Ice Habit

Recently I noticed that a dog I was sitting had a bad habit.  When it would hear the ice maker engage it would become very excited and race over the icemaker jumping up and being pushy to get “the treat”.   Raisers need to keep in mind that a guide dog should not have this behavior.    Consider what damage a large dog can do when it’s racing around or jumping up to get an ice cube.  What if the dog was working with his partner and they were having lunch where there is a self serve ice machine?  It would be pretty annoying to have the dog jumping up or acting inappropriate to get ice.  At home the dog can lose all sense of self control knocking down anything in its way.      Remind raisers that even the ice machine can become an obsession.  Some dogs will leap up and become frantic for “their” treat.  Ice should be treated like food, which is not given to the dog when the dog is being pushy.  It should also not be handed to the dog as a treat.   Raisers need to work on not allowing the puppy to call the shots by pestering and being pushy to get ice.  Generally the raiser should get ice for their drink and ignore the dog.  Occasionally you can offer an ice cube or two but have a delay from the time you get the ice cube from the ice machine or freezer until it is given to the dog and it should be given to the dog in its bowl.  The word “nice” is for marking a behavior not for giving treats.  Please reserve this word when you are actually working on the “go to bed training”.