Thursday, October 10, 2013

Everyday Dog Training

I used to think I was a decent dog trainer.  Now that my sister knows how to do it professionally, I realize I am actually pretty lousy at it.  Most of that is just laziness, or not being able to see around the seeming pointlessness of some of the standard tricks.  What really is the point of teaching a dog to roll over?  Is this a precaution against her ever catching fire?

Fortunately, we have a smart dog who catches on quickly.  We've had the best success in "everyday training," which is basically about learning to communicate.  She's picked up several vocabulary words in the short three months we've been working with her.

Basic tricks down cold, by voice or hand command:

  • sit
  • down
  • stand
  • "sit pretty" (like a circus dog)

What more do you really need?  Maybe "come" and "stay."  Both of those are still a little tenuous, but the foundation is there.

Extra words, phrases, and general communication:
  • get in your crate (works best at bedtime)
  • breakfast
  • hungry
  • food (a favorite)
  • eggs
  • eggs for food (the best of all worlds)
  • squirrel (actually looks where I'm pointing now)
  • in the chair (when her toy "disappears")
  • outside
  • inside
  • c'mon (she's a slow walker on leash)
  • baby (referring to her)
  • good girl

It's always exciting to see that glimmer of understanding when we talk to the little critter.  It makes me wonder if she draws any other conclusions about her world.  She knows what happens when she goes outside; does she assume that's what we're doing when we leave her here?  The jingly keys mean going outside.  When we leave with the jingly keys, does she imagine we're going for a car ride or taking a stroll around the neighborhood without her?  I guess we'll never know.  


  1. Love training dogs :) - they are so fun!! We have one who knows all of her toys by name, but if you tell her to get one that she isn't in the mood to play with she stomps her feet at you - it's hilarious! She definitely has her favorites - and her opinions.

    Thanks for sharing this :)

    1. Thanks! Ours also digs imaginary holes for her special rawhide cookies and then covers them with imaginary dirt. So precious!