My Brooklyn Adventure in Los Angeles

Brooklyn Crashed

This is Brooklyn, a Spaniel Chihuahua mix who lives in Los Angeles. I worked with Brooklyn and her guardians a few months ago to address a number of puppy related issues.

While things have gone well since the session, Brooklyn had a few lingering issues so we were trying to schedule a follow up session. Problem was her guardians and I weren’t able to get our schedules to sync up.

As it turned out, I had a trip to Los Angeles scheduled for the same time that Brooklyn’s guardians were heading to the east coast so they asked if I could stay at their home and watch / work with Brooklyn. Im always looking for places to stay when I travel to LA, so this was a win win for everyone.

One of Brooklyn’s new issues was an avoidance tactic she employed when  she determined that her guardians were going to leave. To avoid being placed in the kennel, she would hide under the dining room table and refuse to recall. Her guardian had resorted to pulling out all of the chairs and grabbing her when she did this.

I always want to avoid doing things for the dog myself as it doesn’t teach them anything so I started to work on conditioning the dog to come to me when she went under the table. Because of the interactions with her guardians before, Brooklyn was very reticent to come over. I was able to get her to come on multiple occasions, but it wasn’t consistent so I came up with another solution.

Brooklyn’s fear of being left behind or alone was greater than her fear of being put into the kennel. I took advantage of this and instead started to head to the front door or upstairs any time Brooklyn moved under the table. Each time I did this, Brooklyn immediately raced over so as to not be left behind.

Each time Brooklyn came over, I gave her a high value meat treat and repeated the command word as long as she chewed. By doing this consistently for a week or so, Brooklyn will start to recall faster and more consistently.

I used this technique when I wanted to take her out to potty or go for a walk and the more I did it, the better Brooklyn’s response was.

Brooklyn Waiting to Walk

To help with Brooklyn’s lingering barking issue, I took her out a lot. It was a hit or miss situation as to who she would decide to bark at. Most of it was an alerting type of bark, but on a few occasions it was more of a “why aren’t you petting me” variety.

Because of how cute she looks and her happy, playful personality, its not hard for Brooklyn to get her way. Even though I don’t let developing dogs on the furniture, I chuckled and pulled out my camera to film the precocious way that she threw herself into various situations including jumping up on the bed.

I did notice that her territorial barking was more intense and often when I was walking her in her own neighborhood, especially when she was near her apartment.

Brooklyn Walks

By consistently correcting and leading her with good timing, much of the barking on walks stopped. But she did still try to walk in front of me or go out the door first. When a dog does these things its literally leading the human and this position gives the dog the impression it has more rank or authority than it actually does.

Some of Brooklyn’s barking was for entirely reasonable situations like when I asked a guy to snap a photo of us outside a store on Melrose. Brooklyn was fine at first, but once she caught a glimpse of the painted face, she started to bark in a decidedly unfriendly way.

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In addition to walking around the neighborhood with Brooklyn, we took a few car tips together. Now I work with all kinds of cute dogs, but this one got more endearing to me the more time I spent with her. Her unusual quirks and mannerisms are hard to not smile at.

Another example of this was where Brooklyn liked to be in the car when we were driving together.

My Dalmatian Farley always rides shotgun. So does my mixed breed Cali. But not Brooklyn. She wanted to keep an eye on our 6 so she crawled up on the back deck so she could peer out the back window.

The back window perch was Brooklyn’s favorite position when I was driving. But when I got out, she made it known that she was still around with a sort of shark attack move.

The first time she did it she spooked me a bit as she crashed her head into the window as she rushed and jumped up on the ledge under the window. After she did it a few times, I pulled out the camera so I could share the experience with her guardians.

Because of how cute and lovable she is, it will be difficult for her guardians to not give in and pet or give her attention when she wants. But petting her with a reason and keeping rules and structure in her life will be an important part of her rehabilitation process. As she matures and her guardians continue to provide her with consistent rules, corrections and structure, most of her lingering behavior issues will wane on their own.

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