they rebuff him or try to move away from him, he gets even more excited and tries to chase them. Until he can maintain control of himself for the entire duration of each interaction exercise, he must remain leashed.
Please remember that not only is Roko a teenager – which, in itself, is always an interesting time for a dog – he’s also a teenager who doesn’t know how to play with other animals in a calmer, much more appropriate manner. He is not mean or aggressive in any way – all he wants is to play; he just doesn’t know how to do that. Leashing him is the best way to prevent him from accidentally hurting himself, other animals, or other people when he becomes too excited and he can’t regain control of himself.
Have a great day, and remember to stay calm and lead on. More updates will be coming soon…