Daily thoughts by a guy that doesn't like to think deeply too often!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Smart Doggies!

Joel, Mom and Martha came by to visit Lady yesterday. It's been a couple of weeks since the altercation that ripped her from their home, and they were anxious to see her and make sure that she was happy in her new home. Joel brought Lucy with him and was brave enough to put her down next to Lady so they could see each other. I wouldn't have done that, but Joel had confidence that everything would be OK. And it was.
When Lady lived with Mom, she received extensive training (Boarding School, Boot Camp, weekly lessons for over a year). The only problem is that I wasn't part of any of these training sessions, so I didn't know any of the commands that Lady knows. Well, Mom and Joel taught me everything I needed to know about Lady yesterday. We had a training session in the back yard and I was amazed with how much this little dog knows. As long as I used the right commands, I could get her to walk beside me without a leash. Every time I stopped walking, she would sit down beside me. She would never walk past me, but always right at my side. When we got to the end of the yard, I told her to lay down and she did. I told her to stay and she did. I was able to walk all the way back to the house and she stayed until I turned around and said "Come"-- at which point she ran to me at lightening speed. She wasn't even distracted by King or Clara. They followed us around the entire time-- King galloping in circles around her and occasionally giving her his trademark body slam! She never lost her concentration-- just kept on eye on me for a signal of what to do next. But for the fact that she has aggression issues, she's the perfect dog. It's strange that she can learn to be so obedient, yet the one part of her psyche that needs to be altered will not be trained out of her. I think that a little socialization with larger dogs will whip her into shape eventually. Her ranking as the newest member of the pack seems to be helping.

This morning I had some alone time with Lady in the sunroom. We went through all of her lessons and she did everything perfectly again. King wandered in while we were training, and believe it or not, he joined right in and followed Lady's lead. When I told her to lay down, they both did. When I told her to stay, they both did. I don't know where this came from-- up til now he's only been able to sit and shake and that's it. Today, he was a different dog! I really believe that dogs like being trained. They are happy to follow commands- you can see it in their faces. And when Lady was getting her positive affirmations ("Good girl!"), I think King got jealous and wanted to do the same as Lady.

Shelby even joined us a little later and I had all three of them staying, laying down and coming when called. Pretty amazing. Although Shelby has always been able to do these "tricks", it was cool to see her join the kids and have a little fun!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Lady was in her former home, would it have been possible for her to be kept and fed in her own house and Lucy kept and fed in her own house? They might have been better off not socializing??? Sometimes it's those little dogs that think they're so "big". Just commenting and wondering.

12:29 PM

Blogger Brian said...

Lady's aggressive behavior was exhibited mostly around food issues (feeding time, treats, etc.), but she went after a coule of neighbor's in the past too while Mom was walking her. I think she was trying to protect Mom (from what she perceived as a threat), but all it takes is one bite and Mom would be facing a law suit. Being in an apartment, Mom and Martha had to walk her every day past other people's doors, and it was too big of a risk that she might go off on another dog, a neighbor or a child. I agree with you that a lot of little dogs have a "big dog" attitude and challenge other dogs, but that wasn't the case here. Lucy never started it.

5:36 PM

Anonymous Joel said...

Just to add to the above.... Lady was raised with Lucy being the dominate one. Lady loves Lucy to death. I think Lucy is also fond of Lady but I wouldn't say she loves her back the same amount. Lady and Lucy have always played together rather well. Lady somethimes simply gets too rough. For that reason I have almost never left them alone together. There was a nasty incident two years ago when Lady bit Lucy's ear and it bled and bled and bled. I had worked with both of them giving them treats at the same time so that neither one would get jealous. They both love their treats. Two weeks ago Lady just temporarily lost it thinking Lucy was going to get a treat when mother went into the utility room on her way to get the treats. I think if Lady could have expressed regret she certainly would have. Lady has been given treats at the end of dog training class every week amongst several other dogs and she is always very shy.

Finally, she is completely unpredictable with strangers. Even strangers she sees everyday. She becomes aggresive for no reason at all. Even using the training techniques is relatively ineffective. This is the real season she had stoping living here. The Lucy/Lady event was just a wake up call that Lady is too big for Martha or Mother to manage.

Sorry for the long repsonse but I wanted everyone to know that Lady is really a good dog and not some viscous monster.


8:07 PM

Blogger Brian said...

I hope I never made Lady sound like a vicious monster. She's a total joy to be around. I feel like a kidnapper or a father in a custody battle having her here though. I know that this is the right place for her to be, but it's a little akward at this stage while Mom is still heart-broken over the lose, and I'm overjoyed at the gain. I think we need to get Mom a new dog soon- a small one this time!

8:34 PM

Anonymous Joel said...

I never meant to imply that you were making Lady a Monster. It's just the story line for the reason she left was so sobering at first, little dog gets attackd by big dog!! You are a lifesaver and I'm glad you were able to come to the rescue.


8:56 PM


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