Our office has recently welcomed a new addition to the team of office dogs: Miss Biggie Smalls.
Adopted from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Biggie picked up some bad habits in her first home. Kat is trying to teach Miss Biggie to not jump up at people when greeting them or when trying to get their attention.
Case Study 3: Jumping Up and Seeking Attention
Scenario: Biggie often tries to get Kat’s attention by jumping up at her. Many of us will agree that our favourite thing to come home to after a long day of work is our dog jumping up to greet us. It might be cute when they’re puppies, but when a doberman reaches his/her full size, it’s not so fun to be flattened.
Incorrect Training: An owner will often pander to their dog’s attention seeking due to its adorable ways. We understand, it’s so hard to resist. Biggie’s previous owner may have talked to her or given her belly rubs in response to her jumping up and asking for attention. Rewarding Biggie in this way reinforced her behaviour as desirable.
Correct Training: Kat must not give Biggie attention every time she asks for it. ‘Attention’ can include giving eye contact, verbal cues and physical rewards. Only giving attention on Kat’s terms, not Biggie’s, is a great way of improving obedience. When Biggie is calm and not seeking the attention herself she will learn that Kat is in charge. If she behaves how Kat wants her to, it will bring more rewards. Kat should wait until Biggie is calm to give a command such as “sit”, then offer a reward on her terms, not Biggie’s.
Following this training Biggie is realising that the way to greet people is in a calm and relaxed manner. The whole office is enjoying her transition from Yorkshire Terror to true Yorkshire Terrier.