Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dr. Jekyll (and Mr. Hyde)

As some of you know, my Greyhound Sami loves to "play bite" me - no one else, but me, it seems (thank God). Well, sometimes the play biting gets downright aggressive to the point that her eye's glaze over and fire spits out of them, all the while she is nipping me to the point of leaving bruises on me. And I'm usually laughing so hard because the look in her eyes is so intense and it's a clear deviation from her normal sweet self! And, of course, me laughing just antagonizes her into biting me harder!

I call it her "Dr Jekyll" episode. She is getting better about it and doesn't do it nearly as often as she did. I adopted her when she was not quite 2 years old (she's about to be 4) so I've always chalked it up to puppy behavior.

I follow Cesar Millan on Twitter and on Facebook. He recently had a suggestion on this topic that I'd like to share with you. He said to diffuse this type of behavior in puppies, try to divert their attention to performing a command ie "sit" or whatever else they might know.

None of mine are prison trained Greyhounds but I have been able to teach them all to "sit" and some to do the "down" command. Sami learned to "sit" last summer, I believe. Anyway, the last time her "Dr. Jekyll" came out, I remembered what Cesar had suggested and I immediately put my closed hand in the air and said "sit" and lo and behold, the little villain did it which then was enough to distract her and end the episode. Yeah, no bruises!!

I've done it several times since and it has worked every time. This may be old news to some of you who are actually "trainers" but to me, it is a wonderful revelation. I imagine this will work for anything your Greyhound might be doing that they shouldn't be doing. It's quite a distraction and if it can get "Dr. Jekyll" out of her trance, I imagine it will work for your Greyhound too!
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