By Shelley Crawford –
I train other people’s dogs in my home with an emphasis on problem solving as well as obedience. I believe the two go hand in hand. You can’t jump on your owner in the car if you’re in a sit or down stay. As promised, Kiddo the Black Lab/Bloodhound mix 4 month old puppy got his first training ride to the PetStore. So with two leashes and two collars, one flat collar and one micro-prong collar we head to the truck. I say “Hup Up” which is my command for get up in the truck. Of course Kiddo is still too small to jump up into the truck seat. But I’m get him used to hearing the words and pick him up and put him on the passenger’s seat. Expecting the worse I hitch up the leash on the flat collar to the handle bar located at eye level in vehicles next to the windshield. I toss the other leash across to the driver’s seat and go around and get in. I also brought his “place bed” a white Sherpa-like dog bed called “Quiet time”. I use it to teach the “place” command. He’s familiar with this bed and it’s meaning to “go to your place, lay down and stay there”. We pull out of the driveway and he’s as calm as can be. Remember, this dog has a very soft personality needing minimal correction. I expected this puppy to be as bad as my boxer Panzer who was a real bugar bear to train. The owner had expressed that she was having problems getting Kiddo to behave in the car. So flashbacks of my Boxer Panzer jumping on my lap, growling, nipping being a general nuisance during the ride. How happily surprised I was to see Kiddo just sitting on the dog bed on the seat like a puppy angel. As we are driving he just lays down like he’s ready for a nap. Lucky me! During the ride I enjoy scratching him behind the ears and patting him and saying what wonderful boy he is.
We arrive at the PetStore. We get out. First thing we see is a bunch of birds eating bird seed under a tree in the parking lot. Kiddo tries to pull toward them, small pop correction. He sits. Instead of going directly into the store we work some sits and downs walking around the parking lot a bit. Being a busy Saturday there are loads of distractions. This is what I’m here for and I hit the jackpot. I see the tell tail (pun) dogs on prong collars pulling their owners into the store. We arrive at the front door. Kiddo auto-sits and people can’t resist a cute puppy so they ask to pet him. I say “Yes, but if he gets up, licks you or paws you, you have to stop”. Kiddo breaks the stay, by doing all the above. I correct him on the prong/leash, small pop. Saying, “Ahh! No. Sit. No licking.” The one lady says, “Awe no puppy kisses?” I say “Do you know what he was licking just before he licked you? You wouldn’t let a person just come up and lick you. Would you?” She laughs and says, “Oh yeah. That’s just gross.” I’m always surprised at what people will let a dog do that they would never consider letting a person do.
Moving on into the store there’s a man sitting in a chair holding the leash of a bouncy barking standard poodle on a Gentle Leader head collar. This is a collar the owner’s feel is more able to control the dog based on the theory that if you have control of the head you have control of the dog. It may work for horses but it does not for dogs. Kiddo being such a sweet dog is just soaking up this action like a sponge. We encounter at least 4 or 5 families all with one thing in common. They don’t mind dog’s licking them. So Kiddo and I get a lot of practice needless to say.
All in all Kiddo did a great job. Better than I ever hoped for. Kudos’ to Kiddo! Great job little guy! You’re a pleasure to train.
Coming soon. Kiddo’s first trip to the dog park. This is a perfect opportunity to start working him outside the house using the long line. We go tomorrow if it’s not still raining from Tropical Storm Fay passing by, again and again and again. I think it’s rained over 20 different times today in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Only 4 months left to go until Hurricane season is over.
Thanks for reading and Happy Training!