This past weekend has been a harder one for me with Dante. He is starting to show just how stubborn he can be. I have been working with him a lot on his house and leash manners, with some progress made.
Sometimes it seems that no matter how many toys he has in front of him, he always chews on his leash. I have to admit that I have been putting off really working intensely on this by letting him play without a leash in his X-pen
It started off well, but only took about ten minutes for him to realize that his favorite "toy" was dangling under his chin. It took several approaches for me to figure out how to handle this, and and I have learned that: 1. "trading" the leash in his mouth for treats works a few time, but Dante quickly learned that if he grabbed the leash and than dropped it, then he would get kibble, instead of leave it out of your mouth ALL the time. 2. Saying no and and repeatedly removing the leash myself didn't work either, he just kept picking it up again. 3. throw him a "party" when he picks up his toys all on his own.
The thing that finally worked was letting him have the leash (only about a foot) and totally ignoring him, not even giving him any negative attention. I have to say this was hard for me at first - watching him tug and growl on the leash - but it worked. The first time he threw his fit for about 7-8 minutes before he settled down and picked up his toys. He got a "party" of praise, petting and kibble, and played with his toys for about 2 minutes before going back to his leash. He threw another fit, but this time only lasting 4-5 minutes. He repeated this several times, but playing with his toys longer and throwing progressively shorter and shorter fits. He never completely stopped, but we ended on a good note.
I have leaned a lot in the area of patience and consistency these last few days and am really - shall we say - looking forward to the "teenage months" *cough cough*.
Dante is still chewing on his leash a lot, but he is getting better - albeit the little that it is. I think as long as I can be consistent in working with him every day, that we will have this down in no time.