One of the really tough things about living with special needs and reactive dogs, is that they are very emotional and often lack impulse control. Rugby seems to latch onto a new reactivity with something at home in a nanosecond. Coffee maker, washing machine, garbage disposer….just to name a few! We worked through the coffeemaker reactive barking and jumping at the counter to get that evil appliance, and just as quickly as that was put to bed, he decided that the garbage disposer has to go!
It’s always something with Rugby.
We are always in a state of working through some reactive behavior at my house, and I’ve learned that over the years, Barney Fife really had it right: “You’ve got to NIP IT IN THE BUD!”
As a dog trainer, in general, I’m all for bud nipping. Things are much easier to correct when they first start, instead of months or years later when the dog has a firmly established habit with a given naughty behavior.
This is definitely very true for a dog like Rugby James! All it takes is one time for him to melt down over something, and he’s got it locked away in his tiny little brain that he should over-react every time said noise or stimulus presents itself.
*sigh* but more correctly, *SIGH* in giant letters too big to fit on my computer screen!
It often takes weeks and even months to work through something if we don’t bud nip with him. The coffeemaker took three months of clicking and treating every. single. time. he. heard. coffee. brew. the. entire. time. that. it. brewed.
That one was an UGH rather than a *sigh* because we do love some coffee at our house, and so he had multiple barking, reactive explosions on a daily basis!
It’s just hard to imagine that this innocent, adorable face can belong to a leaping barking frenzied dog when the right sight or sound comes along. Sadly, however, it’s completely true. I wouldn’t kid you about this.
I honestly think at moments like that…when he morphs into that crazy reactive dog, this is more like what HE thinks he looks like, because after all, I really think he wants to get the last laugh!
Just take my word for it: When your dog is producing any behavior that you don’t like, puhleeze don’t wait to get it fixed!! Remember the wisdom of Barney Fife, and be a bud nipper! You’ll be glad you did!!