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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Do Humans Need Training Too?

Yes, I think they do. Today in our second dog training class, I was very uncoordinated for some reason. I couldn’t guide Singer while she weaved around orange cones by doling out treats at the proper time. I had to do the whole routine over again, with treats in my left hand so I could treat her faster (she was on my left side). The second time around, Singer was able to respond beautifully. We were practicing the heel command and she was supposed to look at me when I said “heel” as we angled around the cones, and I treated her the instant she looked at me. Singer fell right into the game, as if she were in a dog show. She knew the routine, it all came back to her. I was the problem.

For some reason, I wasn’t able to coordinate walking around cones and keeping my eye on Singer, while treating her at the exact time she rounded the cone. I think I need the class more than her at times. First, I have to get my act together so Singer clearly knows what I’m trying to show her. If nothing else, these classes show owners that they need this training just as much as their dogs do.

We were still struggling with “sit” and “down” today, although she is doing better. However, there was one game we played today that Singer excelled in. She was allowed to sniff a container with really enticing bits of meat inside of it, and then I called her name. If she looked up at me, she was treated; if she came when I called, she was given the jackpot—a fistful of goodies.  Singer quickly caught on. I asked the teacher about it, explaining that she was looking at my treat hand and ignoring the pot of meat on the floor, expecting me to treat her. The teacher said I could go sit down, she “patterns easily.” She'd figured it out, and was on to our little trick. The other dogs were still trying to get at the meat container, and were torn between the meat and their owners. So Singer “patterns easily.”  I think that means she’s smart. But I knew that, I’m her mom! Too bad I can’t take credit for her brains. Her breeder and previous owner deserve that credit.

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