Saturday, 14 November 2009

rules for dogs living with humans

Teal'c put a comment on my last post about breaking rules, and I realised I had probably given the impression that anything goes in our house. (I'm really enjoying reading Teal'c's blog, by the way.)

I have to set the record straight. We just didn't know there are rules about not playing inside the house.

Unfortunately for Penny, we know lots of other rules - walking nicely on lead (just haven't managed to teach that one very well); leaving food found on the street (hmmm... not doing so well on that one); sitting before crossing a street (five years and still have to demand this at each street corner); not barking at possums in the trees at night (well, can't expect Penny to neglect her important job of keeping creatures out of our pack's territory).

Wait a minute, there must be some rules we've succeeded with.

Okay, let's think... wait for the command to eat from the food bowl; stay with your humans if off-lead; stay in the one spot if told to 'wait'; give up the tug-toy if the human says 'mine'; obey all commands at agility events; follow flyball rules; 'come' if called.

Okay, now I'm feeling a bit better about this 'rules' thing, lol. Penny's a determined dog, one who likes to please us, but not one who makes conformity the central motivation of her life.

She's great fun to live with.


Master Teal'c said...

Ohhhh - I didn't think there were no rules ;) Maybe I have just worded my last comment incorrectly...
Thanks for the compliment about my blog. I Like reading your as well!
Oh and with the waiting by the street - my mom is using a command for that she doesn't use for anything else. It works well. When I hear "Stra├če" I know it is important to sit and wait. But most of the time I do it anyway, being a good dog and so... Mom also says that she teached "older" dogs that way to sit before a street and it worked.
Cheers Teal'c

parlance said...

Teal'c, that's intetesting! I remember hearing, long ago, that it's a good idea to take a word from another language, a word you don't usually say, and use it to teach the particular behaviour for that exact situation. I think I might try it.

Unknown said...

Oh, I think you're doing very well with Penny!! I think the secret to a well-behaved dog is an owner who keeps reminding the dog of the rules, not one who just assumes that once taught, the dog will just be a saint and obey everything. After all, dogs are the ultimate opportunists!! We certainly always make sure we "keep on top of Honey" every now and then - just to remind her of her manners. For example, I like to always include one leashed pavement walk at least once a week, to remind her of her manners walking on lead - otherwise, too many walks off-leash in parks and suddenly, she starts "growing shoots" (as we Chinese say!) :-)

It also took me a long time to get Honey to pause by curbs, although she will do it automatically now. I think it is less to do with the curb though and more to do with me and my body language. I think if you can focus on practising with Penny to always keep the leash slack ( no tension), that is the key - the minute Honey feels slight tension on the lead, she will slow down to ease it off or turn back to check in case I'm heading off in a different direction. This means that if I just slow down slightly, she is very in tune to that and will quickly adjust her pace accordingly - so whether I pause to look at a shop window or slow down as I approach a curb, it's the same to her. I think that has been the real secret to our success of getting her to pause and wait at curbs. It's not so much teaching her about curbs as teaching her to be constantly watching you and matching you.

We did use the word "Wait" for curbs initially and still do from time to time - I find that I don't need a special work for that, as long you practise a very solid, reliable, instant "WAIT" in several different situations - the dog should instantly freeze and wait for the next command when they hear "Wait" - so we use it not just to mean waiting for permission (like the food bowl - which we do use at all mealtimes) - but we also use it for lots of other situations where I want Honey to just instantly stop whatever she is doing and just freeze and wait there until I give the next command. You can actually practise this using an exciting game and rewarding the dog everytime she pauses when you say "WAIT!"...and then gradually increasing the difficulty.


Unknown said...

Oh, forgot to say - thank you for the info about the interactive toys special offer!

parlance said...

Hsin-Yi, that comment is so full of interesting info that I'll have to save it to my desktop so I can think about it. The one behaviour I think I'll start right away is to take Penny for an on-lead 'close' walk every couple of days.

We used to do that but have become complacent lately about her behaviour - which, consequently, is deteriorating.

When we used to go to K9 in Lilydale, every session began with walking around the room at heel, sitting, dropping, etc. (Oh, I so miss K9!!)