A Different Kind Of Training

The in-laws got a puppy. Not only a puppy but a border-collie cross. Not the best idea for an elderly couple who are not particularly active but someone thought it was going to be a good thing. She spends lots of time with Daisy, our dog who is practically perfect. That’s good she can learn basic good dog skills from Daisy. We are miles from anywhere so they get to run loose, Daisy never roams at all, she’s a very good influence. There is, however,  only so much a dog can learn through osmosis.

They are working on training I’m sure but I have wanted to try clicker training with a dog and here was my chance. This is all new to me. I’ve played with Daisy a little bit but, as I’ve said, she’s practically perfect. I couldn’t think of anything to train her to do. She rolls over now, and gets all excited when I go to work my horse, but that’s about it. I’ve been reading up on Sue Ailsby’s dog training instructions and was excited to get started.

Sadly we couldn’t start at the starting point. Anything that requires more than one person, me, is difficult to do. My husband is busy, kids are small and scatter brained. We are improvising. Poor Daisy got locked in the house, she knows when treats are being fed and knows my marker. The puppy, she’s gone through many names, I’m not sure what to teach her to come to, is sweet and willing and seems to pick things up quickly. I have the basics down decently, I think, with horses but dogs are a learning experience. Thinking frantically back to my instructions we worked on absolute basics.

She’s young and wanders enough that I was able to work on coming to me without another person to play with. She learned “zen” easily. In horses it’s manners but taught in almost the exact same manner, ignore all attempts to get you to give them the treat until they turn away the click and reward. She eventually laid down and I reinforced that greatly. My end goal is manners first and foremost. If I figure this out there will be lots of extras, like with the horses, but for now I want her to stop jumping on my small children. They are right down there where sharp puppy teeth and claws do the most damage and are easily intimidated once she gets started. I want her to learn to sit or lay when she approaches people for attention, children especially but also my nearly 80 year old mother-in-law.

Hopefully we can keep this up. Children shouldn’t get in the way to badly, and are in fact a necessary part of the training since I want to train her to behave around them. She’s a fun new project while I’m not finding time to work Rusty.

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