Thursday, December 3, 2009

Not-so-random ACTS

We're on Day #2 of the Allie Christmas Tree System, a.k.a. ACTS. I devised ACTS in response to Allie's having destroyed my favorite ornament less than 12 hours after we put the tree up on Monday evening.

Julie, Stan and I wondered why Allie would start going after ornaments now, when she's shared seven previous holidays with us. Only yesterday did I realize why: this was the first full year that we didn't put Snappy Trainers (a cross between a ping-pong paddle and a mousetrap that makes a loud noise when touched but does no harm). IOW, I never actually taught Allie to refrain from touching the tree ornaments. I just deterred her from them. Without the deterrence, the ornaments were fair game.

Hence, the institution of ACTS. The elements consist of:
1. Using the clicker and treats to show Allie that she needs to keep her nose, mouth and teeth off the ornaments. I c/t when she approaches the tree, then turns away. She's figured that out pretty quickly: she's now trotting up to the tree, turning around expectantly, and is trotting back as soon as she hears the click.
2. Adding the "off" cue--which I'd already taught Allie with respect to other forbidden items -- once Allie caught on to what was expected of her around the tree.
3. Not allowing her to have access to the tree when we're not around. This means that she's crated when we leave the house, and is with a household member at all other times.

So far, so good ... Allie's ornament take remains at just one.


Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart said...

That sounds like a good strategy. Excellent problem solving.

Susan said...

It's not solved yet, but we're getting there.