Technically we hired a trainer for the dog, but you know what, they don’t train the dog.
They train the people.
Dogs generally behave the way they do as a reaction to the way they are treated. Which means if they are exhibiting a behavior that is unwelcome, such as Toby’s barking at strangers, it means we have not done what we need to do to tell him that it’s not only not necessary, but not acceptable.
But I’m not talking violence.
In our efforts to acclimate Toby to our household, we knew what NOT to do. We knew not to “reinforce” the behavior to comforting or petting him. But beyond that we only knew that we didn’t want to screw him up worse.
So we hired a dog trainer.
But after a 2 1/2 hour session, you really realize they are training you.
She taught us how to properly react to the dog’s behavior in a way he understands and in a way that shows to him that “we’ve got this, and we can handle that strange person without his help”.
Today Toby showed amazing progress…well, we did, and it helped Toby understand exactly what is expected of him. He seemed far less nervous and much more happy even with 1 brand new stranger and 1 person he met once before in the house at the same time.
We still have a ton of work ahead, but this fast progress is very encouraging.