Sunday, September 19, 2010

Oh yeah. I forgot.

Kuna came with us to Panera Bread this weekend. While we were sitting outside enjoying our lunch, I gave Kuna a chewy bone to occupy him. He was behaving very well...and then it was time to leave. We were packing things up when I went for his bone. I got a protective growl and a snark!

Snark (noun) - not necessarily a snap, but definitely the dog voicing disagreement

I couldn't believe it! I was truly upset - at myself! 

Thinking back to the last three months, I've always kept Kuna separate from the other dogs when eating bones. I've allowed him to finish them in his kennel and never once have I tried to take them away. I just...forgot. I've taken his food away and he's obliged. I've taken toys away and he's allowed it. But I forgot to take away the highest value thingie out there in doggy land: the bone!

When he growled and put his body over his bone to keep me from it, I didn't push the issue. I didn't yell. I didn't snap back at him. Thankfully, I had very high-value treats on me and scattered them around on the floor for him to eat. When I reached for the bone, I clicked and treated him before he had a chance to guard it again. Why? Because he didn't growl and snap again. And ultimately, that's what I'm going for.

All the socialization and training Kuna's getting and I forgot very important curriculum: let me take things from you and I will reward you.

We've got some work to do, this is not acceptable behavior. Rather than get mad at Kuna for being protective over his bone, we're going to work on teaching him that giving that bone up is actually more rewarding!



  1. Excellent point! And how gratifying to see one of my fellow humans take responsibility for their share of the problem. Makes me right proud of my species...for a change :-)

  2. Oh Deborah, you should have seen the "uh-oh" look on my face! His training flashed before my eyes and not once did it show me working on this behavior with him! *eye roll* How can I blame him? Try and see what *I* would do if someone tried to take away my warm-melted-strawberries-on-top-of-vanilla-ice-cream dessert - mmmmm!! They'd lose a hand, that's for sure! ;)