I have never done dog training so another new experience today and I have come to the conclusion that my dog is an idiot!
I do not say that lightly, I love her dearly and I actually thought that she was quite a smart dog that would learn quickly, turns out I was wrong. She has the attention span of a fly and is so easily distracted I believe she may have ADHD and need the doggy equivalent of Ritalin!
Boo’s history is a sad one. She was rescued by the RSPCA early March 2012. Some kind person phoned the RSPCA ‘hotline’ to report a skinny dog in someones back yard. When the inspectors went to investigate ‘skinny’ didn’t come close. A young adult boxer cross, she weighed less than ten kilos when they found her, she was quite literally a skeleton with skin. She was kept in a filthy yard, no soft area to lie, no cover, no water and no food. She was an anxious girl but grateful to see a friendly face peeking over the fence, she wagged her tail and that was that, confiscated, rescued, saved by the RSPCA. I know having seen the pictures of her on the day that she was found had she stayed in that situation another couple of weeks she would have died. They saved her.
We adopted her 24th April 2012 and called her ‘Miss Billie Boo Bear’ ~ Boo for short
She has been quite hard work. It was clear that she had never been in a house, she had no toilet training ~ something that is bad enough with a puppy but a large, adult bowels dog, ewwww! She picked up very quickly that pooing indoors was not okay hence my assumption that she would learn quickly. She had never been properly walked, as an adult she had the palest pink baby pads on her big feet. So sad to see especially as we have always had a dog and know how much they love a walk. She was terrified. Every sound, every movement freaked her out. She is now far better but still anxious.
As a result of this start in life she has not had the socialization necessary to make her a well behaved dog and so we are doing the training.
Today was a first for both of us. We had started her training at home with basic commands, sit, down, wait, come, that kind of thing and they were all coming along quite well or so I thought, until we took her to doggy school where she concentrated for periods of no longer than 30 seconds at any one time. Any opportunity, I swear any chance, she launched feet first at peoples chests, she also wanted to eat the other dogs in particular the ‘pompom with legs’, it was marginally bigger than a guinea pig and right next to us. Embarrassing!
I took a big bag of doggy treats, stinky liver morsels that she loves, they were gone within half an hour. The reward thing is big in this type of training and goodness knows it works as the lovely lady who runs the group has two perfect dogs and I mean perfect. They do exactly what she says and the first time too, none of this “stay, stay, stay, STAY” lark! She says stay and they stay. Note to self, next week lots more treats and more variety to keep her from wanting to eat the pompom.
I was very well behaved and am sure I will get a gold star, I can walk nicely, stand in the right spot, reward frequently and with appropriate vocal encouragement, I never once stuck my feet where they were not wanted! The only area I have to work on is yanking my dog down with an exasperated ‘no’ when she launches at another dog or attempts to plant her feet on someones chest, apparently I have to be silent and ignore the behaviour! Tough one, you try it!
We will get better I am sure.