We’ve been trying to train our puppy, Shanti, to act right. It hasn’t been easy. She obeys Husband well enough, and I can only think that’s because she sees him as the alpha or somesuch. But she generally disrespects me. She’s affectionate and playful with me, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not sure that she sees me as anything more than a litter mate.
This was made painfully clear to me when my friend Katie came to visit. Katie is a dog person. She had only to stand up, assume an authoritative stance, stand on the dog’s blankie, and that little rascal went belly up.
I sat transfixed at Shanti’s sudden change of heart. (Then two seconds later she chewed me to pieces–as a stress relief measure, presumably).
***And just now she super-jumped onto the couch, which is strictly verboten, stepped on my computer keypad, and made this post disappear for a minute. Case in point***
Katie told us that we might try positive reinforcement with our little renegade. We hadn’t done treats or anything up to this point. I didn’t want her hooked on them. And we had been able to teach her how to sit with nothing more than an enthusiastic ‘good girl.’
Finally we broke down and decided to get some plain Cheerios to see if they’d help Shanti be more motivated to obey–say, sometime this year. I am not exaggerating when I say that she learned to sit, stay, and come in one night. We’re working on ‘shake’ today and I think she’s almost got it.
I stand corrected. Positive reinforcement works, and now I’m trying to figure out how to use Cheerios to get my kids to make their beds.