So much of dog training is counter-intuitive to the human brain. It takes a lot of experience to really know how to handle each challenge. Even with all I have learned, I still frequently find myself slapping my forehead when a better way is revealed. Once I am shown the right way to train something, it seems so obvious and I can never believe I didn’t think of it myself.
I had another “duh” moment last night when a friend shared a video on Facebook on how to solve counter surfing using a clicker.
Yes, stealing food is one of Shiva’s many skills. We tried to fix it using various methods but all we did was teach her to wait for us to leave the room. In fact, I think we have actually managed to make high surfaces even more fascinating than they were before! She has nabbed countless goodies from the kitchen counter, the dining room table, the desk, the end table, and probably ever other surface in our home. Not to mention all of the surfaces that aren’t in our home. If there is a table with something on it, edible or no, Shiva is immediately interested. Hence last Saturday’s dog show registration fiasco.
Massive dog training failure.
Much like our front door issues, we solved the problem by managing it. We never leave food on the counter unless we’re in the room. It’s simple but it does prevent me from multi-tasking. I can’t run downstairs to throw in a load of laundry while waiting for cupcakes to cool. Not unless I take Shiva with me.
Now that I’ve watched this video I realize how many early opportunities we had and how many I screwed up. The question is: is it possible to go back to the beginning and re-train? Or, does she already have too much value for jumping on the counter? Are we doomed to continually apologize to horrified volunteers?