Thursday, March 4, 2010

Duck Zen - update

Well, it's been a week since we started practicing Duck Zen and I'm pleased to say it's going well.

Well for me, at least.

The first few days were pretty a much a repeat of the first, with quite a few demanding barks, quite a few perplexed looks when I didn't budge, and ultimately... silence.

I knew we were making real progress the day he DIDN'T stop barking. Ah, the Extinction Burst. I knew it would come, as Beau was a rather difficult teenager and we had experienced more than our fair share of Extinction Bursts during those trying months.

As those things go, it was absurdly tame - perhaps a sign of his (long awaited) maturity. I spent 5 minutes or so standing by the Kitchen table, with him stopping only long enough for me to twitch in the direction of the bookcase before he started barking again.

He stopped, I twitched. I twitched, he barked.


Poor guy, he did his best to appear non-demanding. He averted his gaze, stared at the floor, then stared at the wall, then backed out of the room altogether. He tried a whimper-bark, a whine-bark, a half-howl bark, and then a cute little muffled bark I'd never heard before.

No joy.

Finally, after I was beginning to wonder if we would even have time to play (or equally if Zachary was going to get disgusted and try to deck him) he just stopped.

That was three days ago, and the barking hasn't returned.

No barks.
No whimpers.
No whines.
No half-howl barks.

Not even the cute little muffled bark.

Just beautiful silence.

I don't know if things will stay quiet or if he will regress again. I do know that I won't let him get away with regressing!

... as for him barking while Zachary is finding the Duck? I've changed things up so that Zachary is now looking for the Duck in a room out of sight of Beau. That stopped the barking during the "find" part. During the "victory laps" (wherein Zachary zoomies around the room proudly displaying Duck and causing it to quack) I've been keeping Beau's attention riveted on a cookie and his butt firmly on the floor.

It seems to be working.

Once Beau figures out that Quiet Dogs Get Cookies, I think peace will return to our happy little kingdom...

... unless you happen to be a Duck.


katie, Maizey and Magnus said...

I always learn so much from your video's, have you video'd any of this process? I would love to see the journey-your end results are always so great!

Don't you kinda love the "little muffled barks"? My big girl does this when she's in the house and knows she isn't supposed to bark. It's like she's saying, "I know its bad mom, but I just HAVE to bark-how 'bout just a little bark?" They are so funny!LOL

BZ Dogs said...

Sorry, no videos of this. Even had I thought about it (which, well, I didn't!) I can't think now of where I would could have set up the camera. You'd see either Beau barking, or me standing there waiting, or the bookcase housing the Duck. There isn't any way to get even 2 of the 3 in a single shot. :(

Yes, muffled bark was cute - but the fact he was choosing to use to get me moving faster? Not so cute!