Thursday, October 28, 2010

Transferring the Value

Every morning after they get their kibbles and supplements, my dogs enjoy a special treat--a garlic and brewer's yeast biscuit. They enjoy these biscuits so much, I decided to transfer the value they see in these treats to brushing their coats. It was my goal to have them want to be brushed. It was also selfish; I wanted to cut down on my weekly grooming time by doing a quick, daily maintenance. Here was my process.

After the bowls are licked clean (Jenny and Cosi make up the Bowl Patrol), I pick up a slicker brush. Cosi is first and gets a quick brush down his back, around to the front to his ruff, then the feathers on his legs and finally his tail. Mike is next, then Brisco. Finally, Jenny gets her ears brushed first (they seem to get tangles in them) and then the rest of her curls. When I'm finished brushing, everyone gets into his respective crate to wait for the treat distribution.

I started this routine this summer. This morning I saw the fruits of my labors. They actually queued up for getting brushed! Brisco barked when he was next, as if to say, "Hurry up!" Jenny is now positioning her head at a cocked angle, giving me access to the first ear without any prompting.

What does your dog value? Could you transfer that to something (like grooming) that you would like them to do? I'm here to tell you, it stinkin' works!

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