Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 7 -- Happy Thanksgiving!

All our practice paid off! Atticus did great at Thanksgiving. No jumping, no mouthing...just very polite behavior.

Holidays can be a real challenge for dogs. There are a lot of new people around, which is very exciting. And LOTS of good food smells. Atticus did very well even though I know he would have loved to give in to some of his urges. He got a lot of pets and praise from everyone when he was behaving so well. This helps reinforce that behavior. And he'll get an occasional treat when he's doing something so spectacular like leaving the pumpkin pie alone on the counter.
He met some new dog friends today as well. He was very good with them and easily redirected if he started barking. Sometimes he does the barking in play and other times when he wants something. Either way he's easily redirected and is learning when he pays attention to the human it pays off much better than barking at a dog.

If I couldn't directly watch him, I put him in his crate with a stuffed Kong. This works well for a few reasons. First, dogs need breaks when there is a lot of activity going on. Especially at his age, it's too much to ask for him to be around a lot of new things for long periods of time. Secondly, if I can't watch him, he could get reinforced for bad behavior (i.e stealing someone's pumpkin pie would be reinforcing because, yum, pie is good). Lastly, it is good for Atticus to learn to relax in his kennel when there is a lot of activity going on. There are times when you can't or shouldn't have a dog out loose so you want them to be comfortable and quiet resting in their crate even if fun things are happening around them. And Atticus did this very well...especially if I gave him a sweet potato chew.

And the best thing he did on Thanksgiving was look cute! Everyone just adored him....


  1. Happy Thanksgiving Heather! We are thankful for all of the work you and Atticus have been doing and for you taking such good care of our little (not so little) pup. We are also grateful for the blog. It's been awesome to keep up with what you guys have been working on and it gives me time to study up so I can keep things going once we get home. We hope your Thanksgiving was a good one.

  2. He has been such a joy to work with! I'm having a great time with him!! Hope your trip is going well.