It has been a while since I wrote about Little Bear, so here is an update! He has finished five weeks of class at the Macomb Juvenile Justice Center and Children’s Village. He has learned how to sit, shake, lay down, speak and spin! But more importantly, he has learned to become less mouthy on your arms and clothes (woo-hoo).

His trainer has taught him the “find it!” game. This is done by tossing a treat on the ground and saying “find it!” When your dog is just about to eat the treat, use the marker word ‘yes!’ so he knows what he did was correct. This is an invaluable game for your dog to know because it’s more than just a game. This method is useful for redirecting your dog when you need to in different situations.

When Little Bear begins to show signs that he is going to jump up to grab the trainer’s shirt, his trainer quickly tosses a few treats on the ground and says “find it!” to redirect his behavior to searching instead of jumping and grabbing. Little Bear enjoys the “find it” game better than his “jump up and grab” game, so he searches for the treats instead! The disappearance of this mouthy/jumpy behavior is not going to happen overnight. It is a behavior he has had for almost two years, but giving him another game to play instead has helped so much! His mouthiness with arms and clothes has already decreased dramatically!

Next thing to work on? Helping him learn that our shoes are not a toy.