Other than not coming back when you call, chewing visitors shoes, stealing their underwear, barking incessantly at other dogs or every time the doorbell rings or at a pigeon should it dare to walk across the patio, or marking his territory in an anti social fashion on items that don’t belong to him Alan the dog is perfect. At 18 months his behavior wasn’t improving so when Muddy got chatting to a lady at the supermarket who recommended a local dog trainer we wasted no time making the call.
Due to our ever changing schedule we couldn’t guarantee being able to attend a specific class so opted for a private consultation instead, basically we paid someone to come to the house and tell us how rubbish we are at bringing up Alan or Prince Alan as he is now known.
The dog trainer has given us a list of rules to follow in order to successfully take Prince Alan down a peg or three till he’s been comfortably settled back into his correct position within the pack order, Muddy and I have to assert ourselves to be the leaders. All common sense really – where did we go wrong?
For the next few months HRH has to earn all his food by demonstrating good behavior, knowing his willful temperament we were initially fearful he might starve to death. Each morning we prepare his food for the day and store it in his special treat bag always making sure each of us has a clicker to hand at all times then whenever he does something good he gets a bit of chicken and a click from the clicker, this means greasy meat hands for the foreseeable future, but we’re both happy do it if it helps.
The reward click system takes a bit of getting used to it’s not unlike patting your head and rubbing your tummy, initially I could have been mistaken for a castanet wielding flamenco dancer but with a bit of practice am getting the hang of it.
It’s been a week of change for Alan he’s baring up very well although he’s still grumpy about not being able to sleep on the bed anymore and now glowers at me from his big cushion.
As I type wafts of chicken are emanating from my greasy keyboard but hopefully he’ll soon be rid of the bad habits we’ve instilled in him.