One of my projects for the summer – along with perfecting the handstand and finding a place in town that sells orange slushies – is teaching Shiva not to bark when dogs pass by the front of our house.
She is drawn like a magnet to the front door when we leave it open. She just can’t resist the lure of looking outside. The Cat is much the same. Unfortunately, even on the warmest days, we’ve had to keep it closed. Shiva just gets much too excited when people pass by with their dogs. She also has a very loud bark. Her reputation is bad enough as it is! We can’t let her practice such a negative and self-rewarding behaviour. The only way to stop her is to make sure the door is firmly shut.
It’s a very lazy way of training, I admit. In fact, it’s not training at all, because that implies learning. By keeping the door closed we are not teaching her how to relax when dogs walk by, we are just managing her vociferous barking.
A wise dog trainer once said, “irritation is motivation.” Up until now, I guess I just wasn’t bothered enough by the situation to work on fixing it. Now that we’ve only had about three days of sunshine all spring, I am desperate for as much light as I can get. No longer does keeping the door shut seem like an ideal solution.
I think we’re all going to be a lot happier once I finally do something about this gaping hole in our training. Maybe it will even make her friendlier towards the pizza guy. One can dream…