This is a very familiar story with my Ricky Ricardo. He has a mind of his own, that's for sure. At 15 pounds, when he puts on the brakes on all four legs, there ain't no moving him! Right now, it sounds like Ollie is trying to train you and doing a pretty good job of it. Here are some tips:
- Obedience: Ricky and I compete in Obedience Competitions. He has learned that I am the boss and I don't tolerate any shenanigans from him. So he respects me and cooperates with me. It is just that when other people walk him, like Momi for instance, he takes advantage of her and she allows him to do that which just reinforces that kind of behavior! How to correct - if your dog isn't cooperating, pick him up and walk for several feet and then put him down. If he still doesn't cooperate, do the same thing again. Keep doing this until he understands YOU are the boss and YOU will not tolerate this kind of insurrection.
- Who's boss: YOU are the boss and responsible for the safety and health of your dog. Corrections should be made with positive reinforcement (praise and treats). Never scold your dog, that only builds resentment. If your dog is not cooperating, pick him up, distract him, and insist that YOU are the boss, not him. Correction - pick him up and in a happy voice say "we are going this way tonight." Give him a treat when he follows you and decides that it is more fun going YOUR direction rather than his direction.
- Habit Dogs are creatures of habit. They like consistency in their lives. It is easy to get into habits that are hard to change. Ollie obviously loves the playtime at school. Correction - Substitute that playtime at school with playtime at some other location (in your yard maybe). YOU have to make yourself more fun than what he was planning on doing. I hate to break this too you, but right now, Ollie thinks the school is more interesting than you are. One night a trainer said to me in front of the whole class when Ricky wasn't listening to me, "Popi, Ricky finds that cute little female Yorkie over there, more interesting than you!" It was embarrassing but I learned something that night, HE WAS RIGHT! I now try to be the most interesting person on the face of the earth to Ricky.....and it is working. I always keep him guessing about what I'm going to do next. He LOVES that game!
- Aggressive behavior I have found that when Ricky occasionally reacts to another dog it is usually that he wants to play with them (even if barking and/or growling) or he is fearful of that dog, or he senses a danger to me his master, or that other dog has started something on a previous walk and Ricky has a long memory. Correction - I will pick Ricky up and cover his eyes with my hand (which quiets him down) or I will stand in front of him with a short leash between him and the perceived danger and I block him with my body when he tries to get around me, or best yet, I will put him in a tight heel and choke up on his leash and talk to him constantly giving him commands, put him in a sit stay, make a 180, give him plenty of treats by concentrating on me and my instructions. It doesn't happen overnight, We have been working on obedience for over 5 years now and he is really good with me.
- Training Ricky and I train together constantly. Every walk has a training component. BUT, I keep my training components short, mabe two 5 minute sessions in a 30 minute walk. The rest of the time, I let Ricky explore and sniff within limits, maybe 15 seconds per stop. We keep moving. I just tell him, "Ricky there is a better spot up here." He has learned what that means and he will eagerly run alongside me to see what is up ahead. I use a 6 ft. leash. Sometimes Ricky is behind me or sometimes ahead of me (when NOT in training) but the leash always is loose and never tight. I am walking him, he is not walking me.
- Treats I avoid cheese as a treat. It is high in fate and can cause pancreatitis in dogs. My daughter's dog got pancreatitis on a camping trip (too much bacon, cheese, and hot dogs) and it cost her around $3000 in Vet bills to get him back to normal. Correction - there are many low calorie good dog treats out there instead of cheese. Search on this site for "training treats" to see what others on HF are using.
These are some of the things I have learned in paid training classes with professionals. I recommend training classes periodically to brush up on our skills. It is fun (for both you and your dog), it is instructional, and it creates a bond between you and your dog. Training is a lifelong endeavor. The better trained YOU are, the better trained your dog is, and the happier relationship you will have together.
Try some of the tips and let us know how it is working, but it will take time, lots of it.
Tigerlily's Welcome to the Jungle (Ricky Ricardo)
(AKC titles) CGC, BN
Last edited by Ricky Ricardo; 05-08-2020 at 12:19 AM.