Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuesday Training 41

I've had this post scheduled for a few days now.  I was going to scrap it in favor of a post about the snow storm, but the snow will be around for so long that I think it's OK if I wait to post about it.

We've had some visitors, lately, and Marge did well with all of them.

Last week, my good friend B stopped by for a quick visit.  Despite an initial grumbly display by Marge, heard from behind the basement door that confined her, she settled down quickly and accepted lots of pats and praise.  B interacts with her in a way that doesn't scare her, which makes his visits enjoyable for all of us.

On Christmas Eve Eve (yes, that's intentional), my mom's good friend stopped by to deliver some homemade quiche to her.  Marge was initially sent outside since she reacts so strongly when someone goes through the door, but when she came back in, she did a quick sniff of the friend (with hackles raised), then did a whole-body shake and acted completely normal.  She even showed off her up-and-coming trick, a directed "fetch" that I hope to put to good use to obtain her APDT Rally Level 3 title.

That same evening, Marge's wee friend, Nappy the Chihuahua, stopped by outside our house with his owner to deliver Marge a gift.  It was adorable - Nappy had a big stocking attached to his leash and dragged the presents over to Marge, like a tiny Santa Claus.  Marge was totally unfazed by his arrival and interacted with his momma, too.  Over all, she wanted to go inside, since it was so COLD, but it was nice for her to respond so favorably to their presence.

Lastly, in the wake of the giant snowstorm we've just experienced, our elderly neighbor stopped in to pay me and my sister for shoveling out her front door.  Again, Marge was in the basement while Lily came through the door, and then came upstairs with me.  She was more than happy to accept the treats and pats that came from her.

I'm still wrestling with how to tackle the door issue.  If I'm there and someone comes in, she tends to rush the door growling (which is just a display because then she starts sniffing, but I can understand why some people wouldn't like it).  If I'm NOT there, she tends to stand back, growl once or twice, and not really approach the person (this situation seldom comes up, though).  Right now, I usually send her outside or down the basement to allow the person to come in and then invite Marge back up slightly thereafter.  Sometimes, I let her stay in the kitchen and feed her treats while the person comes in the door, but she tends to get more freaked in that scenario than when I simply send her out.

Despite her imperfections, I think all of this is proof of the success she's made in dealing with people.  She's far from perfect, but also far from where she started!


Natasha December 28, 2010 at 9:25 AM  

Wow, sounds like Marge is making some GREAT progress! You're doing such a good job with her. Woohoo!

Deborah December 28, 2010 at 10:20 AM  

Yeah Marge...She is making great strides! YEAH!!!!!
I'm working on Smokes or trying too. He just won't stop barking...all day long when anyone is trying to do something....like the phone, eating, watching tv..He just wants to be in the thick of things! LOL

Kari in Alaska December 28, 2010 at 10:52 AM  

It sounds like she is making huge strides


Sierra Rose December 28, 2010 at 11:06 AM  

Hi there!! Sounds like overall things went great with Marge meeting new folks!!! Sierra barks but does not rush a door when someone rings. I have a secured leash right at the door to hook her quickly so she can't reach the person. Seems to work ok.
The new camera is a LUMIX FH20. Compact with lots of super neat features. My husband is a pet product developer, and they use this small camera to produce some of their in-house work. He has been quite pleased with it. It's high resolution. Check it out! :)

Happy New Year,
Kristin & Sierra Rose

kissa-bull December 28, 2010 at 11:22 AM  

go marge!!! please do enjoy the white fluff for us

pibble sugars
the pittie pack

Kathy Mocharnuk December 28, 2010 at 11:44 AM  

you know I remember where Marge was at when I was first reading your log, and reading how Marge is handling visitors now.......WOW, that is just sooo huge, you should be so proud of all the work you have done and Marge has to feel so much more comfortable in life and so much more confident, what a lucky dog to be part of a team with someone who has been so committed to making her so much more comfortable in life. What about coming up with some type of behavior that is incompatable with reacting at the door.....like a person coming in the door is THE CUE to run to her crate or run to the crate and close the door, or to run to a mat and lay down, or go ring a bell, but I sort of like the idea of running to the crate if I was doing that for my dogs....a mat might be nice if it helps her to watch the person, the mat could be in the corner of the room where the visitors walk in...but just some behavior that gives her something to do and a job rather then if she thinks her job is to protect the home and react to the visitors, and it gives her practice reacting to visitors in another way then she is used to. Anyway, just an idea, but it sounds like sending her outside and then letting her come in is working pretty nicely too.

