See Spot Sit* Dog Training

18 Apr

*In Buster’s case, we want to see him stop trying to hurt/attack/gnash his teeth at other dogs/things he doesn’t understand like garbage trucks. Tall order.

It happened. Ike and I finally called in professional dog trainers. To refresh your memory, we own a Cairn terrier named Buster. Buster is a wonderful companion and loyal friend to all the human people in his life, but he does not know how to deal with the existence of other dogs. Or at least he can’t deal with it constructively. We didn’t know how to stop these negative and escalating reactions; we needed help. Help has come in the form of See Spot Sit Dog Training. Good news! They feel like they can ‘fix’ him! I think they are right. I saw and learned a lot of good things, and that was just during our free consultation. For details, read on. And if you do anything (Little Rock dog owners), visit See Spot Sit’s site. They offer a lot of great services!

The Right Team

Buster needs to learn how to be around dogs and not freak out. To do that (obvious alert), he needs to be around dogs. But no matter how many hours we walked Buster, he never really improved his behavior. Why? Because we usually avoided dog situations instead of facing them. I’m guessing this is how a mother of fit throwing kid feels about walking through the toy section of Wal-Mart. We need a team of dog trainers and their calm and well-trained dogs to practice with. See Spot Sit has two eager and professional dog trainers and great dogs to help ease Buster back into the canine loving world. We got a lot of good tips from the trainers and invaluable experience from the dogs.

As an interesting side note, one of the dogs they brought, Crash, is a dog they rescued from ‘death row’. He’s going to be featured in an upcoming documentary about Search and Rescue dogs being able to smell ovarian cancer in a woman’s breath. If that doesn’t prove that dogs are the best animals ever, I don’t know what will.

The Right Stuff

Buster doesn’t have the right kind of collar. We learned to have the best control over Buster, his collar needs to sit high on the neck, not just above the shoulders. They recommended a Martingale model. It sits in the right place, tightens humanely during a leash correction and has a noisy chain that helps snap the dog back into a calm frame of mind. We practiced with a higher chain collar during the session and it produced a shocking difference. It is time to go to Petsmart/Petco!

The Right Attitude

This kind of stuff still scares me.

As much as I try, I still get nervous about Buster interacting with other dogs. I’ve been slightly scarred by his more extreme reactions to seeing another dog. Even during the session, I kept hiding behind Ike when things got especially snarly. But the trainers told us we need to walk tall: head up, shoulders back, firm voice and confident gait. I need an attitude adjustment. At first, I’m going to have to be conscience about the change, but I’m going to do it. Buster needs to know that I’m there to protect him and not the other way around.

The Right Signs

Here is Buster. Cute, furry and sometimes ferocious.

Finally, they told what to look for in Buster’s body language. It is important to catch Buster’s fixation at level 1, before fixation escalates to level horrible. Level 1 is basically a freeze. The easiest way to detect level 1? It’s all in the ears; if Buster’s ears are pointing in the same direction and perfectly still he’s about to pounce. So if we can become observant of this telling sign, we can snap him out of it before it becomes worse.

Those are the lessons I learned from our session on Saturday. We are excited to formally continue our training sessions with See Spot Sit. I’ll give you updates as we go along!

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5 Responses to “See Spot Sit* Dog Training”

  1. Brooke April 18, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    Exciting! Can’t wait to hear how Buster improves!

    We were so happy Saturday, because Ollie met five dogs (on leash) without growling! Unfortunately, he relapsed last night, so I guess it’s going to take some more work. But it was definitely encouraging.

    We’re also starting to work on his hatred of scooters/skateboards by exposing him to us riding a scooter (with treats). So far, exposure has been the best way to conquer his fear of anything, so I’m hopeful.

    Good luck, and keep us updated!

    • alexispeters April 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

      It sounds like Ollie is doing great! We’ve also discovered the power of treats and repetitions when it comes to Buster’s (many)hang ups. Right now, I’m working on his reaction to the A/C kicking on. We’re making progress.

      I’ll keep you updated on Buster, but you have to let me know how Ollie is doing as well! Good luck to you too!

  2. Jamie Walden April 20, 2011 at 5:11 am #

    Buster is famous. We wrote a post about him on our site!

    • alexispeters April 20, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

      Love the post! We are excited to help our “plucky, spirited, bold, stubborn, clever and, last but not least, scrappy” little guy (with your team’s much needed guidance).

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 2011 Resolutions: May Reality Check « Milk & Cookies - May 2, 2011

    […] satisfied with a few new tricks. I want rehabilitation. So we’ve hired professional dog trainers, See Spot Sit, to help our furry mess. Also, he has learned the “Leave it!” command this month. It’s not a […]

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