Last Saturday we met our trainer for Macho! We sat down to talk for a while about Macho's habits, how we "work" with him, his schedule, etc. I assumed she would tell us that we need to be the pack leader, and that is exactly what she told us. She realized right away that Macho is the dominate one in the house. He is in charge of when he eats, comes out of his cage, where he goes to the bathroom, and his attitude when we put him on a leash.
We're working now on becoming the dominate ones in the household. We now only feed Macho twice a day instead of leaving his food out all day and letting him eat whenever he wants. The first couple days were tough because he didn't eat at all. But on Wednesday, I woke up, put his food outside of his cage, and got into the shower. When I went into the living room, he had finally ate. He didn't eat that night, but he did eat this morning again. I'm hoping we can get him to continue this schedule and that it will help him realize that we are the ones who feed him.
The toughest part so far has been working with Macho on the leash. He HATES the leash! When our trainer, Maril, was here, she was able to work with me to actually put the leash on Macho. Then she showed me techniques to get him to calm down instead of just freak out the entire time he's on the leash. My major problem before Maril was that Macho would freak out so bad that I would just give up. Now I realize all of the problems that giving up causes, and when Macho is freaking out, I know what to do to make him stop. When Maril was able to get Macho to calm down and just sit with the leash on him, I couldn't believe it! He had never done that before.
Since Saturday, we leave the leash on Macho whenever we are around him. This way he gets used to having it on him. We work for him for about 5 minutes, then we'll give him an hour or so to relax. We try to work with him on the leash by calling to him to get him to come to us. The first few days we couldn't get him to come up to us. But then one day I was working with him and he slowly came up to me. Then today I was holding the leash, and every small step he took towards me, I gave him praise. Then when he got close enough, he just walked right up to me. He did it another time after that, too. I was pretty excited.
I'm seeing very small changes in him, and that gives me hope that Maril will really help us get Macho to be a better pooch. We'll see what happens this Saturday when she comes again and checks our progress :)