Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Hard Way

You know what I'm looking forward to next in Rockets' potty training odyssey? Other than of course, actual permanent potty training, I am looking forward to in addition to the  mythical promise of potty training, I am looking forward to eating lunch at lunch.

It's been a long time, I haven't had a nice quite lunch in months! I haven't picked up a book since before I brought him home! The battery on my Kindle died from lack of use and I have had whole issues of Entertainment Weekly gather dust! Its just too wrong.

The next step with Rockets training, now that he is exactly 28 weeks old, or 6.4 months, is to begin to start not coming home for lunch. I've been forced to experiment with it in the past, to predictability soggy results but I think that he's older now and I think is time to start the process. I really can't come home for forever, and he is not going to learn that he can hold until he has to hold it.

Today we started Operation Sit. Months ago, in Puppy Pre-School he learned the command and what that word meant, and he would do it, kind of, as long as the instructor was there. He wasn't as good as doing it for me but my emphasis was on Coming When Called and this was what I chose to really concentrate on and today, he comes when called. He does not however "sit" on command. Yet.

On our walk today I learned that he is very food motivated. He won't sit on the command but he will at sight of the treat and no treaty no sitty. We then worked on sitty-no-treaty because he is a dog and I am his master and when I say "sit" it is not a negotiation and I do not want to make deals with him.

But, he is till young and open to bribery and that is how you train a dog. You say "sit" and stands and looks at you. You say "sit" and push his back end down. He spins in circles. You firmly repeat "SIT", once and push his back end down and he sits, grudgingly. You  tell him he's a "Good Dog!" and reward him with a bit of bit of treat and you keep this up until the first time you don't have to push his back end down first and then you give him an extra big Good Boy and a whole treat for his good work.

And then you do this over and over and over and over. And he will refuse to do it over and over and over and over. Until he just does it and you pass out from sheer joy and exhaustion. And this is how you teach your dog every skill.  That first "Sit" on command? four thousand repetitions - if the dog is a genius, otherwise you can tack twenty-five  hundred more on for an average dog. The proses of teaching "Stay" will make you re-evaluate your entire philosophy of life.

You don't even want to get into "roll over".

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