Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Where interesting thoughts arrive

Last night I grabbed a slice of mozzarella cheese and headed off to the facilities. The wrapper crinkles had of course been noticed by both dogs as the source of 'cheese'. Thus I had plenty of company when I arrived at my destination. Then again most people with one or more pets will tell you that like having little kids your days of going to the bathroom alone doesn't happen often.

I used clicker training and food to train the dogs. I spent more time training Nessa than I did with Norbert because he's William's dog. We have had fun with agility (Norbert) and Rally Obedience (Nessa) and Tracking (both dogs). Nessa has a few more fun obedience stuff under her training belt than Norbert does.

This was really brought to my attention last night with the cheese. I was willing to share, they just had to work for the privilege. It was the last that caught my eye in the different abilities. Both were standing and I asked for a 'down'. Nessa instantly flattened herself on the floor in a nice fold-back down as trained. Norbert looked at me like I was doing drugs. Crinkle brow back at him. You know 'down' so I tried with both hand and voice cue. Still looks at me like I'm crazy.

A standing down was taught to Nessa because it was one of the different skills needed for Rally-O and the first level stuff. Norbert was never taught it because I had no intention of trying to teach him that stuff. One because he doesn't enjoy it and two because he's too damn short. He stands 11 inches at the shoulder, he's a small fry. It's painful to try to teach heeling and fronts on my back and bending in half repetitively.

So there we were in the bathroom and I'm receiving this epiphany of thought on the differences between my two dogs. Norbert also has a hard time with 'spin right' and 'spin left'. To him there's only one and why are you trying to get me to go the other way? Something that William has been trying to work with him on and since he's not using a clicker, Norbert isn't differentiating that he's supposed to be learning something new. Apparently a great many interesting thoughts are arrived at in this location. It must be the quiet that helps facilitate them. ;^)

I think this spring we'll try to find out when there's a Tracking test going on and see if they can both get their first titles. Both loved playing the tracking game. If only we can keep away from rude obnoxious labs and their owners - I don't care if you "think" your dog is 'friendly'. My dog is telling your dog that it's afraid of it and yours looming over it is *not* friendly in any way. With Nessa this includes all dogs that are 'big and black' so lab owners please try not to take great offense. If you'd like to get clued in on the body language of dogs, do please check out or buy a copy of Turid Rugaas' "On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals".

ETA: Norbert does know 'down' in the context of having learned them from doing 'puppy push-ups'. A 'down' to him comes from being in the 'sit' position.

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