As a corollary to an earlier post I wrote about what I do all day, you should know that I'm fond of dog training in these parts.
I know, it's a weird hobby. And yet, when I'm bored or tired or in need of a break, there the dog is--sitting or sleeping nearby. His default expression is boredom, so clearly, doing training is a step up in his day. (Plus, treats!)
I've triumphantly taught Remi to wait to eat until we've blessed his food (I pray and when I say "Amen," he can get his food), to sit, come, stay, and get "down" from the couch. Right now, we're working on "lie down."
By "working on," I mean that I'm pretty sure he's feigning ignorance so that he can eat tiny pieces of chicken all day.
You see, "lie down" has been in the works for weeks now. I make him sit and then draw his head down, as the internet suggests, but before he makes it, his butt pops up in the air. Or, I try to push his head down while he's eying the treat on the ground, and he just gets confused and resists me. Or, I physically start to lie him down and he rolls over in the belly rub position.
Yesterday I worked with him more than usual, because I'm determined to get him to learn. I did finally lure him into position today (Thank you, ASPCA website!), but not before he learned something else.
You see, last night, when The Lawyer came home, I was giving him a recount of the day and used the words "lie down" to describe what I had been doing with Remi. The minute Remi heard those words, his little head whipped around so fast that The Lawyer and I started laughing. I have never seen him respond so fast to two words ever. He quickly abandoned The Lawyer (his favorite person in the whole world), so that he could run to me and obediently sit and wait for his treat. He may have also licked his lips in giddy anticipation.
Except, he hadn't done anything.
Instead, I managed to effectively teach the dog that "lie down" means that he gets a treat for sitting still while Mommy pushes on various parts of his body trying to get him to lie down. *sigh* The Lawyer and I have to whisper "lie down," because if Remi hears it, he comes running with delight.
I don't have any videos yet, so here's one from when I was teaching Remi to "stay." Don't you even judge me for my pajamas mismatched socks, either. I was sick and didn't expect we'd be making a YouTube video that night!
And, since I feel like I should prove that this dog is teachable, this is what he looked like a couple of weeks later: