Remember back on Oct. 13th, when I wrote about Scout’s whining breakfast habit? Well, since then, we’ve instituted the “ignore her until she’s quiet” campaign, and Thursday-Sunday it worked like a charm. Scout was always quiet, and always got her food immediately. It even gave us the opportunity to begin the new routine of asking Scout to sit before we put the food bowl down, which she picked up on quickly considering how food-driven she is.
Cue this morning. Scout not only started whining, but she beat her previous record of 20 minutes, this time lasting a full 30 before she was quiet and could be fed. Little does she realize that it’s becoming a lot easier for us to block her out now that we’re practiced at it.
Mondays always seem a bit harder for Scout. I think it’s because the weekend messes with her schedule. So on Saturday and Sunday we tried to keep her routine closer to that of the weekdays. We went to breakfast on Saturday, and on Sunday we did our grocery shopping early. It didn’t seem to make breakfast any easier this morning, but I think that’s because we were dead tired (blame it on Law and Order. It kept us up a full hour later than normal. We had to know what happened!) and slept a bit later, so she didn’t get her normal romp outside to burn off energy before coming in for breakfast. Note to self: Scout really needs that morning exercise!
We did get some good training in yesterday. We worked on Come by sitting on opposite ends of the rug and calling her back and forth, rewarding her each time she listened. From what I’ve read, Come can be a hard command for dogs to learn and follow consistently (“sorry, but this spot of grass is way more interesting than you are, dear parent”), so we’re starting on it now. We’ve also been working on her nipping. This past week we weren’t very successful. Everything we tried seemed to only encourage her. Lemon juice? She loves the stuff. Cesar’s claw hand? More please. A firm No? That apparently means “lunge at me with your mouth open.” Sigh.
So after some more research, we decided that I wasn’t doing the Ouch! method well, and we switched back to that. I know you’re supposed to be consistent, but Scout hasn’t been responding, so we need to find something that works. What I hadn’t been doing, previously, was getting up and leaving after Scout bit me. I would yell “ouch!” or “ow!” but then I wouldn’t get up. Also, I needed more volume to my “ow.” So, last night each time she bit me (not mouthed–there’s a difference. Right now we want to curb her biting. We’ll get to mouthing after conquering this), I would yelp super loudly and then immediately get up and walk away. When I came back a minute or two later, she would play with me, but we saw some improvement with how she handled me. Fingers crossed that this technique can nip this from now on (no pun intended).