Feb 6, 2018 | Serra's Story

Things we have successfully worked on without concentrating on working on them:

– not barking when he doesn’t get his way – for instance, when Syn has a toy that he wants. Mostly now he just lies nearby, stares at her, and sighs heavily every once in a while.

– getting out of my way. He started out thinking that he could lie wherever he wanted to and the world would go around him. For this I have always used my brother-in-law’s training method. As someone at a party once said about his Seeing Eye dog: “Did you see that? He comes in the room and she gets up and moves out of his way! It’s as if she KNOWS he’s blind!” Or, more likely, if someone tripped and fell down on top of you several times, you’d figure out lying in his path was not a viable option.

– responding to the GET AWAY FROM ME signal when his beard is full of snow water or gravy or dog poop.

– not looking deep into the toilet when he has a loose grip on a toy.

– in fact, not looking deep into the toilet when he has a firm grip on a toy.

– actually, not looking deep into the toilet any time at all.

– the fact that the “This is for Stitch, this is for Syn, this is for Serra” game works even if I’m tossing orange peel or raw meat.

– his food dish disappears if he runs off in the middle of eating. Yes, even if the neighbour is coming in the front door. Thou Shalt Not Leave Thy Dish With Food In It.

– thanks for running ahead of me into the dog room when I’m carrying the dish, but if he takes his eyes off me I stop walking in that direction. BAM. That only took one rep. No way he’s letting me stop on my way to the feeding station if he can help it!

Things we never did work on that he knows:

– his riding-in-the-car behaviour is utterly fabulous. Sometimes I pull over and check to be sure I didn’t leave him somewhere.

– he suddenly decided he can jump on the grooming table. More, that he’d LIKE to jump on the grooming table.

– front feet go on a little stool while he’s eating (physio recommendation).

– blame the breeder for this one – impeccable food dish manners. He wouldn’t think of diving into a dish without permission. Even with his feet on his stool he won’t start until I’ve told him (usually twice).

Things I know we worked on but it didn’t seem like we worked on them enough for them to be as great as they are:

– loose leash walking. Not fabulous but pretty darn good.

– nail grinding. ZERO discussion. It’s a pleasure. I lay him down on the table, and I take each foot in turn and grind his nails.

– stacking on the PawPods. Lovely.

It is tough to be a guy!