Obedience 101.2

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.

  1. Hold your right hand flat, but draw the thumb under the index finger.
  2. Line the space between thumb and index finger with treats.
  3. With dog in the sit position, SLOWLY lower flat hand, so nose follows hand to the floor.  (Give treat and praise here.)
  4. 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.)
  5. 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!

18 comments on “Obedience 101.2

  1. Gaylen says:

    That is a fabulous photo of the dogs. when we taught down, it was sit with an open hand bent at the elbow and raised. Then from sit, you roll you hand over and push your palm to the floor. The get the dog to follow along, rather than push your hand back, we drew our hand toward us and away from the dog. Clear as mud? g

  2. Nichole says:

    Oh now that’s a picture for sending to Snapfish for the 16×20 size! 🙂 Love it!
    Seems there are 101 ways to do the commands these days… lol

  3. michelle says:

    I winked back at Mugsy! Such a handsome face! I have never taken a dog to classes. Wonder what Katie would think of it?

  4. StarSpry says:

    Great photos! All the dogs look so cute 🙂

  5. I’m guessing dog teachers are like any other teachers; “there may be other ways to do this, but my way is best”. I can say that, as a teacher! Love the pics, especially the wink.

  6. MrPuffy says:

    Obedience class – yikkes! Did that with Alex in early 90s and it was definately a “high” touch class.

    Love the wink!

  7. anniebananie says:

    Good job Sissy!!!! Don’t worry about the Down command, all you really need to do is be cute and not get into the trash, okay?

    And what a wink from Mugsy!

  8. knitwonpurltoo says:

    The absolute only way I could get Grover into the down command was with a steakburger hamburger from Steak N Shake. He now goes down without a problem. Mostly;-)

  9. AlisonH says:

    My daughter made lemon cake last night: picture a cake made with a cup of lemon juice instead of milk in the original recipe, with the lemons picked off our tree five minutes earlier. Tart and very very good. Now read your post. Now picture said daughter holding lemon cake between her index finger and thumb, waving it at her parents to get them to comply with her demands… It would work, too!

  10. Mary says:

    Glad Sissy did good in class! She’ll get the down, at least she got the leave it! Thats the one I need to work on with both of my girls…lol
    Wink back at the Mugster! Great pic of them too!
    Happy Little Friday back at ya!! 🙂

  11. love the puppy wink – too cute! do you think that they could offer obedience classes for cats? or husbands? or kids?

  12. Anita says:

    Glad the class went well, even without getting the “down”…. all the puppies look cute in the photos! 🙂

  13. Bubblesknits says:

    Abby must be Best Thing’s new car protection device. 😉 We did classes with my parent’s dog, Puck, but he flunked out rather quickly. We used clickers and treats. Puck was of the opinion that we should just give him the damn treat already and quit making all that freakin’ racket. SNOL

    And I ADORE that picture of Mugsy winking!

  14. Amanda says:

    Oh – my – goodness. I LOVE that pic of the pups.

  15. fireflynights says:

    Roscoe and Mosby send love to poor Mugsy and all of his ailments. Enjoyed all of the doggie photos. And, I especially like that your trainer isn’t into clicker training. Mosby and Roscoe have both been to clicker classes, but I think non-clicker works just as well.

  16. Nancy says:

    I am no help with training. My fur kids have all been spoiled and I am glad I don’t have children. I hope the dog I hope to get someday will be better trained than I am.
    That picture is precious…I love the wink.

  17. Dianne says:

    Love the photo of the two of them – I’m winking right back at Mugsy!

  18. Paula says:

    I loooove the picture of Mugsy winking.
    That dog trainer sounds really good.
    basset hounds to me seem totally motivated by food but they also seem to have their own agenda too!
    Elise didn’t do so well in her first training class but I didn’t think the trainer was very good either so maybe that was the trouble then.
    She does do really well with “sit, stay (we call it wait) come, up, give me your paw, and give kisses”
    and she will only wait for a few seconds unless you have a treat in your hand then she will patiently wait for a many minutes, but there might be some howling involved then.
    By the way I never knew about the head pat thing, I must need to take that class too!

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