Butterscotch is a barking machine. She was my dad’s dog first, and he lived out in the country, and he really loved that she barked when people were coming down the road. It alerted him to company, and he liked that. She had had nine years of practicing that skill when she came to live with me. We don’t need that level of barking so much. She literally runs out the door barking in case there is something worth barking at. Bark first, ask questions later.
I started working with her at one point, and was doing pretty well for awhile. Every time she barked, I silently hooked her up to the leash and took her inside. When she was quiet and calm, she got to go back out. She’s a pretty smart dog, and she got the hang of this pretty quickly. Quiet…stay out. Bark…you go inside.
But I got complacent, and the results were predictable. She’s barking again. This is not rocket science and I know what the answer is, but my schedule is crazy right now, and there you go.
I heard my husband talking to his middle son, who was visiting the other day, and he was explaining that we were working on Butterscotch’s barking problem. He told his son we were being semi-consistent with training. That is a much nicer phrase than the truth, which is that I am being inconsistent with training! But I like the phrase…semi-consistent. So much more positive, and less judgmental, than “inconsistent.” Semi-consistent may well become a new part of my vocabulary, and my explanation for many things that get done with less consistency than they deserve.