By Dr. Sophia Yin
When I originally developed the Treat&Train®, the idea was to help the regular pet owner train as successfully as a professional. Not just for the original use of training dogs to lie down when visitors come to the door, but to adapt the protocol to their own uses. Here’s the story of two such civilians who have done just that.
Katie Kelly enlists the help of her neighbors to use the Treat&Train to help counter-condition her dog. Dog has a blast.
In this story, Katie Kelly explains how she trained her dog, Minnie, to be comfortable and calm around Apartment Noises which had previously frightened her. Her full description was originally published in the Paws Abilities blog.
I have used the Treat&Train with my dog, Minnie, to help with our recent moving situation. Previously, we have always had the luxury of private life in a house setting. However, recently we had to move into an apartment, which was an entirely different atmosphere for Minnie. This new setting created anxieties for Minnie that she never had to experience before: door banging, knocking, stomping feet, conversation in the hallways. Through video surveillance I was able to see that Minnie was an anxious mess when I was gone, barking incessantly without the ability to calm herself. I tried in every possible way I could think of to keep her busy, as well as to keep her feeling secure and calm at times where I'd be absent. While wonderful aids, the tools I used just didn't suffice. Taking her to daycare was out of the question because she is fearful of other dogs and the stress of that would most likely carry over to our home environment and make things worse.
I decided to shoot around for ideas. An idol of mine, who has an incredible amount of knowledge in canine behavior, was very helpful. She had mentioned everything above, and when I told her I had exhausted those efforts, she recommended the Treat&Train. What a genius idea! I created a colorful note outside my door that let my neighbors know that I was working on Minnie’s issues and also invited them to be a part of the solution! This let them know that I wasn't insensitive to the pleasant atmosphere that had been established, but it also excited them to help shape Minnie's behavior.
“Feed the Minnie,” it was like a game! Alongside the note, I taped the remote control that directly dispensed the treats from the Treat&Train. Inside my apartment, on a table next to the door, was the almighty, praise-worthy, treat dispenser (as Minnie saw it). While I was at home, I could see people were already willing to send Minnie magical treats. They’d walk by (with the associated stomping, talking, and slamming doors) and press the button on the remote taped outside my door. The machine would beep letting Minnie know that treats were on the way, before dispensing them before her very eyes! This machine allowed me to go to school, and while at home, Minnie could be counter conditioned by others who made those scary noises outside the door!
I had to laugh because there were times where I’d check the video camera and watch her progress when I’d get home from school. Many used the remote, but there were also instances where people walked by without using it, and to my surprise Minnie still wiggled her way over to the door expecting goodies. Those loud scary noises finally started to predict good things, and she no longer felt the need to bark. Finally, Minnie was truly able to relax and feel comfortable in her new home.
Lori Grant, one our facebook fans, uses the Treat&Train® to keep her dog calm when repairmen come to service her fireplace.
I used the Treat&Train when two men came to service my fireplace. I had it set up before they came. My dog, Desi, normally would have done backflips at the excitement of visitors. I think she gets over excited and that's why she jumps on people and barks a lot. But with the Treat&Train, and you will see this in the video, she would not even look up at the two men. They even tried to engage her but I had to just tell them she was busy. I had to pick up the Treat&Train and put it away before I could get her to say “Hi” to them. They were amazed at how well this worked and they were wishing some of the other homes they serviced had a Treat&Train.