Monday, December 5, 2016

From Terror to Calm: The Gift of Positive Reinforcement - Positive Pet Training Blog Hop

Hey, everyone!

This post is part of the Positive Pet Training Blog Hop, hosted by Tenacious Little Terrier and Rubicon Days. The hop happens on the first Monday of every month, and is open for a full week - please join us in spreading the word about the rewards of positive training! This month's topic is the gift of positive reinforcement training - that could be a gift you've given your dog, or a gift your dog has given you on your training journey. 

Today's post will be kinda short (sorry!), but I wanted to get this post out because it's one of my biggest training successes and it's something I feel really proud about having done. I've spoken about it a few times, but oh well!

When you know better you do better, and that's never been clearer to me than when I looked back at some old photos and saw the state Nola's nails used to be in. She used to be so terrified of having her nails handled that she'd scream bloody murder, thrash and shake if you so much as reached for her nails with clippers in hand. So I stopped, and started our journey through counterconditioning. I highly suggest Googling and YouTubing it, because it'll explain it much better than I can!

After months and months of working with her, she went from being absolutely frantic if you touched her nails, to calmly and happily standing for all four paws to be dremeled in one session. It took two years to work the length all the way back, but it was so worth it. To go from pure terror to absolutely no fear is such an incredible thing to witness, and dramatically showed the true power of positive reinforcement. It was a huge gift to both of us!


Before....






After the counterconditioning, but still working on the length




And today!















17 comments:

  1. That is an amazing difference. It is something I struggled with the whole of the girls life and only the vet could cut them.
    Luckily Cricket and Elliot are a lot better.
    Lynne x

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  2. Gau-gous!! Paint them pink
    Lily & Edward

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  3. Great story on how positive training can help your dog live a more peaceful and happy life!

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  4. Great job! Her nails look fabulous!

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  5. That's fantastic. It sometimes takes great patience and I'm glad that you had it!

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  6. That's so awesome! Pugs get crazy over someone messing with their nails.

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  7. You have such an interesting blog. Thanks for sharing. I'm a life coach blogger. Reading blogs is my hobby and I randomly found your blog. I enjoyed reading your posts. All the best for your future blogging endeavors. Please keep in touch with me in Google+, +sridharchandrasekaran Twitter @lifecoachbloger

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  8. wow, it's my dream to have bailey's nails like that. i can't keep them under control. they grow so fast, i am taking her to the groomer every 3 weeks! i've tried trimming them myself but i think my nerves made her nervous. maybe i would feel more comfortable with a dremel.
    wags, bailey unleashed

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  9. Thanks for sharing my Mom has three dachsunds and I will share with her.

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  10. Thank goodness she got her nails down to where they belong. So often we see dogs with super long nails. Many people just don't know about keeping them short. Some dogs don't like it, but you can always have a groomer do the nails if necessary. Nice post.

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  11. Oh man...counter conditioning has been a bugger for us. Ziva will let us clip one nail at a time if we use a ball for positive reinforcement. One clip = one ball toss
    We tried to get her conditioned to our dremel because her nails are so darn long, the quicks need to recede quite a bit still even with regular trims. But she HATES the dremel, she'll shake and hide as soon as we turn it on. It's been a while since we last tried. I think it's time to try again...

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  12. I was lucky. Wilson came to me already dremel trained at 14 weeks! He has never been an issue. Jimmy wasn't trained to the dremel and being noise sensitive I opted to use clippers. He used to get quite crabby when we would do his nails, but recently has relaxed if I am the one doing it, and will just lie there and let me trim them.

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  13. Wow! What a difference. Barley and I walk so much that her nails stay pretty short, but we do use a dremel sometimes in the winter when we walk less or when the sidewalks are covered in snow--she will not let me trim them with clippers, though, so when they get a little too long, the vet has to take care of that! I'm so glad the training paid off for both of you!

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  14. Nolas's nails look amazing! I'm working on getting Mr. N's shorter. Thanks for joining the hop.

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  15. That's HUGE! Congrats to both of you on your success!! (Super jealous, too, but you give me hope and inspire me to keep working with Cooper!)

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  16. SOOOOO awesome. Toenails are SUCH an issue for so many dogs. Congratulations. My first dog required the vet and major meds to get her toes done. My next couple required at least 2 people and a lot of wrestling, so when we adopted our (late) Lilly in 2004 and then the new puppy-girls in 2014 and 2015, I started working on conditioning to nails right away. I can do all nails on both puppies in one sitting. I take just the tiniest bit off each nail every 10-14 days. It's amazing, after all the struggles with earlier dogs. Congrats again. This is a HUGE success.

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Thank you for commenting!