Roko’s family came to see and work with him for the first time since he started his training program two weeks ago. When they first entered the house, Roko barked at them and pulled hard on the leash to get to them. Then, he started using his nose…. and when he recognized their scent, he became extremely excited and immediately reverted to his former behavior of jumping, whining, yipping, and lunging against the leash hard enough to nearly choke himself out. It took several minutes to try to get him under control before his family could even come up the stairs.
But, Roko surprised all of us: Although his excitement level was extremely high, he made a real, conscious effort to stay on the “place” cot and focus on me, and he was able to accept food rewards for his efforts. Two weeks ago, he could not do any of that.
Once the family was settled into the living room, they were each given a couple of small treats and instructed to offer it only if Roko kept his feet on the floor to greet them. Then, keeping him on the leash, I brought Roko to each one of them. It took a few mistakes for Roko to understand that his former way of greeting [jumping, licking at mouths, nipping at clothing] was no longer acceptable, but eventually, he figured it out and tried to greet them more calmly. He did a wonderful job.
The family was shown everything we’ve been working on for the past two weeks. Roko did a fantastic job showing them how much his behavior has improved. They even took turns managing him on the treadmill.
Family walks with Roko have been non-existent due to his constant nipping and jumping. Yesterday, for the first time, Roko and his family were able to enjoy a walk together. This short video shows the highlights of how much Roko’s behavior on the leash has improved.
Roko worked incredibly hard to show his family how much he’s changed and how hard he’s still trying to learn new ways of being. For their part, the family was very happy with his progress – especially, with finally being able to walk him individually as well as together without him pulling them off their feet.
Roko has one week left in his training program. In this final week, we’ll be continuing to work on basics, leash manners, impulse control, treadmill, counter-surfing [which has almost stopped], polite greetings, door manners, some fun and easy tricks for extra enrichment, and more. Training both him and his family will continue after he returns home.
Have a great day, and remember: Stay calm, and lead on.