NORMAN! Part 4

So finishing up (for now) from NORMAN! Part 3, I’m going to talk today about some of the issues I’ve dealt with (or am still dealing with) in terms of training not only NORMAN but also in working with the two of them.  As I mentioned on Tuesday, dealing with a two dog household was pretty much more than a doubling of effort in terms of training because I had to deal not only with them individually but in terms of their various interactions.

Unfortunately, most of what I had learned at the shelter had left me unprepared for this since we don’t do a lot of dog interaction stuff outside of very controlled playgroups (and I’m only now qualified to be involved in those).  So basically I was making it up as I went along, asking friends with dog experience, and doing a whole lot of Googling.  Many of the higher level BRATTs at the Austin Humane Shelter also have multiple dog households so I picked their brains constantly as well.

I’d note as I go through some of what I did and what happened that you should be able to pick out clear examples of the types of positive reinforcement and negative punishment (along with ignoring behaviors and the occasional use of positive punishment) that I discussed in such irritating detail in Because We Let Them.  Put differently, there are going to be some suggestions for dog training throughout this article if you pay attention.  Or you can ignore the dense blocks of text and just  focus on the dog pictures.

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Puppy Loud, So Freaking Loud

In the year I’ve had him ALFIE! has been distinctly non-vocal.  I’ve heard maybe 10 barks total (and several of those are recently), he’ll whine when he really has to poo and yelp from time to time.  Which is just fine with me; there are plenty of chronically barky dogs in the neighborhood (my neighbors has given me several 4am wake up calls) and I didn’t need one in my life.

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