My cat Charlie is fascinated by dogs. When he met Ardbeg for the first time, he was so terrified we hardly saw him for two days. But then, he was very young and inexperienced. He quickly learnt that Ardbeg was scared of him more. This knowledge was priceless. He has been the Dog Master since.
Charlie also missed Ardbeg most. He slept in ‘Ardbeg’s spot’ for six weeks, he followed me and Lily on our walks looking for his dog, he sniffed at Ardbeg’s harnesses and toys.
He was happy when we got Brian. But, this silly little chap needed training. He was just too bouncy and he didn’t have any idea of personal space.
So, for five weeks now I’ve been watching Charlie training his dog. I’m impressed, I don’t think I’ve seen many people doing the job that well. When Brian gets too excited Charlie stops all interaction and just walks away ignoring the overly enthusiastic dog. He comes back when all the whining and attempts to encourage him to come down and play stop.
Charlie could, of course, use his claws. But he wants a playmate and a friend, not a dog who is just scared of him. The results are exceptionally good: Brian is careful with Charlie, watches his body language and tries to copy him (shoulder rubbing). Reluctantly, he stopped jumping into the cats beds when the cats are there. He’s learnt how to be more patient and more considerate with them.
So, by persistently rewarding Brian’s good behaviour and withdrawing the reward when the behaviour was not desirable, Charlie’s trained Brian to be an ideal dog for him. Easy, isn’t it?