Monday, May 01, 2006

Der Wunderhund

Now that Ahboo is getting more comfortable being at home (and peeing outside -- we just have to work on that poop thing), Hillary and I have started on training. I'm amazed at how quickly he's picking everything up, and how eager he is to learn.

Commands we've been learning:

"Go to bed" - This was our first one, since we need to be able to get him to go into the crate pretty often. He still takes some prodding sometimes, but that's more because he doesn't WANT to be stuck in the crate than because he doesn't understand what we want. The look he gives me when he's been out playing and I say "go to bed" is heartbreaking.

"Stay" - The second one we learned. At first, this was just to keep Ahboo in the crate if I had to open the door to change his water or give/take something. After a few days of him staying when instructed, I decided to try it outside the crate (with a treat in hand, of course). It worked! He didn't move an inch until I released him. Now I can even throw a treat right in front of him, and he won't move until I say it's okay. The only thing he has a problem with is if I leave the room, or if I walk around behind him. But considering we've only been working on this for a week, Ahboo's doing amazing with this one.

"Come" - Ahboo will come when we call him. If he wants to. And if he's not distracted. He's gotten better the last couple of days, but when we're out at the park and there are new places and people to see/sniff, we're on the Global Ignore List for a while. He also has this weird thing where he won't come to me if I leave the computer room and call him from the living room. I think it's mainly because this is generally followed by "go to bed".

"Sit" - We just started this one yesterday. At first, Ahboo didn't seem to understand what we wanted. Pushing on a dog's rear is supposed to make him want to sit, but Ahboo just started backing up. Finally we did the old "treat over the head" trick and got him to sit. Now he does it almost naturally after "come" (or if we just stand in front of him with a treat). Unfortunately, he generally doesn't do it without a treat. Yet.

So things are going very well with the new dog. We picked up a couple of toys over the weekend when we were in Coeur d'Alene, including the Kong. If you've never seen a Kong, it's the most ingenious canine torture device ever invented. It's a hard rubber chew toy with a hollow center, which you then put a treat inside. Since the treat is (mostly) inaccessible, the dog goes insane trying to get it out. We put a dab of peanut butter inside, and Ahboo played with his Kong for a good hour and a half. For a dog whose attention span is shorter than most television commercials, this is amazing.


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