Saturday, June 16, 2012

That's It?

I have this little issue with Haddie. She is over-powering Cora (pet Beagle), and when I think of the time between today and Feb 15th's turn-in it seems like it will take forever to separate these two. It is a love-hate relationship that has been escalating and not getting better.  Haddie loves, Cora hates.

Realizing that what I had tried was still not working, I sent a note to our amazing friend in the CCI Puppy Raiser group. He hosted Haddie last December while we vacationed to a mountain destination, so he had familiarity of her character. However, he had never met our Beagle.

Rather than training via email, he offered to come to our house to see the dogs in their own environment and to get to the bottom of the issue. He arrived after school yesterday. We chatted while Haddie chilled out in a down command after her excitement of seeing him in our house, and Cora was in her kennel in a different room waiting to be released.

When the time came to observe the dogs together it took less than five minutes to get Haddie to submit to our command of leaving Cora alone. Can everyone say, "Dog Whisperer"? 

His amazing calm demeanor captures the attention of animals. He is definitely alpha, yet best friend too. He commands attention by his confident, calm manner. One area that I am lacking that I wish I knew more about was animal behavior. How to read a dog's body language (any books/dvd's/online anyone knows of that are valuable for this?).

In the end, Haddie was leaving Cora alone and trying to find a hiding place behind my legs. He did absolutely nothing to harm her, he just provided a "mother's touch" to getting her to listen up; a quick yet strong tap. It was so subtle, if you were not watching close enough you would miss it. And it worked.

Jealousy runs among both the girls when it comes to me providing either dog attention. I have two hands, and can provide the love equally at the same time, but the dogs never seem to get this concept. They want all of me, all of the time.

So then it was time for me to try out the correction with Haddie. Bending down to love on my 12 inch beagle, Haddie was conflicted on whether to get involved, or wait her turn. Eventually she chose to get involved and a quick tap from me was the reminder for her to wait.  Haddie backed down.

Eventually Cora started running in the house (yes, we have allowed that due to her tiny size, and because she has been solo dog for so long), but instead of Haddie joining the chase, race, and chaos, Haddie watched. Amazing. She did not go towards Cora until the very end, and then she did a bow-stance to stop Cora from running. Cora did, and jumped up on the couch. That was it. No mouthing, pouncing, dancing, chasing, twirling, hopping, annoying occurred from Haddie.

Since this was yesterday, and Robin did not move in with us, how is Haddie continuing to fair with Cora? She has maintained positive behavior. In fact, the two have been roaming around as I have typed. And I have noticed that Haddie is now "checking in" with me ... before pouncing on the cute fur of brown and black, Haddie will stop, volunteer to make eye contact with me, and then walk the opposite direction. She knows. She is processing, "Wait. The last time I pounced it didn't turn out so good for me." 

It will be something that I will need to continue to monitor throughout our next eight months together, but I now have the wisdom on how to stop the behavior before it ever escalates.

Thank You, R, for being the amazing and inspiring Puppy Raiser that you are! Your dedication to our volunteer position is truly exceptional and beyond the call of duty. We appreciate all that you do for everyone in this community of raisers. The pups adore you - it truly shows. Oh, and Haddie says, "Frisbee?!" =)

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