My dog's not spoiled ... I'm just well trained !
A Walk in the Woods
TONIGHT on TV
Whose Line is it Anyway (x2)
Check a Sheila Video
BECAUSE IM THE BOSS, THATS WHY!
23 July 2004
I swear, its like having a toddler again. Joan reminds me that "real freedom doesnt come until the last kid leaves home and the dog dies," and she asks "whose idea was this anyway?" (It was mine, I admit)
Someone pointed me to the Humane Societys page on basic training techniques, or "nothing in life is free." The idea is that once the dog has learned some basic commands, you make her earn positive things. She must obey a command before she gets what she wants (food, a treat, a walk, a pat on the head, etc.)
Sounded like a good idea.
Im quickly learning that Sheila is more than willing to sit for something she really wants, and she is as stubborn as a toddler when it comes to doing something she doesnt want.
From day #1, she automatically sat before I asked her to when getting a treat. That must have come from her previous owners training. I dont have to say a thing. When we get home from a walk (or, as I call it, my mornings work-out on the treadmill, since I walk just as steadily and a bit faster than I do at the gym!), she immediately runs into the kitchen and sits in front of the refrigerator, since she knows the treats are stored on top and she will get two dog biscuits.
Ive tried to start using this willingness to "sit" on command to have her earn things she wants.
She knows, for example, that when I put my shoes and socks on (these being triple-digit temperature days, Im going barefoot most of the time) that we are probably going for a walk. Ive made certain not to excitedly ask "do you want to go for a walk?" Shes hyper enough and smart enough to know darn good and well whats coming.
But now that shes made the connection between socks and walks, she gets herself hyper. She bounces up and down, races back and forth between the family room and the front door, and then tries to grab the socks and crawl around my feet. "Sit!" I say. I turn away and dont make eye contact until she stops trying to grab my socks, steps back, and sits down. It only takes a second for her to realize that Im not going to continue putting on shoes until she sits and if I dont put on my shoes, we dont go for a walk.
She sits. She wiggles all over while she waits, but she sits.
Ive also started having her sit to have her collar/leash put on. She used to fight me about it, but now she sits quietly. As soon as the collar goes on, shes leaping about again.
I wont open the front door until she sits for a couple of seconds instead of jumping up and trying to turn the doorknob herself. Shes finally figured that out too. Much as she wants to rush out the door, the door remains shut and I stand quietly, looking away, until she sits.
Ahhhh, but all bets are off once we get outside. I havent gotten her into the Halti yet, so were still on the choke collar, and its much better than it used to be. Shes figured out she cant get out of it, so she doesnt fight it any more, but Ive decided that she will sit when we come to a curb before well cross the street.
She has decided that she won't.
Though she readily sits at home whenever I ask her to, when were outside and stop at a curb and I give her the sit command, she stands there resolutely, butt up in the air, looking around. "Sit" I say again. She looks away, still standing. "Sheila? SIT," I say once more. She continues to look around (if she could whistle and roll her eyes, she would).
Ive decided Ill wait her out. Im the boss. Im bigger than she is. And I have the other end of the leash.
Besides, after sprinting half a block, its nice to stand and get my wind.
Every so often Ill say "SIT" and she stands. She tries to step off the curb and I pull her back.
"SIT," I say.
"la-dee-dah," she thinks.
Finally she gets tired of the game, looks up at me and I swear you can hear her give a huge sigh. "Owell...might as well give her what she wants."
"GOOD GIRL!" I say, with as much excitement as I can muster, as if she had done it 5 minutes before when I first asked her. She gets lots of pets and lots of praise and we cross the street.
A block later, we go through the whole thing all over again.
Its a start, but she has to learn whos boss around here, and its time to shift that role from the four footed person to the two footed person.
Last night was too hot to sleep upstairs and so I slept downstairs. That meant Sheila didnt have a bed to share with me, so she was up and down all night. At 4 a.m., she licked me awake. I got up, went to the bathroom and, since the air was cool by then, took a blanket off a nearby chair to cover myself with. An hour later, she was pulling the blanket off of me and nibbling on my toes.
When I got up, I discovered shed chewed up the chair the blanket had been on. Shes now moving into the good furniture and Im afraid that if I cant get a handle on this, she is literally going to eat herself out of house and home. If I can't get this chewing under control, much as I love her, I am going to have to seriously consider whether we can keep her.
Im going to work harder on making sure she accepts me as "alpha dog." Today I bought some doggie repellant to spray liberally on all the remaining furniture. I also took the advice of several people who have written and bought a crate to put her in and will begin getting her accustomed to that. I have now spent roughly $14 gazillion on this solid gold dog.
Our obedience classes (if they arent canceled again) begin Saturday and Im hoping to get some pointers at that time too.
Im the boss. And I will make her understand that, if it kills the both of us.
Today's Suggested Web Site to Read
Marn, and then
Another "before" and "after" picture for Digital Nuts