This Saturday we had a training session with Kelly and Ian Dunbar from DogStar. Dr. Dunbar had some really good advice and tools to help us better deal with Captain's adolescence. Specifically, we're working towards controlling his bark when he gets out of hand (he has a mean bark for about 2 dogs in the neighborhood and also tends to bark when scared), and more broadly, helping him develop into a confident male dog. To get there, we're using some basic positive reinforcement and hand feeding for a few days, and then lots and lots of practice. Luckily Captain learned great bite inhibition and is very social, but we're still working on the barking. It is a lot of work and you do tend to forget that training is something that really needs to continue well after puppy class.
If you're not familiar with Ian Dunbar, there's some more information on his work on Dog Star Daily. Basically, according to my husband, Dr. Dunbar "wrote the book on dog training" - actually, he literally has written a number of books about dog training, but he also developed puppy training classes, the Sirius Dog Training classes, and the field of dog training itself. So it was a great experience to get to spend some time with him. Hopefully Dog Star will be developing some web-training videos, and one may feature our session with Captain. He was a pretty good learner (actually, the dog is usually quicker to learn than the human!); but we still have some homework to do.
I'd love to hear comments about other male Vizsla adolescence trials & triumps. Here's Dr. Dunbar's blog post on adolescent dogs.