- Say a dog’s name once. It’s the pause afterward that they hear and it is powerful. It creates anticipation which is 90% of the game.
- Do not hit a dog, especially from above. Only pop them under the chin to get their attention. Holding their muzzle and compelling close eye contact is also potent. The idea is never humiliation, but momentary attention.
- Set the dog up to do the behavior you don’t want and catch them in the act. Then make a big deal of it. Race over to them, swell your chest up big and make them look you in the eye. Make a scene. This is the part I hate. A sensitive, beloved visitor who once witnessed a disciplining scene when a dog ignored the “come” command — the Bearded One doesn’t care who is watching him go ballistic with a dog — was aghast and asked if that was really necessary. Yes, I said sadly. You must make a fool of yourself. Intentional theatrics are the whole point; you can do the job once or a hundred times; once is better. This is for enforcement, not early training.
The set-up works with cats, too. A variation, anyway. The hoop house plastic arrived, and we are contemplating a catastrophe for Garfield so he doesn’t climb and claw the plastic to shreds.
The last scene we made with Ruby over the gardens was months ago, so I set up a little fence for a couple of days. Sticks and flagging.
Indiscriminate digging is another problem altogether, and just about unsolvable. You have to fence-in precious places. It’s not a problem with Goldens, fortunately. The set-up technique works for jumping up problems, too, and to some extent attacking cats. Ruby has had trouble with both in the past, but both of these problems have been solvable.
Submissive peeing is the toughest problem on the neighbors’ list. It’s usually with one person, and I, unfortunately, have previously been that One with a family dog. Every time I went to pick the kids up at their father’s house after the divorce, Pepper the Australian Shepard would pee in the entry. I think Pepper was overwhelmed with confused feeling when he saw me — a dog of divorce — and months of one-on-one, I’m-here-for-you love would theoretically have been the only cure. It was not to be. Our younger Twenty Something daughter always had a towel nearby; she adored Pepper.
I will try to make up for all that mopping by taking excellent, loving care of her cat who will be summering here as she works as a nurse at the VA Hospital. Any advice for welcoming a second kitty into the fold?
“How old is the dog?” the Bearded One asked the neighbor who called about their Labradoodle jumping up. The answer, six months, made him laugh, and them relax. No way could you expect a six-month- old pup to be trained yet, he explained and then added, “It’s a DOG, man!”