Bella is the most adorable, soft, cute, friendly and totally scrumptious Beagle puppy of six months old.
She greeted me with lots of jumping up. She jumped up at the counters. Bella jumped at and onto the table.
Bella is told NO. She’s told GET DOWN.
When I arrive I usually ask the people, where possible, to cease all commands. I like to see what the dog does when not controlled.
Like most people they found this hard. It demonstrates, however, that the commands they are constantly giving her teach her nothing. ‘Get Down’ may work in the moment because she just obeys the word.
It doesn’t stop her doing it again.
In fact, I would say that it might increase the behaviour if attention is what she wants.
Being unable to scold her left them helpless. They can’t simply put up with the behaviour, can they!
They already had a clicker. We were going to turn NO into YES.
The little girl aged eight sat next to me. Her instructions were to click as soon as Bella’s feet were on the floor. She was a little genius.
The child clicked and then I dropped food on the floor for Bella.
Bella too was a genius. She caught on to what clicking was all about very quickly.
Kids in bed, Bella moved on to challenge us all further. She scratched at the door and chewed the mat.
How were we going to stop her without saying NO?
With a clicker we will teach her an incompatible behaviour – a ‘Yes’.
I put out my hand to her. In no time she was touching my palm with her little cold nose. Click. Food. The man took over and he, like his daughter, was a genius too.
In one session Bella and the man, both novices, had learnt what clicker was all about. He was able to put the action on cue with the word Touch’. He was very much on the ball. I took a short video of him.
Bella went to jump at the table, the man called ‘Bella-Touch’ from the other side of the room and she ran straight over and touched his hand. Click. Food.
Soon he will be able to drop the click altogether.
We had a little break with Bella in her crate, then the man carried on. Bella was now looking at me and at the table without jumping up. Yes. Click. Food.
Being constantly told No can be very frustrating for a dog – just as it would be for a child. Bella gets stirred up and may hump the lady. She humped me.
I stood still and froze. She would have to stop eventually. As soon as her feet were on the floor I clicked. Food.
They need food to hand all the time for now – she can earn her meals. If no clicker, the word Yes will do.
They are changing their mindset from No to Yes.
To give Bella something acceptable to take out any frustrations on, she will have a ‘box of tricks’. A carton that she can wreck full of safe rubbish from the recycle bin with bits of food buried amongst it.
She can really go to town on that.