|Barked: Tue Nov 20, '12 4:04pm PST |
I hope you might have some helpful tips for me. I have a wonderful, smart puppy that was dumped at a shelter in Poland. She's about 5/6 months old and looks like a shepherd/collie mix.
She's really good, apart from one thing: she's completely obsessed with food. She's had a rough start in life, having to share 1 food bowl a day with 11 other puppies and being separated from the mother very very early. Therefore it makes perfect sense that she feels the need to eat everything that comes within reach. Jumping up on the table and stealing food is getting better (although she did try to steal a pretzel out of a child's hand today).
The problem, mainly, is when we are out on walks. I live in Berlin, so it is a busy city with lots of food lying on the sidewalk permanently (pizza boxes, aluminum foil with little bits of food attached to it, sometimes even cooked bones). This means that I can't walk her normally: she walks with her head down at all times, always looking for food, pulling when she smells something.
This means that walks have become rather frustrating for me - which really sucks because it's the main active time we spend together and it's supposed to be a time of bonding and mutual pleasure rather than frustration and irritation.
My frustration is fuelled by the fear that she'll eat something poisoned, as unfortunately it is quite common here to have poisoned meat lying around for dogs to eat.
I want to teach her to walk with her head up and to not sniff around constantly, and also to simply ignore food when it is lying on the street.
My trainer suggested to use a muzzle for a few weeks and to click and treat everytime she keeps her head up while walking. So the muzzle would be there to prevent her from receiving a reward from the ground. And only getting a reward from me, up in the air.
Also I will teach her leave it.
I hope one day we will get so far that I can let her off-leash in the park and she will just go past those pieces of bread and apple cores that are lying around.
Would it be a good idea, for the second phase, to get one of those leashes that go around the face so that, for a few weeks, I can give a small yank up on the leash whenever she tries to put her head down and sniff around. Off course she will be allowed to sniff when I tell her to (e.g. 15 minutes walking, 5 minutes sniffing, 15 minutes walking, 5 minutes sniffing, etc.)
I would love to hear it if you have some more advice. Part of me thinks it's really unfair to forbid a puppy to sniff around and get to know the world. On the other hand, it's for her own safety as in summer there's lots of poison to be found in this city. Do you have tips/opinions/experiences for me?
All the best,
P.S. I train with the positive reinforcement method, so please no dominance theory arguments
|my posts|| [notify]|