Zydeco and I are so fortunate to have Jaime Rosier of Goldilocks and the Hound Hikers (http://www.houndhikers.org/) on the socialization team. Today Zydeco had a blast meeting Skylar, a little firecracker of a girl that taught him some really nice lessons today about how dogs play…. Ohhh, it was lovely to see Zydeco finally getting the invite from a more playful dog for a change since none of the other dogs in his life are interested in this sort of thing, and honestly, other than some attempts at mounting (which Skylar said a very clear and appropriate no to), he really was pretty darn polite I have to say. He has some good skills. I particularly like the tumble, roll, I am so cute when I’m upside down aren’t I? technique! 🙂
Lesson #1: You don’t just jump into bed with a girl. You have to charm her for awhile, roll around a little, and look really really cute first. Then, if you are really lucky, she might play with you.
Lesson #2: The grownup dog initiates the play, and stops the play when she is done. This is non negotiable.
Lesson #3: Some girls play rough–but as long as we remember the “time out” rule, it’s all in good fun.
Lesson #4 When done playing, it is polite to offer a lady a drink from your pool and go sniff around the yard a bit.
Lesson #5: NO MOUNTING ever! Not acceptable, not allowed, no way, no how. (Skylar VO: “You are much to young for me anyway, young man! Mind your manners please! “:)
Go to place is a basic behavior I’ve taught many many times, but I honestly never get tired of watching the light bulb moment where the dog goes: “Aha! That is what I’m being clicked for. Got it!”
Zydeco is quickly becoming one of those rapid-fire super-learners I was talking about in my previous post. He has taken to clicker training like a duck to water. This is one of those puppies that I’m convinced would respond to more invasive or forceful methods with escalating aggression. If he even senses any physical or social pressure, he comes right at ya locked and loaded… But because clicker training is so hands-off and respectful, look how thoughtful and studious he is while learning his Go Place cue. I particularly love the little jaunty twirl he adds each time before laying down. (Our boy does it with style!)
Zydeco responds best to quiet, calm, short, focused sessions like this, followed by more active play. Already he has learned the following behaviors to near fluency: Name Response, Recall, Get in Your House (crate cue), Sit, Down, Leave-it, Take-it, Touch, OKAY!, Let’s Go, Wait, and now Go Place. He now also has a default sit at gates and doorways, when he sees the leash, when he wants something, and a default settle much of the rest of the time (when he’s not playing, sleeping, or raising hell that is). He is amazing!