Friday, 2 September 2011

returning to training

At last, Cindy, our long time trainer, has restarted her regular sessions! And what have I discovered, after a year away from training? I've discovered that Penny is still clever and I'm still clumsy and uncoordinated. But Penny doesn't care and I sure don't.

Cindy lent me a book called 'The Other End of the Leash', after I told her how much I enjoy the author's blog. I haven't read far into the book yet, but in the early part the author, Patricia McConnell, looks at the ways we humans use our bodies when interacting with our dogs.

So today, on a lovely spring day, after a quiet time in the sun for Penny and hard work in the garden for me,

three of us set out for Yarra Bend Park.

We practised 'come', to get ourselves in the mood for some work, and tried out the idea of leaning slightly away from Penny to avoid crowding into her body space when she arrives. Did I say leaning SLIGHTLY away? I think my directions from behind the camera might have been unclear, lol.

On the other hand, Penny did beautiful 'comes', racing towards her human and sitting precisely in front.

Even though Penny's 'come' is usually good, we thought we'd try the idea of calling her and moving away as she arrived. Patricia McConnell explains the logic of it like this:
The best way to get a dog to come to you is to turn away from him and move in the opposite direction (which is actually "toward you" from the standpoint of the dog)...Dogs want to go the way that you're going, and to a dog that's the way that your face and feet are pointing.
In a way it was silly to be changing our established 'come' command, but it was fun to vary things and see what happened. After all, we're not practising for obedience competitions, we're simply out to have fun and communicate well with Penny. Here's a picture of her arriving in a rush as her human walks off in the opposite direction.


Two Pitties in the City said...

It looks like Penny has been doing so great! I always feel like my dogs know what they're doing, but it's really me that's hindering the training process.

curator said...

What an interesting note on how to get dogs to "come"! I see why that would work.

Lassiter Chase and T said...

Wow that is interesting. Mommy will have to pay attention to when I come to her, maybe she will try turning slightly. Thanks for posting!

parlance said...

Two Pitties, I so know what you mean! My trainer said to me last week that the dog is clever but the human is dumb, lol. (We're good friends, so she can insult me and I know it's just for fun.)

parlance said...

Curator and Lassiter Chase, it's a great book to read, and the blog is always interesting and informative. I'm going to try other ideas from the book.