Monday, May 16, 2011

LGD: Rewards and Distractions

I realize it's been a while since I've posted about our Livestock Guardian Puppies.

They have been growing like crazy, getting their big girl teeth and have graduated to big girl collars.  It's interesting to remember that when they first came to live with us, they could walk under The Alpaca Dog without crouching.  Now they are nearly as big as he is.

Since we like having well behaved dogs and we knew our girls would quickly grow from cute fuzzy puppies into big dogs, we have been training them with a simple system of rewards and distractions from the beginning.
  • When they do something we like or something we ask them to do, they are swiftly rewarded.
  • When they are doing something we don't want them to do, we distract them with something we prefer they do or play with.
  • We reserve the word "No" for very few situations.
Our theory is, that if you're always using the word "No" then it has no meaning when you really need it.

So when they come when called or they pee/poop where they are supposed to, they get a treat or we make a big deal about how good they are.  When they are chewing on a tree or flower pot we distract them with a toy or carrot.  But when they are digging or chasing the alpacas we give them a loud NO! Then give them a toy to play with.  Personally, I think the same method works with people. ;-)

The puppies have been spending a lot more time with the alpacas recently too.  We have been leaving them in the corrals for extended periods of time.  Which has given them the opportunity to protect the alpacas when a neighbor's dog got loose and came over for a visit.  They did a great job!


Voie de Vie said...

I, too, think that method works with many people - but not with those that understand the method. Then it's just annoying, because the person just feels like you're merely trying to train them. :)

Vivian said...

I learned everything I know about bringing up small ones from our dogs ;-) Trinket and Bucky were our "test children", and when we survived their puppyhood, we figured we could deal with a human child!

Kathryn Ray said...

@Vivian - LOL!