Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Skateboard: Fozzie's Next Frontier

After 3 years of persistent work with treats and all sorts of techniques for working with reactive dogs, Fozzie has been slowly making discernible progress with staying calm in the presence of other dogs.

When we see other dogs on trails or neighborhood walks, where once Fozzie would have lunged, barked, and trembled at first sight, now he can sometimes keep himself together. He can accept treats and refrain from barking as long as the dog is at a reasonable distance, isn't also reacting, and isn't a large, pointy eared dog like an Akita or a Malamute.

He still trembles and gets very excited, and if we don't have time to prepare and a dog appears near us suddenly, Fozzie still puts on quite the display--so we still have work to do on Fozzie's responses to other dogs.

With skateboards, I'm afraid we have even more work to do. For some reason the combination of the sound and the sight of a person, upright and looking like a person in most ways, but moving in a way that is so unbelievably strange, is too much for our poor boy. 

So we are trying to set up practice opportunities for skateboard reactivity too. 

Fortunately, Florian enjoys the opportunity to get on a skateboard in front of our house and zoom around while I give Fozzie high-value treats.

Still, even when Florian pets him beforehand, gets on the skateboard in front of him, and then skates off slowly, Fozzie still barks and lunges, and snatches the treats with none of his customary gentleness.  

It's funny, because Fozzie can stand on the skateboard himself and even move with it a bit, but once someone else is on it he just can't keep his cool. 

I am going to try just going out on the skateboard by myself with Fozzie, moving it around just enough to make the skateboard noise and delivering organic raw salmon treats.

With enough repetition of that, I don't see how we could fail to make progress.

 Or maybe it's just time Fozzie go on doggie Prozac! 


  1. So, Florian gets to ride, Fozzie gets treats but you and Dahlia get nothin'? I think the girls are missing out! Good luck, we know that you'll have him improving even more.

  2. Good luck! Its great you are using such positive methods
    retro rover

  3. Oh you'll get there!! It takes so much time and patience but you know that. :-) Maybe he's just jealous that he's not on the skateboard. ;-)


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