It's Been Way Too Long!

Sometimes life gets in the way of spending five minutes with your dog to work them mentally (or even physically). Today I snuck in a short session working on backing up, rotating in heel position, driving to his bed, and wearing a hat (don't ask).

One of my all time favorite drills and behaviors is teaching a dog value for position - in this case value for my dog staying on (and driving to) his bed. This drill has been such a life saver especially when I have company or guests because I can rest assured he will remain in position.

Since Settler enjoys meeting people so much, he is very excited (although rarely leaving his four paws) to greet and say his hellos. Since this can be quite overwhelming for some people, I decided to teach him even more value for driving to a position when guests come into the house and remaining there. While he has been doing this for two years, I still do incrementally reinforce it because I want him to get better and better and increase his duration. People are very exciting, so I need to build even more value or excitement for the bed - with the ultimate reward being able to meet the guests. 

Here is a short clip of him working off a verbal cue driving to his bed, and ending in the position which is to turn around, offer a down, and hold until released. The "back up" cue has also come in handy for this since sometimes I am not entirely happy with his positioning, but am able to ask him to fix it by backing up so more of his body is on the bed. 

If I choose not to reinforce his "send to bed" when company arrives, I usually manage the situation by putting him in the crate. Having him on leash may also also be an option, but since he is able to control his impulses well enough to remain on his bed (and has fun doing it) that is what I have chosen to do with him. 

Too many people get advice of "my way or the highway." If something is not working that you are doing with your dog...change it. If it is not working and you are not getting results, it is time to stop and think (not at your dog's expense) about what you can change to help your dog succeed.