Got another crazy Huxley story for ya today…even though as I type he is napping on the loveseat, as calm and quiet as can be. He’s actually been really chill today, even jumped in bed with me this morning after Chris went to work and layed quietly until I was ready to get up.
If only that were the case all the time.
With Chris’ family back in Texas (along with their dogs) and a new nephew in our lives, we really feel like it is an important time to teach Huxley a few more manners. Plus, I would occasionally like to have friends over to our house every once in a while…and I would like for my sweet little puppy to act like a sweet little puppy.
Somehow Huxley’s behavior has even crossed over into our talks for a future family (Chris is afraid Huxley will act like a deranged maniac around our future children…because that’s basically how he acts around our niece and other children he meets. It’s a friendly maniac, he just wants to play with them, but maniac isn’t a good look on anyone…so it’s gotta go.)
So all this led to a conversation about what our expectations are for his behavior, which I kept track of in a word document. Then I dug out all our dog training books (remember, Positive Training for Idiots? That’s the one…) and wrote down what exercises I can do with him to work on each skill.
It was then that it hit me.
I was writing a BIP for my dog.
For those of you not familiar with education lingo, a “BIP” is a behavior intervention plan. Students who struggle with focusing, disruptive behavior, completing their work, etc. can benefit from having a specific, individualized plan to help improve their behavior.
And I wrote one for my dog.
Has this gone too far?
Right or wrong, crazy or good-thinking, it is what it is. So here are the first behaviors we’re going to be working on with the Hux-meister.
1) Come when he’s called
We’ve obviously been working on this one for a year now, but our trainer said this is the skill that takes the longest to see on a consistent basis. Huxley has gotten much better (for a while he would run from us) but he still has quite a few moments where we call him and then can see him thinking about whether or not he wants to obey. He’s too smart for his own good, I’m tellin’ ya.
Where is the puppy equivalent to the James Dobson book “The Strong Willed Child”? That’s what we really need!
2) Control his barking
When he wants to be, my dog can be very loud. And very persistent. Like bark outside my window for an hour until I finally go get him persistent. I heard somewhere that dogs usually communicate with their tails, and that dogs with short tails (aka – Huxley, with his little knub) will be much more vocal with their bark than dogs with long tails. I’ve never tested that theory, but it sounds true to me.
I’m not exactly sure about how to get him to cut back on this particular not-so-bueno behavior, but I’ve got a few ideas. Like most of my ideas, it involved large amounts of bacon.
3) Sit calmly when encountering people
This is the big one, and it crosses over into so many areas. When people enter our home, when we meet someone on a walk, when we visit our families…he needs to chill it out initially. He’s a typical dog…he likes to jump up on people, bark a lot, struggle against the leash, nip at heels, etc. It’s just a little overwhelming…
A lot of people tell me not to worry about it, or that they don’t mind…but I worry about it, and I do mind. I personally am not a big dog person (Seriously. I pretty much only like my dog.) and I don’t particularly like it when people’s dogs are all up on me. But, to keep from being rude, I always end up saying “Oh don’t worry about it, I don’t mind!”
See where I’m going with this?
People will say they don’t mind your dog acting like a hyper fool, but in reality, they do. So I’m hoping to work with my little guy so that he doesn’t give anyone reason to lie about liking him. 😉
4) Reinforce other learned skills
He’s already pretty good at other skills…unless he’s in a mood and doesn’t want to do anything I say. He can respond appropriately to “sit” / “down” / “wait” / “drop it” / “leave it” and I’m working with him on “settle.” He’ll let me clip his toenails, I can bathe him without making a total mess of the bathroom, he is totally housetrained (unless other dogs are in the house…and then he marks like crazy), and he sleeps quietly in his little area.
All that said…he’s a good little puppy, just not perfect. We’ll keep working on it. 🙂
So yes, I wrote a BIP for my dog. Does that make me crazy?
KEEP CALM & TEACH YOUR DOG SOME MANNERS!