My Lele is Growing Up (Part 1/2)
Lele had been a different dog since the heat. Me and CS are quite puzzled by her sudden change of character and behavior. The change have both positive and negative effects. Wondering if this is because lele is entering to adulthood soon, therefore she is starting to get wary about the surrounding. I guess my lele is growing up and big girl now. Mummi is getting to know lele once again.
1) Increasing in barking frequency- Le le gets quite paranoid with surrounding nowadays whenever we are out for walks or even at home. She used to whine and wag her tail when she see strangers. But now she tends to bark at strangers (those she don’t like) and had her tail between legs. One such incident is when walking down the stairs. If steps are heard from someone walking down, she will bark and lunge forward once sighted. I usually get to hear her bark like only once a fortnight. Now I can hear it like few times a week.
Mummi’s reinforcement: I prepared a bunch of treats every time we go out for walks. If she barks, I will immediately tighten the leash and try to get in front of her view. At the same time trying to get her to sit or down with the treats in my hand. I will immediately praise her and treat her if she looks at me or keep quiet. If she trys to lunge forward to the person, I usually uses my voice “ackkk…. + No”. The moment she stop I give her a treat and praise her. As the other person is walking pass us, I will try to constantly get her attention and treat treat treat + praise praise praise. And stop until the person is distance away from us. Then I will ask her to heel about 2-3 steps and then “free” her to go sniff (favourite activity when outside).
2) Growling – Aggression over food and toys - Lele for the first time growl at me during her dinner time when I tried to put my hand in her food bowl. (That day lele was served a special delicious dinner.) I got startled and suddenly felt so vulnerable. (No matter how, lele still have fangs that can puncture my hand.) It actually break the trust between me and lele. I felt angry and frightened at the same time when I tried to go near her food the 2nd time. And she growled at me again. I know I cannot let this behavior go on without correcting her.
Mummi’s reinforcement: I have no idea what to do as this is the first time experiencing such behavior head-on. I scolded her very loudly “No” and tell her I feed her not taking her food. Next , I stroked her head and talk to her nicely. Afterwhich, I just push my hand into the bowl (closing my eyes and praying she won’t bite). Immediately I grab a piece of her food and feed it to her muzzle. And I go on and on until dinner is finished. It was a heart-stopping moment. The reason I do it is more of an impulsive action. Well, this is not the first time I’ve been reaching into lele’s bowl, I almost do it everyday once on either meal time which no aftermath. Somehow to think back as in putting my hand in with gut feeling is stupidity.
So I went to check for the appropriate reinforcement online and came across a video, Doggy’s Dinnertime – SIRIUS Puppy Training Classic by my favourite dog trainer Dr Ian Dunbar. At least now I know the correct method to reinforce so to ensure my safety in future, should it happen again.
As for toys, it have been a while since lele last socialised. She don’t like other dogs to snatch toys from her when out at the dog run. Most of the time she will try to get her toy back by knocking on other dogs or being sneaky when the dogs drop the toy. There is a couple of times that she growl at other dogs who tried to take her ball. I will simply stepped in, take the toy and tell her “No”. Subesequently I will keep the toy to avoid unnecessary conflicts between the dogs.
So these are the negative behaviors lele has been showing. I like to share my experiences so that others will take note especially not repeating my insensible actions. My actions may not work for your furkids but at least to understand the importance to teach and correct them when their behaviors are inappropriate. We do not want them to get hurt or hurting other people resulting to a point of no return.
Next up will be the positive actions she has been surprising me!!!
“I’m watching you. Do not come near my poof…”