Wow, we are on Part 7 and Fred is already 6 months old. He came to my house for the first time on Sunday for a family gathering. I had to cook a roast for 13 people which was quite stressful but everyone was very well behaved, especially the dogs. My sister brought her two pooches so we had 5 dogs in all. It was manic but calmer than we all anticipated.
Fred had an “accident” in my kitchen shortly after he arrived to which my mother completely baffled me by praising him! Apparently it was his first time cocking his leg :-O She really does beggar belief sometimes. I made sure it was cleaned up with biological soap powder so he wouldn’t be tempted to go there again (it removes the smell of urine from a dogs nose)
We brought the garden table in for the kids to sit at and eat their roast, the leg of the table was leaking rain water on the wooden floor, so poor Fred got the blame for cocking his leg again until we realised it really wasn’t him and he was actually down to just one accident, not a multitude.
As the day started coming to an end I was asked to do a bit of training with Fred. He has had no training from my parents at all, I think they think he came ready trained. He really hasn’t. I started with a sit and then swiftly moved onto a down. As with all dogs, you never know how they will do it, will it be quickly or will they need baby steps to guide their chest and elbows to the floor. Fred needed baby steps. I never touch a dog when I’m training, I let the dog follow my lead and work it out for himself, this way it is more likely to stick in his brain and he’ll have no problem repeating the action over and over again. My father, not the most impatient man in the world said “can’t you just gently push his shoulders down or move his paws forward so he slides down?” I explained that isn’t a helpful action for the pup to learn from; but he insisted. I told him to relax, I knew what I was doing. He wasn’t at all impressed and with that, Fred just stretched out on the floor, elbows, tummy and chest on the rug. I clicked and gave him 3 treats and that was it, he got the down. A proud moment for me and as any trainer will tell you, a blooming relief too.
We tried a few more tricks and he picked them up very quickly. The favourite with all owners is what I call Push the Button to Open the Box. You have one hand full of treats and the other hand is empty. The idea is to get the dog to push his nose into the palm of your empty hand (press the button) in order to release a treat from the other hand (the box). The majority of owners don’t believe their dog will be able to do it but they do and the owners get very excited and pleased that they have a clever dog :-D