Friday, 22 January 2010

Penny learns a new command - 'dig'

When we used to go to K9 Kompany - I won't lament again the demise of that wonderful venue - Cindy was teaching Penny the command 'dig'. We would do it by hiding a treat under a towel and when Penny started to use her paws to move the towel aside to get at the treat, I'd say 'dig'.

What is the point of the 'dig' command, you might ask. Well, if I remember correctly, it's intended for film work. The dog learns to lie down and then do the 'dig' movement, and it looks as if the dog is dying. I wouldn't want to see any films where dogs die, so I guess I'll never find out whether I've remembered this correctly. But I seem to recall some movies where horses got shot and lay there moving their legs like that. (Not that I want to see dying horses in movies either, by the way!)

Our attempt at the trick wasn't all that successful, to be honest, maybe because, when we first got her and I read all the dog books, they recommended discouraging digging. So she now has to unlearn the fact that digging is not desirable.

However, when Penny went to stay with Cindy for five fun-filled days, Cindy sent us some pictures of Penny digging in a sand pit up there in Healesville, so I thought we could try the command again at the beach this morning.

And yes, she's learned to dig on command. Or has she learned to dig whenever she wants to? I guess time will tell on that one.

Here she is digging on command:



It's a rather energetic activity, as you can see from this photo:

4 comments:

Honey the Great Dane said...

Oooh- how funny! We taught Honey to dig on command during our visits to the beach too! She's not a natural digger (luckily!) - she's so lazy that she can't even be bothered to dig a hole for her bones - just pushes leaves & mud over them with her nose - but she will dig on command if we go to the beach. I haven't tried to ask her to do it anywhere else so I wonder if she could do it or whether she has only associated that command with 1 substrate (sand). I agree that there probably isn't much usefulness for this command - but then you could probably say that for a lot of the tricks & moves we teach our dogs (and the same for the a lot of the things people learn at university. Surely learning woodword and cooking classes is more useful in real life than studying philosophy and pure calculus?!) but it's nice just to challenge the brain and learn thing "just for fun", I think!

Hsin-Yi

happy said...

Couldn't view the video. It says 'this is a private video...'

It must be entertaining to watch Penny dig.

parlance said...

Happy, thanks for pointing out that, yet again, I forgot to make it public. I've changed it.

parlance said...

Honey, it's true that lots of the tricks are pretty useless, but nevertheless, fun, lol. Penny's most unfavorite trick is backing away from me, especially since she has to back away from the treat I'm going to give her.

But, see, she's doing philosophy - we have to move away in order to gain the reward. I call it the non-university parlance school of philosophy!