It was good to meet Barney and Clyde, who have been house mates for 9 years since they were young pups.
They are typical of many yorkies, and use high levels of barking to express most of their moods! Both of them can be vocal when excited, and Barney has an interesting range of whines, groans and grumbles when he feels he isn’t getting the attention he deserves.
The boys have issues around food and mealtimes can be quite fraught because of the growling and guarding that goes on.
Clyde can become very over-excited whenever his lead appears, in fact his owners only have to move towards the area where all the family coats are hung up for him to go into a barking frenzy.
The boys are sweet, affectionate, fun-loving terriers who are devoted to their mum. Their owners were aware of a lot of the signals the boys were giving, but needed help interpreting them.
Once we had established that both boys needed to learn to calm down and think things through so that the level of barky noise in the home can come down, we were able to make some real progess with them.
They’re both highly intelligent and working with Clyde on his response to his lead was a real joy because he responded so quickly to being challenged to think things through.
This clip shows his response to the lead, which I started by putting it on the floor to disrupt some of his old associations with it. Because it was inert it was less exciting, which meant that I could ‘shape’ him into being calm around it.
His owners were surprised at how calm he was, he usually hurls himself at the lead and rags it, but by moving slowly and Clicking and Treating him for any movement away from it, I was able to put the lead on him and walk him a few steps around the kitchen without him going off like a fizz-bomb!
Both boys were little gems to work with because they were so clever and engaged. Their mum was quick to pick-up Thinking-dog methods and soon had Barney working very nicely for her.
It will take a while with these boys. They’re both nine now, and a lot of their behaviour has become habit. Working to change the way that older dogs think can take time, especially when you have persistent terriers, but it’s doubly rewarding when you see the changes taking shape.
Their mum has been in touch to update their progress and she’s taking things consistently and slowly, which can be hard with persistent barkers (attention-seeking woofs can be teeth-gritting!) She’s doing well with them and I’m looking forward to seeing their progress this week.