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  • Heather Sanderson

Novelty at Christmas

At this time of year novelty is everywhere, including this blow up elf in my street that my dog, Bella, spotted and couldn't work out! We will never be able to get our dogs to experience in advance everything they will ever come across in life, so the best thing we can do is to associate new and unusual things with calm, good things through games and strategies. I play games with Bella to prepare her for things that might look unusual, move and make noise. When we come across novelty, I mostly use our strategy of Distraction, Mark, Treat and carry on past the novelty, but this time, as she is likely to spot our neighbour’s elf again, I allowed her to investigate, marking and feeding her, while she chose to get closer and closer. If she had been too scared to eat, I would have taken her away from there. If she had wanted to get away at any point, I would have respected this too, but she was intrigued and wanted to have a closer look. She ended up right at the wall, a few feet away. She couldn’t really figure him out even when close, but once again, we paired novelty with good stuff and Bella the Brave came away from the new situation feeling positive and calm.



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