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Fun with Fred Friday

The last time we saw Fred featured, he was learning to run to his bed and settle in when somebody knocked at the door. Our next project was to keep Fred from going over threshold (basically losing his mind) and going after Oliver - Caitlin and Brian’s cat – whenever he saw him. Even through a gated doorway at a distance, Fred would lunge and bark. It seemed like sometimes Oliver would lie on the steps and taunt Fred…

We started with Caitlin holding Oliver on the other side of the gate, in the next room, and letting Fred glance at them. Before he could react, I would mark that behavior (looking – but not reacting) with a click, and toss a treat back into the living room for Fred to chase and eat. Pretty soon, Fred was looking at Caitlin and Oliver, and then looking back at me, like “See what I just did?” and I would click and toss the treat, giving Fred a chance to move away from the situation, enjoy a snack, and reset. He would then return to the gate, look at Oliver, look back at me, and I would click and toss another treat.

The next session I had Caitlin hold Oliver and gradually move closer to the gate, until she was actually sitting on the steps with Oliver. Brian was doing the clicking and treat tossing when Fred would look at Oliver, and then look back at him. Then we switched off, and Brian sat with Oliver on the second step, while Caitlin clicked and treated Fred’s good behavior.

Pretty soon Fred was starting to relax around Oliver, and looking at Oliver became a game. It wasn’t as stressful as it had once been. Fred and Oliver may never be BFFs, but I think with a little work, they can coexist peacefully in the same household.

Stay tuned.

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