RangerPROJECT's Environmental Training

When we took Ranger into our program, it was known that he had a fear of water. Not much scares him, but water and hoses were not his thing. A little over a week into our program and his is overcome the hose. This was accomplished by first taking his bowl outside, and placing it near the hose. Not ever turning the hose though, we used a water bottle and squirted the water into the bowl. This squirting mimics the intensity of water coming from a hose and into a bowl. And giving him a supply of water that way.

Next Step, while squirting the water in the bowl, and ranger loving it, we turned the hose on low and began filling the bowl up. Every time he stuck around and smelled the house and licked the water; we would mark and then reward his behavior.  And very quickly he associated the hose as a positive experience, thus making it more likely to occur again in the future. 

As for swimming, creeks, and shallow waters we used my personal dog Bandit, Ranger's favorite toy kong on a rope, and lots of praise.  So I found sometimes a dog learns best by watching another dog do something. So we went for a hike and Ranger watched the intensity of bandit swimming in the creeks and rivers of pennypack park. He gets to see how much fun Bandit is having and wanted to have what he has. The next step was playing tug with his kong along the riverbanks and gradually getting closer and closer to the water. Eventually when his drive and focus is so high that all he cared about is the kong, then we get him to run full speed at us and before he realizes it ranger and I are in the creek. It might last a second or two and he realizes where he is, and run back to shore. However lots of praise and high pitch enthusiastic emotion will let the dog know the immediately preceding the praise was awesome. 

Now just over a week or so into our environmental training and socialization Ranger has learned it is fun to play in water!! Be sure to water the YouTube video in HD

Ranger retrieving a stick from the Pennypack Creek.  

Ranger retrieving a stick from the Pennypack Creek.