Sue December 28, 2010 at 12:12 PM  

The door is always a tough situation. From the dog's point of view that's where strangers invade her personal space. My dogs bark at the door, then try to lick the person coming in. They assume the visitor is there to see them.

You've made a lot of progress. Go back and read some of your early posts.

Kristine December 28, 2010 at 2:08 PM  

You and Marge have come so far. You should definitely be proud. This is just another challenge, like all the others you have already conquered.

My dog Shiva still has door territorial issues. She is not a fan of strangers in or around her home. She won't do anything but bark but her bark is loud and scary for those that don't understand her. If the door even rattles in the wind she is up and barking. It's irritating at best. But it's one of those things I haven't taken time to work on. A commenter above suggested turning it into a game. Making a noise at the door, the cue to run to her mat. I've worked on that a little bit and I think it's our best bet. Really, I just need to sit with her at the door and wait for people/dogs to walk by with treats in my hand, rewarding calm behaviour. Get back to the basics.

Anyway, congratulations on all you have achieved! And thanks for the reminder to get my butt in gear.

Amy / Layla the Malamute December 28, 2010 at 2:35 PM  

Wow, she handled the visitors really nicely! If she felt relaxed enough to show off a new trick, that's fantastic.

I love how Nappy dragged over her Christmas presents. That sounds adorable.

I don't really have any advice for the door situation. Someone at class said that what worked for them was, she kept a small jar of dog treats outside the front door. Every person would be told of what to do before they came, of course. But every person came to the door, took a treat in their hand, and when the door opened they would throw it at an angle away from both them and the dog. So if Marge was directly in front of the door, the visitor would throw it off to the side (at 3 o'clock or something). So the dog wouldn't view it as a confrontation but would associate the guest with having treats, and it would break their thought process just enough.

Two French Bulldogs December 28, 2010 at 3:43 PM  

Good job Marge. Doesn't momma know you were being good cause Sandy Paws was watching, BOL. Love that snow
Benny & Lily

Gus, Louie and Callie December 28, 2010 at 3:58 PM  

Oh Marge you are doing so good...

Big Sloppy Kisses,
Gus, Louie and Callie

LauraK December 28, 2010 at 4:44 PM  

Sounds like she's made great progress! Hope you all are surviving all of the crazy snow- I think you've stolen ours- it's been sunny and warm out here all of December! Looking forward to hearing about Marge's snow adventures :)

Cyndi and Stumpy December 28, 2010 at 6:05 PM  

Marge! you've come a looooooong way, Baby!

She really is amazing, Sam! As are you!

Kim December 28, 2010 at 7:46 PM  

Congrats on the huge strides you've made with Marge!

I've used people coming to the door as the cue for my dogs to leave the room...no crossing the threshhold til I release them. I don't allow my dogs to greet people until the people are inside and ready to be greeted. Sometimes if treats are needed they can then have them in hand ready to greet the dog(s) once I release them. This way the dogs can watch my reaction to the person...happy greetings, cheery voices, etc., so they know the person is okay with me...and gives the dogs time to recognize the person if they've met them before. I also needed my eldest dog to know that *I* am in charge of who comes into the house, not her. It's helped :)

Diana December 28, 2010 at 8:04 PM  

Its sounds like Marge is doing really, really well. Thats so wonderful! Diana

Lorenza December 28, 2010 at 9:29 PM  

Glad to know Marge is improving day by day!
Happy Holidays!
Kisses and hugs

Muttsandaklutz December 28, 2010 at 10:39 PM  

The internet is a fun place -- the first thing I thought of when hearing the news reports of that big storm was you and Marge and how much fun she'd have romping through all that fresh white stuff!

"Despite her imperfections, I think all of this is proof of the success she's made in dealing with people. She's far from perfect, but also far from where she started!" -- so beautifully said!

NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! December 29, 2010 at 12:39 AM  

So much progress!!!

Thanks for sharing it!

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart December 29, 2010 at 10:43 AM  

Since I'm mostly "off" for the holiday, I haven't been watching much news or anything. I cannot tell much about the storm from FB posts and such, but I had to laugh that it sounds like you guys had a hopping visitor schedule nonetheless.

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