February 14th, 2012

Dog Training

I thought I understood dogs.  I understood positive reinforcement, and being the dog’s Pack Leader, and making learning fun for your dog... The one thing I didn’t understand, it turns out, is that you have to get your dog’s attention before you do anything else, or none of your training is worth anything.

Bonnie was ten months old when we got her and had been in three or four other places by the time she came to us.  She didn’t realize that she was going to stay with us, and, I think anyway, was not paying attention because she didn’t think she had to.  I sometimes thought of her as a rebellious teenager who had been placed in too many foster homes and spent her time acting out, wearing too much makeup drinking and smoking and staying out late.

Now it looks like she’s finally getting it.  It might be the fact that she’s been here almost four months, longer than most of her previous stays.  And yeah, it might be that I sprayed her with water when she started nibbling at me -- it certainly got her attention, anyway, and I haven’t had to do it for a while now.



This is Bonnie, being taught how to be a dog by her next door neighbor, a Bernese mountain dog.  The Bernese is twice Bonnie's weight but is extremely patient, letting herself get knocked to the ground and dragged around by the ears by a young whippersnapper.  I'm very grateful to her, not least for tiring Bonnie out.