Over the last two years I've been doing a lot more training with our foster dogs. A lot of that is due to working with a positive/force free trainer, my ongoing education about positive/force free training and having some great dogs (personal and foster) to teach all of what I've been learning. I give all the dogs I work with tons of credit for trying so hard to understand what I ask of them. Those early dogs were dealing with a confused human who did a lot of bumbling along. But, good news is that I kept at it and many of our foster dogs and our personal dogs have been very forgiving of all my mistakes around not being clear in what I was trying to train. All the dogs that have pass through our house have helped me to better understand behavior and have given me lots to think about and practice in terms of training.
Some of the training I do with fosters is to help them once they are adopted. A lot of the training I do is to help the dog while they stay with us in foster care. By training them to co-exist in our house with Catty and D'light, this leads to happy dogs and happy humans. I remember some early foster dogs where I had no clue what to do about behavior (foster dog or our dogs) and it created a lot of difficulty. So, if you or your dog is struggling - go find yourself a positive/force free trainer. Here's a resource called The Pet Professional Guild - The Association for Force-Free Pet Professionals to help you with your search.
One skill that I've taught Viva is the same skill that I taught our last behavioral challenging foster dog Seven. This skill is to stay out of one specific room even with the door open and anyone in this room.
The very first day Viva was in our house I knew I needed to work on this asap. I had all the doors open and she went into this room and quickly went under the bed...
The baby gate is up to the room and Viva wondering why she can't go in here.
Here's why I don't want her in this room and I especially don't want her going under the bed. This is our guest room and really it's Catty and D'light's room. This is where you will often find them. It's a place where they can get away from the foster dog and relax.
So, within the first week I started working with Viva on not going in this room. She's so dang smart and she actually figured this out in less than a week. I'm just slow to post about this.
Here's how I worked Viva to not come into this room - I applied the same training I used with Seven. As with training for any behavior - there's no yelling at her and no physical punishment.
Way to go Viva! There are some times where both Catty and D'light and Brett and I are in the room and Viva stays out just like in this picture.
Here she is just sitting outside the room and for about the first 3 weeks I did continue to reinforce her with food for staying out. Now that's not needed as she will just sit outside the room.
So, will Viva need this skill in her adopted home? Probably not but, in our home this is a great skill and Viva is a training rock star!