I have enjoyed working with them because they seem to understand that Lucy is stubborn, but she is capable of learning. We worked with another trainer at PetSmart who frequently dismissed her stubborness for the fact that she is a bulldog and felt we should not expect anything more from her. Trish, the trainer who came today, was confident that Lucy is capable of learning not to jump on people, but we have to be stronger than she is. Lucy is pretty strong willed. I hope we are stronger than she is.
Trish's instructions for us today were to work on a behavior called "Leave It", which basically teaches Lucy that there are things, people, treats, etc. that she cannot have and will never have. You work on it by having a plate with tempting treats on the floor and while Lucy is on leash she can't have the treats on the plate, but she gets a treat when she lays down or otherwise appears to not pay attention to the treats. The idea is that we will practice with treats for a while and then move to Sarah Graves' toys and then put Sarah Graves in front of her and teach her to "leave it".
We also have to tighten up our control over Lucy and what she has access to. This means:
Her food is left out for 15 minutes and if it is not eaten, it's picked up until her next feeding time. (She sometimes leaves a bowl of food for several days before she decides to eat it, which I guess in doggie world gives her a lot of control.)
Her toys are picked up until we are ready to play with her.
She is not allowed in Sarah Graves' room.
Lucy could usually care less about going in Sarah Graves' room, so this didn't seem like a difficult one to enforce. So we thought.
When we came home from being gone a few hours tonight, this is what we found:
We came home to find a very guilty looking doggie waiting at the top of the stairs to show us that while we were out she went in her sister's room, grabbed a tube of diaper ointment and a puzzle piece and went to town chewing. If we read her behavior correctly, she is trying to assert to us that she will not be controlled. Great...
How did I end up with a husband, baby, and dog who are all stubborn? Maybe that's the bit of myself that I see in them...
So, we have some work to do to help Lucy's behavior. We'll get there.