Friday, June 08, 2012

Dogs--training them, loving them

Sophie demonstrating that she has learned "stay"
I"m not sure if I wasn't consistent enough or if Sophie, at almost thirteen months, has calmed down enough to learn some commands. Early on she was good about "sit" and "down" (as in lie down--not don't jump, which she hasn't quite mastered yet) and then she learned, to my surprise, "drop it" and "leave it." She got so that she would ignore Scooby's food if he hadn't eaten it. And she knows to wait at the open front door until I tell her it's okay to go out. She does that with a leash, and the last time I tried it with Jordan and Jacob on the porch, she completely lost it. Who knows what she'd do if no one was there and she wanted to bolt. Still we're moving in the right direction.
But now I'm delighted that she has learned (and accepted) "stay" and "come"--of course, so far she's only done that in a training situation. And when she obeys "come" I bribe her with a tiny bit of processed cheese--the kind I won't eat (hmmm, maybe I shouldn't feed it to my dog either!).
Being half poodle and half border collie, she's smart as a whip. Obedience is less a question of knowing what I want from her than of her decision about whether or not she wants to do it. But as she settles down, she's more inclined to do what I want. A friend posted on Facebook the other day about wanting a Velcro dog and I guess that's what I always want--a dog who will stick by my side, no matter what, lie contentedly at my feet, etc. In view of that, I have a poor record in choosing breeds--an Aussie who was wild until (but devoted) until he was ten and now this Bordoodle. Both as sweet and loving as they can be but independent, lively, with minds of their own.
Someone asked me the other day how much longer I plan to stay in my house, and I replied I never even think about that. I can't imagine life without dogs, and my current dogs would never survive in an apartment retirement home, even if it allowed dogs. (The other reasons I won't go there are for another blog.) They like the outdoors, and I like being able to open the door and let them run into the yard--okay, Scooby now sort of hesitates but he goes. There have been very few periods in my life when I didn't have a dog or two or three. Yes, they're work, and sometimes a pain, but they are so worth it and they return threefold the love you give them.
I frequently repost on Facebook dogs that are up for adoption, some in immediate danger of euthanasia, and it makes me wish I could take every one of them. Some people are cat people; I'm a dog person.

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