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After the recent third dog adoption saga, I’ve been spending more time appreciating just how great our dog friends are. Ginko will be 9 soon. Lilly will be 5 soon, and I think it took having an 18-month-old pup around to make me appreciate just how well-behaved my current buddies are. I’m not saying that they don’t have issues because clearly they do, but I’m taking more time to notice and marvel at how all the house manners work we’ve done over the years has paid off. That said, here is Ginko showing off his beautiful default SIT.
First, however, he demonstrates his vertical leaping skills. They aren’t what they used to be. As a youngster, his head would go higher than the door frame, but several years and two massive knee surgeries later, he can’t jump as high. Typically, we see at least 3-5 of these leaps at the back door when he wants to come in, but the ONE day I try to catch it on video, he only jumps once before offering me a nice SIT as a way of asking permission to come inside.
Notice too, his flying nun ears as discussed earlier (scroll down to comments).
Tom made me promise never to do Freestyle with Lilly. While he will watch these videos and be amazed along with me, he considers this version of dog training, just a tick past Crazy Dog Lady. This is from the recent Crufts dog show in the UK. I learned about it (again via Twitter) from a veterinarian named Marc Abraham. So, thanks to him for alerting me to this video. It’s really something, especially at the end, where she throws in some agility moves.
A writer friend told me about this video clip from the Australian fires. It shows a firefighter giving a surviving koala bear water. It’s very sweet. I can’t figure out how to embed, so you’ll have to click through.
Have you seen this video about an elephant and a dog who are best friends? Very sweet.
This video of dogs decorating a xmas tree is pretty funny. Clearly, a lot of training went into this.
As I mentioned recently, I’m having a HARD time resisting the urge to adopt another dog. I guess it’s my version of a biological clock ticking. I developed quite a suit of armor when I volunteered at our county shelter all those years, but clearly, it’s completely gone. So … when I got an email today saying that dog and puppy adoption fees were 50% off Dec 17, 18, and 19 at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley (where we adopted Lilly), I had to go look at the adoptable dog page. In doing so, I found some very clever adoptable dog videos. Had to share. (Any dog with an arrow next to its name has a video clip as part of the profile.)
One of my longtime editors/clients just sent me this video. It totally made me cry (and mad at all the people in cars who do not stop to help). I should add, silly me, that apparently the downed dog survived. Both dogs got off the highway safely and got help, I guess. Here’s a link to the same video with voice over.
Nervous habit compels me to look out windows as I move around the house to grab a snack or whatever during my workday. My goal, always, is to find the dogs and make sure they are OK. One day last week, I finally spied Lilly sitting stock still in the upper corner of our upper pasture. When I stepped out the front door, she shot like a rocket straight to me. I was so proud. So, I tried to recreate that long-distance recall in the video below.
Full disclosure: After I placed her in position, it took 3 tries to get her to STAY as I walked back across the bridge and into the parking area out front of the house.
And, granted, there were no distractions … like dogs or people walking by … so this is hardly a proofed recall, but still.
I know she’s hard to see at a distance, but Lilly is sitting near the post, halfway between the gate and the fenced corner to your right. She skits around the pond, jumps the creek below that you cannot see, pops up the first incline and comes to me at the top of the second. It’s much steeper than it looks on screen. And, oh, how I wish I could get her to pop the top of the A-Frame the way she pops up out of the creek.
Oh, and P.S., notice the lovely reverse crop circles that Tom cut in the pasture grass.
Our friend Hilary, who was Lilly’s first trainer at the shelter, emailed me a link to these videos from someone she knows through a group of “Truly Dog Friendly” trainers. The 2 videos (about 9 minutes each) show a Boston Terrier named Humbug learning to put his toys away. It begins with a regular game of fetch, then Suezanne M. Law from Sympawtico shapes the behavior into something new. Rather than a clicker and treats, she uses a marker word and the toy, but you get the idea.
Here’s a link to Suezanne’s blog entry, which includes the embedded videos. Since they are on YouTube, I could also embed them here, but out of fairness to her, I won’t. I’m sure she’d appreciate the blog traffic.
What’s interesting to me is the waiting and waiting for Humbug to figure it out. Watching this made me realize how much additional patience I need when shaping a behavior. I tend to jump to fast into asking Lilly to “Try again” when she makes a mistake.
I still think “Try Again” works, if it’s a behavior she already knows, but I should probably remove it from my early training vocabulary.
Come back here and tell me what you notice.
When I posted photos of Lilly in a sidecar recently, I heard from Van who is traveling the country with his rescued dog Bobaji. They ride around on a motorcycle with a sidecar attached to promote animals in shelters as great pets. They jokingly call it their “Neutered and Loving It Tour.” In this video from New York City, I think Bobaji looks a lot like Lilly when he smiles. It totally made me cry. If only our adventures could be this big.