Monday, December 07, 2015

Training the dog

We have had Cora the dog for three weeks and a day. At first, she was almost frozen until she began to get accustomed to her new surroundings. She seems like a good dog, but there are some aspects to her behaviour which need to be improved - like barking and snarling at people (and dogs) outside of the home and also inside. We had been told by the kennels that she was well behaved, but that observation didn't appear to be accurate. As a result, we were given the phone number of a dog trainer. The kennels said that they would pay for the training (although that promise has yet to be fulfilled) - and I thought that we might have to pay the kennels for the dog. 

So far we have had two training sessions. The most important point is to show the dog who is in charge: the humans, not the dog. As we have never had such problems with our previous dogs (or we had forgotten), we have to be taught this as well. The first thing to change was the lead - we have a 3m flexi-lead which was very good for Mocha but unsuitable (for the time being) for Cora, as it allows her to wander around whilst being nominally connected to me. The kennels had given us a fixed 1.5m cloth lead when we took the dog home, and this is exactly what we need.

Yesterday we continued with our lessons. The first thing was to add a second collar - this one is 75% cloth and 25% chain; this is very important as a short tug on the lead connected to the collar simulates a nip on the throat by the dog's mother. The trainer taught Cora a sign for 'sit!', along with the vocalisation. When she didn't sit, he gave a short tug and the sign again; this time she sat. Of course, whilst training, he gave her treats to help reinforce the lesson. This went on for several minutes, then it was my turn. Although at first she wasn't too co-operative (obviously I'm not authoritative enough), she soon got the message.

This morning, when we went out for our walk, I tried the 'sit!' manoeuvre, which went surprisingly well. I didn't even use the hand sign; I just gave a short tug on the lead and Cora sat. For a change, she also relieved herself while we were out - toilet training has been a problem. I noticed that both last night and this morning, she was much more compliant, so the lessons are having an effect! I seat her when people come close and this helps.

One problem which we will have to sort is the reaction between Cora and Gutz, my daughter's dog. They came over on Saturday night for a while; this time, there was less barking but both dogs were kept on their respective leads and didn't interact physically. We are going to have the dubious pleasure of Gutz's company for a few days at the end of January, so I sincerely hope that they will begin to tolerate each other's company. 

There are no problems with our cat, whom Cora meets on the stairs every day. The cat (whose name is Brazil, but we rarely call her by name) had become accustomed to greeting Mocha and rubbing up and down against her. She was at a loss when Mocha died, and when Cora arrived, she tried to continue where she left off. Cora tolerates - or ignores - Brazil, which at least means that we don't have fights on the stairs. But we haven't got to the stage of physical contact yet (well, it's only be a few weeks) and the cat seems disappointed.

[SO: 4032; 3, 17, 38
MPP: 632; 1,  3, 6]

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