Welcome to Dogs on Thursday and the report on Sissy’s second night of school. Yesterday’s class added “Wait”,”Leave it” and “Down” to the list. “Wait” was something Sissy had heard before, but that hand in her face really gets her attention. I was SHOCKED at how well and how quickly she took to “Leave it” since the process included treats, but bless her heart, she’d just turn her head and wait for the “Yes! Good girl!” and then the treat. Karen (instructor) said she uses “Leave it” as a multi-purpose, don’t do what you’re thinking about doing command with her dogs, and the Knight likes that idea, and had some success with Sissy and the trashcan beside his recliner last night.
Oh – but you want pictures, right? Abby had a GREAT night last night, and her shyness/fearfulness was markedly improved, so it’s only fitting that the only photo I snapped was of her, ready to go home. Isn’t she a doll? But don’t reach for her head… she hates that. Karen said all dogs hate to be patted on the head because it’s a really aggressive gesture for stupid humans to make. Of course, she caught me bopping Sissy on the head twice… I need this class far more than Sissy does!
Now, “Down”, performed here so casually by Shadow, is another story. Karen told Best Thing and me before she even began describing the training process for this command that Abby might NEVER really learn it, and that Sissy would be a challenge, just because of her long neck, head and body. Karen even worked with us some, but we never got Sissy to do more than put her nose to the floor and scoot one front paw forward.
Help me out here. My last dog class prior to this one was in 1980. We used choke collars and gently manipulated the dogs into position. Karen uses treats and NO touching. I wish I had Sissy and a photographer here to show you the method, but instead, you’ll have to hope I paint a good word picture.
- Hold your right hand flat, but draw the thumb under the index finger.
- Line the space between thumb and index finger with treats.
- With dog in the sit position, SLOWLY lower flat hand, so nose follows hand to the floor. (Give treat and praise here.)
- Inch hand backwards as nose follows, until the dog’s butt pops up or a true DOWN happens. (Give treat and praise if butt doesn’t pop up.)
- Repeat, and say “DOWN” when the down happens, followed immediately by “YES!!” (Karen’s answer to a clicker?), and a treat.
Now, with Sissy, she’s licking my fingers/treats the whole way, so it’s a race to see whether the treat(s) slip out before her butt pops up, because down sure as heck isn’t happening. Karen said only to try with treats for three days, and if that doesn’t work, forget it until our next class. Of course, I’d rather gleen your knowledge and take Sissy back looking like we do something other than bow before her throne all week…
Thanks for reading through all of this. As a reward, my new favorite photo of my pups:
Love that Mugsy is winking at me… Actually, that’s his bad eye and it was still rather sensitive to light that morning, but he will wink at us sometimes, so we’ll just pretend that’s the case.
Happy Little Friday!