Saturday, July 11, 2009

Such a Good Good Boy!

I'm so proud of one-year-old puppy Tuc (shown here at left waiting to be towel-dried by DH)!

He went to the people-park today with Don and I, his first time btw, and he did wonderfully.

Just him. None of the other canine kids. Tuc alone. The Tuc-meister got to have "Mom" and "Dad" all to himself...well...Mom and Dad and everyone else in the people-park, all of whom were Potential New Best Friends (PNBFs).

And therein likes the problem. Or what we expected to be a problem.

You see, Tuc has an Exuberant-Greeting Challenge (we'll call it EGC for short). He gets so excited when he meets someone (anyone) that his EGC kicks in, he can't contain himself (puppy-lack of self-restraint), and he bounds forward with leaping and licking and letting said PNBFs know they're abundantly loved.

We've been working on Tuc's EGC at home, but we had not yet tried him out in public.

So at the people park this morning, walking the cinder trails with Tuc on lead, we fully expected to run into other human types (that was the plan, man!). Since we didn't know what to expect, we prepared for a Marley-and-Me worst.

As we rounded the trail's first bend, Tuc alerted to the approach of his first PNBF, and we braced while he attempted his first lunge. DH, with lead shortened and firmly in hand, commanded Tuc to "sit" while I pulled out the treat pouch.

Ahhhhhhhh. Charlie Bear Treats.

Did I mention Tuc is highly food motivated?

Who cares about PNBFs when Charlie Bears dangle tantalizingly-snout-tip-close in Mom's fingertips?

Anyway, Don held Tuc in a sit while I held a Charlie Bear at Tuc's nose, making him "wait" for his treat (the canine kids are never allowed to take treats from our hands until we give the "okay" command).

Oh, yes, Tuc occasionally glanced at his first PNBF as she approached, passed us, and continued on her way. But once Mr. Charlie Bear appeared, he never broke his sit and didn't try to lunge again.

Phew. Tuc's first public PNBF made it past Tuc unslobbered.

A miracle.

Repeat this scenario for the next two PNBFs encountered.

After that, Tuc didn't even care about PNBFs. Over the next two miles, not only did he never even attempt to jump or lunge or pull in a PNBF's direction, he also started anticipating sitting and waiting for his Charlie Bear while the rest of his PNBFs walked past.

Such a smart, eager-to-please, loves-his-Charlie-Bears boy! :D

And what a relief for us! Reigning Tuc in in public was far easier than both DH and I anticipated. This was, however, only round one.

Our plan is work Tuc until he won't need treats to mind us and contain himself. That may be a long time coming though (hehe). All in due time.

In the meantime, we'll keep plenty of Charlie Bears around the house and an extra pouch of them in the car at all times for good measure.

'Til next time,


Cindy Del Vecchio said...

What a good boy! Just out of curiosity, did he pass any other dogs or just people? Snoopi is out of control when another dog is around; I'll have to get a treat pouch.

Cheryl said...

Awww! Tuc is a good boy!! I'll be his PNBF anytime. Don't worry, I don't mind the slobber, but only if you give him the go ahead.

Sarah said...

How wonderful to have a dog that is food motivated when training him out of 'EGC' as you put it.
Our 70 lb lab mix is much more people motivated than food motivated - treats don't stand a chance against a PNBF. :)

JackDaddy said...

Tuc sounds a lot like Jack - it may be in their genes! However, Jack is still working on his 'greeting'. But he's getting better!