Blogs by Diana L. Guerrero
Puppies are a pain...
1/14/2004 8:29:59 AM
Sleepless nights, cold potty breaks, and more.
"Remind me again why I love working with animals!" I lamented to my pal on the phone. My bloodshot eyes and rotten mood were testimony to the fact that Kashmir, the Afghan puppy, prevented sleep. I am currently onsite at a client's home filled with animals. They are away on business. I have known them for ages--otherwise I would have never accepted the task.
Some people let the animals dictate their every move and so it is a tremendous effort to correct, but it only requires consistency and reinforcement of desired behavior. The animals? They are fine, but are conditioned to boss humans in the direction they want.
Despite owner claims of good behavior, I found those promises to be fallacy. So, at 3am I decided to confine the spoiled pup in another room and turned on the satallite soundscapes to drown out the complaints. Then, just as I was ready to doze, the cats arrived at the door yowling that they wanted to eat--at 5am.
Fortunately, I circumvented the parrot choir in the am by making sure all the animals were fed and cleaned early. The owner reports that one of the bird shrieks incessantly, but I have not found that to be the case.
The household is a good example of what happens when people unwittingly train animals to behave badly. The bird shrieks for ages and then is finally reinforced for behaving poorly by getting vegetables. The owner swears he shrieks because that is what he wants...but that is only part of it. The bird is reinforced for the poor behavior and so it escalates. The bird has trained the owner. So have the other animals.
I remember one cat owner swearing that the cat would not eat unless the owner stroked it. In contrast to what he said, the cat was pretty plump and ate when the owner was not home. Animal behaviorists see a lot of interesting cases and it always amazes me when people complain about the modification process. The one that made me shake my head in disbelief was the rottweiler that bit everyone in the household. When I asked the last time it happened, the owner showed me his hand with two punctures holes through it...then argued with me over the program and the 100% compliance rule. Go figure. In the end, the cat was fine. The rottweiler did cease biting the family, too.
Anyway, I am better today since I had a good nights sleep last night. I hope to get some other work done today. The pup has learned to stay within the puppy pen without much protest and is taking all naps in the crate willingly. I am glad that this has become a non-issue within 24 hours. However, I hate the potty training in the early morning and late nights when the ice on the grass crunches under my feet--the pup hates it, too!
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