Home from the vet.
At Clicker Expo earlier this year, I remember Kathy Sdao saying that if there is a behavior that we like in our dog, that we want to see more of, we “capture” it with the clicker, and reinforce it. She told the story of a client (?) who clicked and treated whenever her dog did a play bow and sure enough, the dog was offering more play bows and the client was very excited and impressed. Before long, Kathy Sdao heard from this client again, this time in a state of hysteria: “Help. How do I make him stop?” The dog had turned into a play bowing monster.
I was reminded of this story when I took Boogie out for a walk this morning. When we got out onto the sidewalk, Boogie stopped and turned his head away from me. I called him, he looked at me and turned his head away again. He walked a few steps forward, then stopped and looked away again. We did not get very far and I was worried that he wasn’t feeling well because not only did he not seem enthusiastic about going for a walk, there were also lip licks and eye blinks. (Hello, Calming Signals!)
So we turned around and I led Boogie back towards the apartment, but he stopped again, didn’t want to move forward… more head turns, eye blinks and lip licks. OK, this little dog does NOT want to go home. What’s going on?
So I changed direction again.. OMG, Mom got it right. Suddenly Boogie sprang to life and trotted forward as though nothing was the matter. So THIS was the direction he wanted to go in… and off we went (he was walking politely on loose-leash too). When we got onto Rodney Drive, Boogie stopped at the tree where he saw that squirrel a few days ago.
The squirrel wasn’t there but Boogie had to check.
My dog has mastered his polite calming signals, but I am clearly not his Cookie….
This photo was taken at the vet today. Boogie did not want to be on that table.
So, Dr. R prescribed some Clindamycin antibiotics for his skin infection. Boogie also had a nail trim, his anal gland expressed, parvo & rabies shot updates, and a new batch of Comfortis.
In other news, I am still doing Susan Garrett’s Recallers online course (see previous blog post & comments). It’s hard. I am probably going to be slower than everyone else while I recondition myself not to “click” or “verbally mark” everything.