Heel – Part I

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In this video I start work on teaching the pup to heel.  For now, I just want him to come to me, walk around behind me and sit at my side.  Because I always walk him on my right side, I’m having him come around and sit on my right side.  I believe in showing the dog is usually on the left, but this is what works for me.  This one is definitely going to take some work.  Bentley likes to jump up at the treat rather than just coming around nicely, and he pulls back if I try to guide him with the leash.  But I’m sure he’ll get it eventually!  Just takes patience and practice!

Dogs and Car Washes

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Rotating brushes inside a conveyor car-wash.

Image via Wikipedia

The other day I picked up Bentley from day camp then decided to get the car washed on the way home.  This was Bentley’s first time through a car wash.  Despite his namesake, he did not like it at all.  The poor thing was whimpering and panting out of anxiety.

This is a tough situation to be in.  Our first inclination is to hug or pet the dog and tell him it’s ok.  Try to soothe him, try to calm him.  But all this does is reinforce in the dog that being scared of this strange thing is ok!  We do NOT want to reinforce scared behavior.  So, difficult as it was, I didn’t cuddle my poor puppy.  Instead, I tried talking to him in an upbeat voice to reinforce the fact that *I* wasn’t scared and thus there was nothing to be scared about.  He made it through the brief ordeal unscathed, and has not somehow developed a fear of the car.

DON’T REINFORCE SCARED BEHAVIOR!

Prairie Dog Antlers – Product Review

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Bentley is a chewer.  He loves nothing more than attacking a toy, obsessively ripping out every last bit of stuffing and destroying the squeaker within.  Behold the remains of a few of his toys.

Behold the destruction

Countless others have already been thrown away.  That orange rope? Used to be a raggedy cat.  That weird white ball?  Used to be a Kong Wubba.  That ball actually became his favorite toy after he’d peeled the “skin” off the toy.  He chews on it like it’s bubblegum and will even toss it around for himself.  Needless to say,  all this destruction is a big mess for me to clean up and costs quite a bit of money.

But at PetSmart the other day, I ran across a new “toy” for Bentley.  It’s a piece of deer antler from Prairie Dog Antlers.  Bentley absolutely loves it.  I don’t think he stopped chewing it for the first two days he had it.  It will get worn down eventually, but it’s already lasted a week and has barely changed shape, whereas most his toys last 20 minutes.  It’s also good for his teeth.  They are expensive (this one cost $19), but for how long it lasts and how much value Bentley is getting out of it, I think it’s well worth the price.  It also doesn’t leave polyester fluff all over the house for me to pick up!

Bentley and his Antler

If you have a dog that is a really big chewer, and none of his toys last, I highly recommend checking out Prairie Dog Antlers!  They have a range of sizes, including moose for the larger breeds.

Catch!

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In this video I do a quick little review of some tricks I’ve taught Bentley so far, as well as teaching him the “Catch” command.  This is one of those tricks that requires a lot of repetition, so once again I’m doing it at dinner time and using his kibble as the reward.  When he does actually manage to catch a piece of kibble out of the air, he also gets a higher value treat as a reward. I’m aiming right for his nose to make this really easy for him.  Once he gets better at it, I can make it more challenging by making him jump for the treat, but for now, we’re just working on learning what this new command means.  He figures out quickly what he’s supposed to do, we just need to work on mouth-eye coordination!