In these texts, Amy describes the process of teaching her dog, Max, how to obey commands…well, at least most of the time.
Um, I have a dog, who is a mix of a border collie, lab, and blue tick hound. I think he’s also part dalmation or greyhound. Something that runs really fast because he’s the fastest dog in the dog park for sure. Um, but we got Max when he was about a year old, and he really needed a little bit of obedience training. Um, he’s a little bit hyper, and needed some attention, so….I wasn’t really sure how to do that. I’ve never had a dog that needed obedience training. And, um, so I decided to sign…to take Max to a class. So we went to, um, doggie school. And we took a six week, a six week class.
Now, the ?rst week of the class, um, I got there at the beginning of the class and it was really nice. They give all the dogs like 15, 20 minutes – a little bit of time – to play with each other. Just so they can get all that excited — ah, dogs around, dogs around– all that, get that over and done with so that they can actually get to work and learn the commands that they’re there to learn. And, um, the ?rst week we learned, um, “Sit.” And Max was a little bit stubborn about that. He’s not really, uh, food’s not a big motivator for him. And the whole crux, the focus of the class is that you need to give treats in order for the dog to learn the command. And so I had a little difficulty ?nding just the right treat for Max to motivate him enough to learn all the commands. But I ?nally found that chicken was a really good one. And sometimes I’d add a little cheese with it, but, uh, chicken worked really well. So, anyway, he learned “Sit” by the end of the ?rst class, and then I’d come home for the next week before the next class and we’d practice sit again and again and again. And he actually got it. He did great.
Now, the next week I went back to class and Max needed to learn the command for “Come.” Now, I don’t know if you know anything about hounds, but “come” is not a real strong suit, um, for hounds. And so, um, I was a little bit nervous about this. I was afraid that Max would embarrass me in the class. I knew that the other dogs were doing really well at learning their commands. And I knew that this was going to be a difficult one for Max. So I starved him. I didn’t feed him all day, so that by the time he got to the class that evening, he would be so hungry for that treat that he was gonna come when I called him. And sure enough, it worked. (Laugh) Pretty clever, huh?
Now, anyway, the class went on, uh, for the next four weeks and we learned lots of different commands: “Stay”, and “Find Your Spot” which is one that Joe and I use quite often for Max when he’s at the table begging for dinner. Um, I say, “Max, ?nd your spot.” And he’ll go to his bed, uh, and won’t beg. So, that works really well. I think that’s a very valuable command for us.
Now, the interesting thing about this class was that not only did we teach verbal commands, but we taught, um, hand signals as well. And the other people were having a hard time coming up with hand signals, but it was really nice for me. I just taught Max signs. So, when my parents come to visit, Max is able to, uh, they’re able to give Max all the commands that I can do verbally, and he actually listens. So the class was well worth it.