Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Right Motivator

Some dogs are easy to train; other dogs are more, shall we say, self directed. Any dog raised from a puppy, should and will do what’s requested with minimal training.
In the house all of my dogs obey, even the pups, Lucky and Robert Redford have nice manners. Lola hasn’t been with me long, but she’s an attentive girl and seldom leaves my side when I’m out in the yard.
Blondie and Chi-Ping, resident street dogs before adoption, are very to totally self directed as soon as they’re out the door. Chi-Ping, the little whore, will offer sits while giving intense eye contact any time food is to be had. Blondie’s behavior suggests an anthropomorphic attitude of: I’m here; what more do you want? I don’t want to sit. Sit, I don’t remember that one. And she’s pretty convincing.
If I call Chi-Ping as she’s heading down the driveway, I’ll get the over the shoulder: I love you, later look, while she goes wherever. Blondie doesn’t even look.
My squeak signals food; Robert Redford and Lucky come running right away. Lola heads home when she hears the door open. Blondie and Chi, may or may not come, if anything is more interesting, they will not.
The neighbors feed Blondie and Chi leftovers the same as when they were street dogs, so kibble and biscuits aren’t worth the trip up the hill. Please, keep in mind that these dogs, especially Blondie have spent more time at the neighbors than with me, having lived in the street here for about four years before adoption.
Being concerned that all five come when called, I decided today to practice the recall with something properly motivational. After my dinner I opened the door, Lola appeared, the boys bounded up the driveway, as quickly as I squeaked, Blondie and Chi-Ping, who were over six hundred feet up the hill, galloped like Kentucky Derby winners to the porch.
What makes this story interesting is that at six hundred feet they heard the squeak, and smelled the fried chicken skin intended for them. Since they don’t run like that when it’s cooking they must have heard the squeak to know it was for them and at that distance to zero in on the smell is impressive. What do you think?

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