Our family’s care and training is based primarily on praise reinforcement, with intermittent treat and special privileges. (Periodic small bonding activities…like solo-car-rides with mom or dad to pick-up a pizza, or visit Tractor supply & pick out a toy!)
Benson has a great temperament and spirit, but just like spirited human children—it gets him into trouble sometimes. But we try to discipline gently and teach him to share; most of the time he’s pretty laid-back, especially considering his ‘puppy-craziness-energy.’
We avoid corporal punishment but instead practice dominant posturing, separation/isolation from the rest of the group, toy restriction, etc., or simply praising alternate behavior in others (praising his ‘sisters’ or our friends for sitting/laying-down & staying) while turning our face from Benson is enough to cause him to mimic their good behavior to stay off restriction!
This usually works because Benson wants to fit in with the group—because he cares & wants to be allowed to play & spend time with us.
Sound effects associated with past behaviors, a stern voice or a distinct sign-language-like movement, can communicate our ‘corrections’ and what substitute behavior we expect Benson to do—before he’s allowed to do anything else. Food aggression is never permitted and proper dinner socialization, including playing with his food, petting him while eating, interrupting his dinner to “check out” his food can all help to ensure he can be trusted around others eating or being fed without begging or intimidation.
Benson and I use some gear when venturing out—most often it includes wearing his leash, HALTI humane collar, and his training hike pack, where he carries water, waste bags, emergency and first-aid information & any other supplies we might need on the journey! What we carry depends on what we’re doing, who we’re visiting, and how long we’ll be traveling.
Benson’s a smile-starter & it’s hard for anyone to stay sad for very long when around him. He will meet many people on his walks, make lots of friends, and make life a little more pleasant for his BensonBuddies; we hope you’ll join us!