|Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M|
I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
|Barked: Sat Jan 12, '13 10:39am PST |
|Stella, Charlie got that right. A long line is a long line attached to a dog. It can be something as easily obtainable as one of those 15' web training leads, or you can go to a hardware store and get a rope with a snap to attach. Just anything long-ish that your dog can drag, often best to be a bright (non neutral) color so that it is easy to catch with your eye rather than having to visually search for it.
I have used longlines for many years and it is one of those pieces of equipment in puppy raising where my results, which are very good, would plummet without. I am not sure what it is with the dog brain, but their response to it is exceptional. And by this I mean, I could say "no" or whatever all day long and not have near the results I get with the longline. I am sure dogs have the intelligence to equate me with the longline (although back in the days the training was developed by a man named Koehler, the long line was meant to be so feather light that the dog could not associate the handler with it's use), they seem, in their responses, to more view it as some environmental force rather than a human derived control.
Let me expand. My rescue had, alas, a bad adoption where a perfectly well behaved Dachshund was returned to us with high aggression. He attempted to bite my rescue partner as we collected him, had to be placed in his travel crate by his not so great owner, and was like a psychotic troll once in there....any approach to the crate and he was just loaded for bear aggressive. Not approachable.
I put him on a long line, and in literally days, he was 100% fine. I have had no difficulties with him, and the person he tried to bite regained trust of him to where she trusts him with her toddler daughter. This was done by taking a dog who expected heavy handed punishment, and using the long line to gain control of him in scenes where he felt conflict. So when I needed to get him in or out of his crate, I used the long line (either leading him in or out of it). If I approached him and could see him getting tense, I just picked up the long line. That's all it took. He did things because with the long line he had no choice, but in so doing was doing things where he felt a tension re potential conflict, and could therein experience them and learn that I was not going to do anything to harm him. And has been fine ever since.
My puppies are taught remote obedience through long lines. When I call them, I pick the long line up and guide them to me. And through that process, they never seem to question it or me. Much like the Dachshund example, they do it because they don't have a choice, but in far more of a relaxed and accepting fashion than a voice command. I have worked with MANY a dog who growls when asked to get off a couch or bed, and it's a lot the same. If you use the long line to pull them off, the problem solves itself in a very quick amount of time.
So with the cats, I highly recommend it. If you can reach down, grab the line, issue a command and pull her towards you (not a punitive pull as in a jerk, just a normal pull) and then praise, you will be building her to respond to your command reliably. And, where long lines really seem to have a strength, to interrupt an undesireable behavior....to halt the sequence. It's a very simplistic view, but still a dynamic one....what dogs have a chance to practice they do, and what they don't, they don't. Once behaviors start getting interrupted, they are often quickly dropped. Not quite sure why it works with dogs so dynamically, but it does.
Regarding your cat door, I think a good choice. Maybe even a combination of both. Cats are very territorial, and gain much sense of security and confidence by having areas they own. If your cats feel there are areas they can control and thwart the dog, that does them a world of good. And will, paired with the long line, lessen Stella's sense of control on these issues. By so disarming her ability to practice these behaviors, it can only help. That and that this isn't simply a matter of one dog's behavior, but the quality of life for your cats during this trying time. To give them their own spaces through this time and having more control of Stella, things will get a lot easier for them, which they surely deserve. And you yourself can feel better about helping them, rather than just focusing on Stella, who in the meantime is losing the ability to practice these behaviors, which will greatly hasten results.
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