From Duke's Mom:
As a follow up to yesterday's blog about Grady, I wanted to explain a bit about why I did the things I did with him and why I thought they would work. I use different techniques with different dogs, according to what I think might be helpful.
Most times, a trainer can go with conventional thinking because most dogs are not as severely traumatized as Grady has been. He is afraid of everything and everyone. Insistent, repetitive or harsh/coercive training will only shut Grady down more. I felt that he needed a shake-up of energy.
That's not a credible, scientific way to express it but I have many tools in my training kit. And I have one very big tool that most people don't have. I live with terriers. I have lived with terriers most of my life. I know what terrier behavior is supposed to look like.
Terrier behavior is supposed to be arrogant, playful, sarcastic, selectively affectionate and, most of all reactive and curious.
So, what I intuitively felt needed to happen with Grady the other night was for me to catch him off guard and do some things that would pique his interest. He wasn't expecting to sit at the dining table and be hand fed steak as an appetizer, and he certainly wasn't expecting to be rocked and sung to (his poor ears, I am not known for my muscial ability). So he was surprised and that surprise kind of knocked him out of his learned, fearful behavior and when he saw his own dinner plate, his appetite and interest had been stimulated and he went right over to eat even though there were five strange people in the room.
That's all I did. Next time we go to see him, I am going to take a small playful jack russell terrier with me to show Grady what being a feisty terrier looks like. I'll keep you posted. I hope you'll keep your fingers crossed for us.
Mom of Hooligans