Monday, March 8, 2010

Doggie Games: Positive, Negative Reinforcement

Blondie and Bonita would be happy to have their shampoo and rinse. They would be happy to get rid of the mange and the fungus. I would be happy to wrestle their butts into the tub, but Aceductos, the Puerto Rican water company has trouble delivering water to its customers.

Bonita has been bouncing around like a happy little puppy. During this morning's greeting ritual Bonita circled around Blondie and Stormy. Storm & Blon get all wiggling and submissive, they circle around me while I thump their sides.

Dogs do not like to be pat on the head, I agree with Dr. Temple Grandin on that. A cupped hand thumping on the rib cage relaxes the thorax muscles. It feels so good that dogs get over any initial reservations they may have about being thumped.

The two yodel, their vocalizations sound like chortling. Their heads hang low like quarter horses; tails wagging large. They circle me; they circle each other while I stand bent at the waist thumping.

Bonita with front end rearing barks, arf, arf that excited puppy bark. She charges and circles. She stops right under my hand, which warmly caresses her side. Bonita seems to take in the moment before moving away. She looks at me before returning her attention to Stormy. The rest of the ritual she stays just outside my reach.

This was the longest touch she has allowed. The rest of the morning whenever I'm out she's behind me with her tail wagging. This is the first day I've gotten happy tail without food. yiha!

MY dull eyed puppy is no more; Bonita has a look in her eye that reflects her growing confidence.

When the girls get their Benadryl, I work on Blondie's sit. She has a difficult time focusing on anything other than; I want it, I want it. Bonita from four feet behind her mother gives a perfect sit. Bonita has figured out positive reinforcement games.

Blondie has her chain of awareness/thought; getting her to focus on what I want is more difficult than Stormy or Bonita or many of the satos I've worked with, hmm why is that?

There is no way of segregating the dogs, so finally Stormy and Blondie are off. Negative reinforcement games with Bonita can begin. She is walking in my direction so I toss a treat a couple of feet behind her. She turns to face me after the treat. She does nothing. We don't have long, so I toss a treat to her rear foot, when she turns towards me this time she takes a couple of steps in my direction. Game on, score!!

Before long Bonita was crossing in front of me. Each time she came close I tossed the food away from the cause of fear, me. What a great game, Mel, thank you for suggesting it!

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