A Mansfield Staffie
On Thursday I did a return visit to Mansfield, Nottinghamshire to see if the white Staffordshire Bull Terrier had calmed down.
You may remember she was very jumpy, a bit nippy and just over excited when people came around to the house. This, of course, made everyone in the house stressed and people had stopped visiting, even the family were being put off by the jumping up and the getting in your face when you sat down!
She is a persistent dog because she knows people usually give in first and her experience has proved this to be the case. If she is persistent enough she gets a reaction, which is attention so she does it more.
How do you break that cycle and prove to her she is wasting her time. You can ignore the bad behaviour and praise the good but what if the dog doesn't give in before you have reacted? You need another approach to the problem where you can intervene effectively but without giving attention.
This means being quiet when she is misbehaving and intervening non verbally and then saving your praise for when she has changed her behaviour.
How can you intervene effectively whilst not speaking?
You can make a noise, you can walk out of the room as these are consequences for her behaviour that involve the removal of the attention source which makes the behaviour counter productive and this does work.
But what happens when the dog figures you out and your departure doesn't work because she knows you will come back in and again you are in a waiting game hoping she stops before you have to give in?
This where we have to be adaptable and creative in our approach because staying ahead of a problem solving dog is a challenge and it is not about continually changing what we do, it is actually quite the opposite.
It is about not changing what we do, it is proving to the dog that no matter what they do, the outcome is the same, no reaction.
The dog is so much calmer and more able to be relaxed and is a credit to her owners for putting the hard work in and getting the results they wanted.
We have booked a follow up visit so we can work on their walking and to make sure she is still calm and well behaved.