Temple Grandin dog training moment

Temple Grandin is an amazing lady.  She has a gift that allows her to see things as animals do in many circumstances which puts her on a different level than the rest of us.

 As a dog trainer I run across odd things now and again that require me to actually sit down and think like a dog.  This happened last week and I thought it was interesting enough to write about and something others might find helpful.

I’ve been working with a client whose dog was refusing to use their dog door.  This isn’t that unusual for dogs newly faced with a dog door but this pup had been going in and out of a different doggie door for several years.  It turns out that the owner had recently replaced their house door and put in a shiny new doggie door for this pup which it wouldn’t have ANYTHING to do with, it wouldn’t even put it’s nose to the door when I got there. 

This just didn’t make sense.  Most dogs would have some trepidation about going out a new door but it was almost like this dog had "forgotten" how to open it and that just didn’t square with how intelligent this dog was in other areas.  After sitting down for a few minutes and looking the doggie door over, I thought back to something Ms. Grandin said in one of her books about animals and shiny things.  This dog door had a small shiny edge on the bottom of the plastic flap that stood out.  We grabbed some painters tape and covered over the shiny part and within five minutes we had the dog jumping through the door and pushing the flap up himself.  Amazing!  Something that simple had kept this pup from going outside for weeks and weeks.

Moral to the story is, sometimes all the dog training in the world won’t help you, but cutting out the glare from the shiny stuff will.


Steve Haynes
Austin Dog Trainer
Fidelio Dog Works




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