By Sunday, April 9, 2017 6 No tags Permalink

It’s been three days of treat training as we walk through the streets of the “squirrel apocalypse” here in Charleston. As promised from my training treats post – we’re back with our update…

My disclaimerI’m familiar with treat training, but for years I’ve preferred to work with praise instead. No horror stories, just a personal choice – until now. #Iveseenthedoodlelight


  • Fascination –  comes from Jaxson…


  • Fear – comes from me.


When I was a little girl I struggled with the erratic “darting” movements of the urban squirrel. Scurrying up trees, darting across sidewalks. They always startled me and made me feel uncomfortable. Ask anyone who knows me, I’ve been known to scream out loud and loose my mind #upinhere

Because they were “Big Apple” squirrels (with NYC attitude) -they would often stand on their hind quarters glaring at me as if to say –

What you looking at lil’ human girl?

Well at least that’s what I thought they were thinking. #myphobia

Charleston has become the “Mecca” for squirrels #whoknew

Not sure when this mass migration started, I can’t remember ever seeing so many squirrels in the Holy City before. They’re like Bae-Bae kids – “they don’t die – they multiple.” It’s as if squirrel births occur overnight – every-night!


– something I associated with praise, kisses and cuddles, but now I’ve added additional “cuddles” – the kind that come from The Honest Kitchen. Small enough to fit in my poop bag pouch, packed with enough flavor to make them sit at a moment’s notice…


I am now rewarding them for good behavior when they see squirrels and as simple as it sounds, it’s working. #onlythreedays


From all that I’ve read –

Timing is everything! Source: The Humane Society

Correct timing – is essential when using positive reinforcement.

  • The command should be short – I’m using “eyes on me.” This is a phrase I won’t use for anything else, which will not send mixed signals to them.

  • Consistency is important – if there’s more than one human helping with the training, you’ve all got to be on board.
  • Knowing when to reward – only for good behavior! It is my intent to decrease the cuddles, increase the praise once the command is understood.


So far we’ve got three sides of our backyard fenced in. Because of my “Indian Jones” explorer Doodle, I’ve got to wait until the fourth side is up. This means – romping around the new yard, climbing trees, and chasing squirrels will just have to wait another week or two.

He’s not happy…

Since I’ve spent my entire life trying to avoid squirrels, I don’t know how they act around dogs. Should I be concerned? Are they #petfriendly?

If you’re laughing at me right about now, it’s okay. I laugh at myself when it comes to my squirrel issues.

I know I can’t keep Jaxson inside forever…

…but I can’t have him slinging me all over the park either. I will continue with the treat training, and I guess I’m gonna have to work on “me” a little too.

I’ve got to stop my sniveling and get it together.

My screeching and squealing is starting to scare the other humans in the park! #crazydoodlemom

Face whatever comes today with a positive attitude ❤️

  • Two French Bulldogs
    April 10, 2017

    Those are perfect size training treats. We like listening when treats are involved
    Lily & Edward

  • claudette Pope
    April 10, 2017

    Poor Cathy. I’m not afraid of squirrels, but please dont let me see a mouse (even on TV) Lol, a phobia is a phobia. In my incounters with Ziggy and squirrels, and believe me, there are thousands in Occoquan Forest where we live, squirrels Always Run away. Scurrying up trees or anywhere just to get away fron Ziggy. Good luck with your fears cause it looks like The Boys have everything under control.

  • Dashlilly
    April 10, 2017

    Squirrels! They run away — but Lilly runs after them. Usually with me at the other end of the leash. Dash … he can leave them. Keep up the training. Such a good idea!

  • Emma
    April 10, 2017

    Squirrels are the rudest, most frustrating creatures on the planet! Hope that fence is done soon so you can go out and capture them!

  • Jan K
    April 11, 2017

    That’s great you’ll have a completely fenced in yard! We wouldn’t be without ours…it makes life so much easier. And Luke can chase all the squirrels he wants out there, so that hopefully he leaves them alone when we walk!
    I think you may find that once you’re consistently using the treats for that training, and it’s working, you may be able to drop them off a little bit and use praise as well. I like to use just praise at times too, because we don’t want fat dogs! 🙂

  • Monika & Sam
    April 12, 2017

    Good luck with the ongoing training. Sounds like maybe you need a pocket full of doodle treats and one pocket of human treats to deal with the squirrel epidemic. If the boys chase them in the confines of the yard, you may end up seeing less of them but they usually hold out just out of reach of pups. They drive Elsa mad too but she’s getting better about the ‘leave it’ command. Maybe with a million more treats.

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