Volume 5: Teaching Dog To Respond Favorably.

My dog is over a year old now. For whatever reason, OK, I was intimidated by the task, I never taught my dog to come to me when I call for her.After teaching basic commands like sit and shake, I mustered up the courage to overcome my fear of rejection or failure and teach her the ‘come’ command.We are in the back yard. She is running around. When she runs towards me in an almost full sprint, I think to myself, “this is a good time to use the command since she’s already coming my way.”I could have said anything else and she would’ve continued running right up to my feet and sat, but when I used the new command, she froze where she was and stared at me.I said it again, “Piper, come!”Then I stooped down and offered her a treat while expressing the command. She walked to me. We celebrated the success with a belly rub (and the treat, of course). I was very happy with the progress we made in the first few days.Having treats ready for consumption was a big part of this command being taught successfully. Knowing that it takes consistency was key also. I have not broken her of her hunting rabbit instinct, but we’ll get there. For now, I’m just happy she knows “come” doesn’t mean freeze in place.Having a dog is a learning experience for me, too, not just her. Hoping for success when delivering a command depends a lot on where I’m standing. If I’m standing near door that goes inside, she’s less likely to respond favorably.If I’m near the fence, she’ll come to me, thinking I have a rabbit to show her or something.Resorting to tricks works, too, but most of the time I feel bad about it.Parenting a puppy is fun and tough. But at least now my dog will answer most of the time I call her.
Volume 1: Sharing A House With Dog.

Volume 2: Sharing A Car With Dog.

Volume 3: Sharing A Yard With Dog.

Volume 4: Sharing Problems with Dog.

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Volume 4: Sharing Problems with Dog

Everything I learned about solving problems, I learned from my dog. Take a look at how the puppy in this video follows a simple step by step process on solving problems.


There’s a simple formula clearly demonstrated in the video. In order to grasp how the beagle handled the above scenario, it’s necessary to break it down step by step.

1. You may not know when a problem is about to show up, so until it does, have fun.

2. When the problem approaches, don’t overreact. Calmly assess the situation.

3. Once you’re aware of the elements involved in the problem, approach cautiously.

4. Stare.

5. After staring for a significant amount of time, slowly approach the problem while staring.

6. At the most opportune time, attack the problem or retreat from it.

After further analysis, it appears most of this fits best with physical and/or visible problems, ie. bullies, bigger dogs, some cats. However, for problems that are internal, spiritual, relational, and/or mental, I would not recommend this process. Seek help elsewhere.

This is volume 4 of a series titled, “I Own You. I Own You. A Look Into Who Owns Who, the Master and Puppy.” Check back often for the next in this ongoing series!

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Volume 3: Sharing A Yard With Dog.

My beagle Piper likes to chase rabbits. I like to watch her chase rabbits. Sometimes I like to chase her. She likes to be chased. And this chasing is fun for us when it is fun for us. When I get home in the afternoon we may enjoy a good run around the yard. Not so much early in the morning. Mostly later in the afternoon is when these chases go down. I’m chasing her not to catch her, just to be playful, all because the back yard is fenced in and I have little to no concern of her running away.FLASHback! Piper and I had been together for about a month, mid December to mid January. I learned very quickly that I needed a fence because I didn’t like going outside with her every time she needed to. And I bet she sure as heck didn’t like me staring at her while she had her personal time out there. But I felt it was a must. The second I took my eyes off her, she’d be gone in the woods like a wild maniac beagle! So most of the time spent together was me saying, “Piper do this, Piper don’t eat that.”Claustraphobia was setting in and I knew I needed space. See, most people think fenced-in backyards are for the dog! Wrong. This fence was for me. We both benefit from it, though; I have some me time, which you know from volume 2 is very important, and she can roam around relatively unsupervised.Piper in the snow with the new fence.As I designed the layout of the fence, I decided it would be fun to include a woodsy area for Piper. An area behind my house that has some undergrowth, a few trees, etc. so she could explore. Much more exciting than grass only.  

FLASHforward TO CURRENT TIME! In our 439th installment of “Chase me! Come on, chase me!” a lengthy holdout transpired. I was trying to coax Piper inside the house so I could leave for work. She must’ve thought “come here” meant “go there” because she kept running to her hiding place, The Forest of You Can’t Get Me (a.k.a. the woodsy area). I ran in, she ran out. I ran out, she ran back in. A chess match of chasing. And I stink at chess. She was clearly winning. I don’t know if it was a full moon or what, but she was faster, quicker, feistier and had impressive tactical manuevers that defeated every attempt I made at catching her. Finally appealing to her curiosity, I pretended I wanted to show her something. Pointing down to the ground, I said, “Piper, look here! What is it!?” When she got close enough, bam! I corraled her in. Check mate! Then she wiggled out of my kung-fu grip and we did it all again.  

I was late for work.  

