Thursday, October 6, 2011

Playing the victim

I've decided to stop being the victim.

There are two other dogs in the household.  Both annoy me on various levels - from how they rush past me, invade my personal space, go insane when I get home, and get underfoot in the kitchen.  They are my boyfriend's dearly beloveds.

In the household there is a clearly deliminated lines of "her" dog, "his" dog.  That doesn't mean that rules aren't enforced for all, or that I never walk his dogs if he works late etc.  BUT, it does mean when his dogs rush past me outside I can roll my eyes and complain about how uncivilized they are. 

I'm playing the victim.

Guess what - that isn't fair.  Yes, he is ultimately responsible for training his dogs, just like it is my primary responsibility to train Tess.  BUT, that doesn't make me exempt from doing any kind of reinforcement with his dogs.  

We all live in the same (very small) household and my attitude towards training (I'll train MY dog, but not YOUR dog) isn't good for anything - including being successful training Tess - because when the other dogs "push my buttons", it makes me irritable, anxious, and frustrated - which (as you might guess) doesn't put in the best mood to be patient with a rather exuberant puppy. 

My boyfriend has different training priorities than me.  If I don't want his dogs to push my buttons - then it's my responsibility to install those behaviors that matter the most to me.  To continue to complain about and be annoyed doesn't fix anything - including the future behavior of his dogs.

And, if I'm being perfectly truthful - having 2 rather large and exuberant dogs in the household has it's benefits.  Tess was remarkably well behaved and focused at Puppy Play this week, because she's used to rather large and food hungry dogs bouncing around while we are working.

As a result, there's a new strategy! A strategy based on clickers, treats, rewards, and attention.  Because heaven knows the victim strategy has produced diddly squat....

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