Sunday, February 19, 2012

Teaching Roxy to "Let Go"

I have talked in previous posts about one of Roxy's behavioral issues; resource guarding. I have found one of the most important parts of rehabilitating this behavior in Roxy is teaching the
"let go" command. This command can also be verbalized as "release", "drop it" or "out" and many other variations, I'm sure. Thomas used "let go" with Guinness, and to keep things uniform with both dogs, we use "let go" with Roxy too.

One of the things I do with Roxy to eliminate resource guarding behavior is show her that
I am in control of the "resource". Whether it's a raw-hide, toy, or bone, I show physical control over it using calm assertive energy. I hold one end of the resource, and I allow her to gnaw on the other end. This is me showing that I can share the resource, but I also remind her that she has to give it back when I say so by giving her the "let go" command.  When she let's go, I will hold on to the resource for as long as I see fit. When she settles into a submissive state (lying down or sitting calmly), I will give it back by saying "here you go" or "get the toy". When she sits or lays down, she is communicating her understanding that I am in control of the resource. When I give the resource back, I still hold on to my end... and when I do this I am rewarding the calm submissive state that she is showing me.

My goal in all of this is to reward calm-submissive energy when there is a resource involved. Below is a video of Roxy "letting go".

I'd like to remind everyone that this is not professional advice. This is what I have found to work with my dog whom I know very well. You should always see a professional who specializes in resource guarding before implementing training like this.

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