We spent 90 minutes or so with her, going over and over a number of commands in her front drive way, until all of our toes and fingers were completely numb and our brains were completely dead. The Beast slept all the way home. Were I not driving, I probably would have slept all the way home too. Training a dog is hard work!
The only point to this post, really, is to record what we learned today. Because there was so much information. I want to make sure that I don't forget anything! So very little humour or story-telling today, but if you're interested in teaching a dog a trick or two - or just how to behave nicely in general - you may find this post helpful.
Stage two of this command is to present a piece of kibble closer and closer to his snout, challenging him to move away from the food even when it is right near him. The next stage is to drop a few pieces of kibble on the floor, and he must maintain eye contact with us rather than try to pick up the pieces of kibble on the ground in front of him. We will keep him on a leash as we practice this one so that if he does make a move for the kibble, we can give him a quick leash correction. When he successfully ignores the pieces on the ground, we retrieve them and give them to him as a reward, because he earned it!
“Sit” “Down” “Sit” and "Down" "Stand" "Down"
And since all of the above is such hard work, it is important to give the Beast a few little breaks during a training session. Otherwise, he will get too tired and frustrated and won't be able to learn the lesson. It will also help him begin to learn the difference between work and play - he can be excited during playtime but has to be serious when it is time to work.
So there you have it. For the next few weeks, we have our work cut out for us. At least 15 minutes of training a day. It doesn't sound like all that much, but I know it will be a challenge for all three of us to be consistent with this. I mean, really, it's more fun to play fetch in the park than it is to learn how to heel, right? But I know that the Beast has the potential to learn all of this quickly as long as we commit to teaching him. I also know that he wants this leadership from us so that he doesn't have to be the frenetic one trying to take control all the time.
And most importantly, I know how proud hubby and I will be of the Beast when he starts to succeed at all of this. And how proud we will be of ourselves for having taught it to him.
Better set the alarm a few minutes earlier tomorrow so that we can get started!