MemberAugust 2, 2011 at 6:37 pm27
Thanks again for offering your input, Teresa!
You made such a valid point about other triggers and I wanted to stress that my only goal is to see him succeed. Everything I do with my dog is in the most controlled environment that I can provide for him and with the least amount of distractions as possible. Since his baggage could practically fill the entire cargo area of a 747, when we work on a major behavioral issue such as his resource guarding, it is the only behavior addressed during the entire session. I am careful not to do anything that will cause him any emotional harm, nor do I introduce any additional stimulus that might trigger or provoke and unwanted response. I do my very best and end the sessions based on his physical responses, making sure to do so when he is feeling his best, as it were.
As I mentioned, upon discovering his enjoyment for sniffing out the treats, I go outside and place the treats in various locations and then I bring him out. I call his name and issue the command “find it”, at which point his nose goes straight to the ground and he is in total search mode. I say nothing else and usually stay on or near the porch while he is scouring the yard. When he no longer sniffs out treats with ease, he stops and looks back to me for guidance, at which time I only point in the general direction of the treats he might have missed, which he will head off in that direction and begin or research the area, otherwise I tell him “that’s it” and he now knows that he has successfully completed his task. I issue the “come” command and as soon as he returns to me, I heavily praise him for the fine work he has done.
I believe that I am performing this in a manner that will not provoke any unwanted responses. I let him know what I want him to do, allow him to accomplish the task on his own, offer guidance when he indicates to me he needs it, let him know when he has completed his task and praise him for being successful. I set up the area ahead of time, I am never invading his personal space while he is “searching” and there are no other pack members or people present during this time.
Locating the treats has probably been the most beneficial thing he has discovered (learned) so far. It’s like the light bulb finally came on in his little noggin’ once he realized that he could seek and receive good guidance from his leader! I am regularly witnessing him performing this behavior, where he looks to me first before reacting negatively to the situation. He is learning that he can TRUST again! Woo Hoo, what a relief! I totally owe this change in him to the “find it” game. 🙂
I’ll work on incorporating items and see how it goes, in the mean time, if you see that I am mismanaging this game in anyway, please advise me!