The Wycked Chronicals: Mealtime Madness

Wycked the Labrador puppy is now 15 weeks.  Her enthusiasm has been a joy and exactly what I wanted. But now that she’s growing in size I need to work some of the puppy antics before they aren’t so funny anymore.

We all know that transition, right? That point where you go from laughing your bum off at the crazy things your puppy does to the point where you see that these will not be so funny when she’s fully grown.  (Well, if we can get out of our puppy awe and think to the future.)  I love puppies and their silliness, so this is hard for me, but having raised my fair share of puppies I have learned to think ahead.  Did I ever tell you about the time my yellow Labrador Guinness almost knocked me out because I taught him to jump up with all 4 feet and give me a kiss?  Yeah…good times.  But I digress, back to baby Wycked.  During meal times she goes bonkers and practically does back flips.  It is rather humorous, but now that her feet can reach the edge of the counter and she’s getting bigger, I need to get some control.

Early in my positive reinforcement training education I learned that one great way to work on a problem behavior is to replace it with an incompatible behavior.  I cannot just tell this crazy puppy to “stop it”. She doesn’t know how.  So, going back to what I have learned, I thought to myself “yes, just teach her to sit”.  I wanted this because she cannot sit and fling herself at the same time (incompatible!).  However, as you will see in the video below (and mind you, its not as crazy as she gets at her worst) I felt that without a defined space I would struggle with her understanding what I wanted and keeping her motivated to try.  I prefer to work with my dog and make things easier for her, so that we both win!

I went back to what I learned while working with Bobbi Lyons in Fit Paws Canine Conditioning seminars.  I could teach her to sit on a stool. By doing this, I am teaching her a defined space to stay within. It would require some concentration on her part to control her body on the stool which would allow her to remain a little more focused versus just being hyperactive.  If she made a wrong choice, like trying to jump, she would fall off the stool (you will see it is a small stool and not far off the ground for a fall to be dangerous) and therefore we would start over.

The video below shows our three four trials which took place over 2 days. We are a work in progress.  I already see her looking for the stool when I pick up the bowls to prepare meals (she’s not going there on her own yet, but it will come).

The journey continues with every minute and I am enjoying the ride!  I’ll be sure to update you on her progress.  Don’t forget to subscribe, and leave me your comments!!

Happy Training,

Lysa, Wycked, and the rest of the “bad dog brigade”

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