|Barked: Fri May 3, '13 5:39am PST |
|Sonny arrived as an avid "shoe chewer", but other foot wear would suffice.
Management as much as possible is always part of a training program.
A remote collar as a consequence might help, but if the client defaults to punishment rather than training a well behaved dog, this can spiral out of control.
Using trading up as a way of rewarding an alternate behavior is a good idea.
Here's the catch: Is it possible that the dog has learned that the way to get attention and treats is to steal socks? It has obviously become a game to him with the sock being an essential part.
In order to extinguish the sock stealing, the relationship between sock = game = reward must be broken.
They have to suck the fun out of sock stealing.
I would advise the client to ignore the sock stealing entirely. No more trading up for the socks. As far as they are concerned, socks no longer exist is the universe, so the dog couldn't have one in his mouth.
Start them on a program of rewarding the dog lavishly when it is doing something it should.
(ie: chewing his own toys, just resting, playing with a ball on his own, etc.) Tell them to set a goal number of 12 times a day, each person will praise and reward the dog while it is behaving well on his own. They should keep the praise and reward calm and low key so the dog continues the behavior they like.
If they see the dog has a sock, IGNORE and walk away. Wait 10-15 seconds. Then call the dog happily with an offer to do something, like go outside, sit for a treat, play with a ball for a moment, practice another training exercise, etc. All the while they must ignore the sock if the dog still holds it. If that mean the treats pile up on the floor because he did the required behavior, but still hold the sock, so be it.
If the dog does drop the sock, instruct them to leave it where it falls. When the dog is otherwise occupied and out of sight, then make the sock disappear.
This worked like a charm for Sonny, he is a reliablely reformed shoe thief
Depending on the clients training ability you may have to demo this for them. I had to show a client this technique so the dog would leave the cat alone.
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