January 22nd, 2010


According to the Dog

The most boring thing a human can possibly do is stare at this glowing box here. The next most boring thing is nap. Staring at the bigger glowing thing in the other room is also boring, but occasionally it makes interesting noises. Preparing and/or eating food would be interesting because food! but he usually gets bored and wanders off eventually because the humans are greedy and don't share.

The most interesting thing a human can do is get his leash. He likes that. He'll also perk up and pay attention if you're putting on shoes or getting a jacket, because then you might be going somewhere and maybe he can come? Can he come? Please?

He solicited a training session last night, which was interesting. We were trying to get him to associate being in the tub and the shower with positive things like treats so that when we get around to bathing him he will not freak completely out (this will be tricky, because based on his reaction to seeing Cathy watering some plants, he's scared of running water). So we were being enthusiastic about the tub, and then he didn't want to go in it again so we switched to being enthusiastic about the shower. He had his confused face on during most of this. Tail wagging, so he was okay with the whole process, but he clearly couldn't figure out what we were so excited about. After he got a couple treats in the shower, he wandered off a bit and play-bowed and chewed on his Nylabone a little, then did a lovely Sit and Down with no directions, and looked at us and wagged a bunch, and generally gave off the general impression that he would just love to play that game where we tell him to do things and he does them and we give him treats. So we did that for a while. He's gotten good at Touch (where he touches your fingers with his nose), and was willing to jump up to reach the fingers. He's got pretty good two-legged balance, it turns out. We will need to think of something clever to do with this that does not encourage him to put paws on the furniture or counters or people.

I wish it were as easy to explain that we would like him to ignore other humans and (especially) dogs when we are out walking as it's been to explain that we would like him to sit or lie down or touch something. Obedience class is probably useful practice in ignoring other dogs, but it would be nice to have more controlled opportunities to practice sitting quietly off to the side while another dog walks by (because if we're not moving, I can give him treats and reinforce the good behavior; if we're walking he'd rather do that than eat), or to walk quietly at a measured distance past a dog that will behave itself and not do anything particularly attention-getting like barking at him. There are a lot of dogs in the neighborhood that seem to spend a lot of time alone in their yards, and they are not being helpful. Especially that black one around the corner -- he'll bark when we're on the other side of the street.
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