Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pet Projects - The Vacuum Vigilante Revisited

It has been almost a month since I have been working with my 11-year shiba inu on her vacuum issues.

Last month we used interactive dog toys and training to teach her alternative behaviors to attacking the vacuum cleaner. If you missed this blog, you can follow this link to see how we trained her:

In addition to the training shown in these videos, I also used the clicker to reward her for non-reactive behavior. So after a few weeks, I rewarded her whenever the vacuum was running and she either stayed on her bed without me asking or she simply did not react to the vacuum.

Let's see how she is doing so far:

In the video you can see there is still a little temptation to go for the vacuum, but she is much more relaxed and less reactive. So a little more work will help her become more reliable and consistent in her response to the vacuum.

So, for an 11-year old dog with a life-long history of reactivity towards the vacuum, she has come around quite nicely. Being a clicker-trained dog also helps with behavior modification. She is flexible and quick to figure out what behaviors elicit rewards.