Piper as a puppy. Such an awesome dog!

This is volume 3 of a series titled, “I Own You. I Own You. A Look Into Who Owns Who, the Master and Puppy.” Check back often for the next in this ongoing series!

Volume 1: Sharing A House With Dog.

This morning I woke up to a dog staring at me. Or maybe I woke up because a dog was staring at me, and happily whimpering. My first thought was, “What?” but not a “How can I help you?” what. It was a “Is this really happening?” what. I quickly concluded that I must’ve accidently left the crate door open when I went to bed. My dog’s been trained to sleep in a crate all night but there’s been no training on crate etiquette. Clearly that’s next on the list. Item 1: when the crate door is halfway open, you must pretend it’s closed and locked. Item 2: when it’s dark and nobody’s around, that must mean it’s night time and you should stay in the crate. Item 3: If it’s dark and the crate door is halfway open, swivel your head around to make sure Daddy’s not laying on the floor nearby. If he is, follow the steps in the “Is Daddy Taking A Well-Deserved Nap? (A Handbook for Puppies)” handbook. I’ll list those steps in a later post. The handbook also clearly states that anything happening before 7am is considered “the night before,” so waking up at 6am does not mean the morning is starting. It means the night is still going. This whole 6am thing better be a fad that she grows out of. Maybe when she gets to doggy-junior-high-school-age (human years: 2) she’ll avoid me because I’m “not cool” or I “wear socks with my flip flops” or I make her wear a “leash” in front of her friends. Then maybe she won’t be so eager to wake me up a few hours after yesterday ended.

So I climbed out of bed and checked the clock. 6am. At this hour of the night, the only solace I can cling to is two episodes of Boy Meets World on ABC Family. Until I found out they’re airing the younger episodes. Sigh. Now what? My dog’s already had her breakfast. It’s 605am. Just then I remember I’ve got a fenced-in back yard! There, my little morning pepper can roam around and sniff to her heart’s content. Meanwhile, I can check to see if Saved By the Bell is on yet. Drat, it’s on at 7am. It’s probably the younger episodes, anyway, the ones with Miss Bliss. Once I was fully awake and/or functional, I plugged in the computer and worked on a few computery-type projects. Later Piper came back inside. We played. I fixed lunch. Piper went back into her crate. I drove to work, already sleepy from being woken up the night before, ie. 6am.

This is volume 1 of a series titled, “I Own You. I Own You. A Look Into Who Owns Who, the Master and Puppy.” Check back often for the next in this ongoing series!

click here for the next posting, Volume 2: Sharing A Car With Dog.

What In The K%!$#tchen Is Going On?

Here is my kitchen on a random weekday.

This image reveals 10 of my characteristics.

Let’s start with the obvious. You probably noticed the globe on the counter and the many bottles above the white cabinets.

Characteristic #1: Frugal and delights in the small victories of finding stuff like this at thrift stores, on beaches, or in the woods. Next is the attention-grabbing blue cup full of water. Characteristic #2: Personal health. Drinking water is a healthy thing to do (but what you can’t see is the pizza in the freezer, so this is an ongoing battle). Along the picture’s bottom edge you can see the corner of a dog crate. My beagle: I can’t control her, I can only hope to contain her…. in the crate. Ok, that’s not totally true. She’s a puppy and already knows how to “halt,” “sit,” and get in her cage on command. Bam! Characteristic #3: Leader of the pack. She’s the dog, I’m the master. And I’ll let you know when she believes that.

Now the not-so-obvious… to the left of the sink, below the cabinet, is the back end of a Maglite. This weapon is also used as a flashlight. Characteristic #4: Resourceful. Scanning down to the dishwasher you’ll see tape on the corners. I’ll take the tape off as soon as I stop buying stuff with tape on it. Characteristic #5: Procrastinator. Near the globe is a hardly-noticeable black phone cord and three, yes, three, power outlets. Characteristic #6: Powerful. With the power cord and multiple outlets, I can charge my Motorola Droid anytime and anywhere within those 4 feet. Near the stove, to the left of the wood figurines, is a small shark jaw. You’ve heard of having the “eye of the tiger”? What about having the “mouth of the shark”? Double bam! Sharp teeth are much more effective than a soft eyeball, I’m just saying. Characteristic #7: Sharp, not soft. Paper towels. The El Camino of the kitchen. Is it paper or a towel? Yes! Double threat and a triple bam! Characteristic #8: Double threat guy. Just left of the stove is a hot pad hanging from the cabinet knob. So obviously, characteristic #9: Hot. Lastly, the dishes in the sink. If you think this fits into the “procrastinator” characteristic (not washing dishes) or the “frugal” characteristic (not using dishwasher) you’d be wrong. Characteristic #10: Inclusive. See? Now my puppy can feel like part of the team.

 

“Clean the dishes! Gooooood giiiiiirl!”