Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tricks: Touch!

Three days until we move into a small apartment without a back yard, and I'm determined to keep them busy and interested even though their living space is going to be smaller for a year.  They know quite a few commands, but I want to move onto 'tricks' as well, because they get such a sense of accomplishment when they grasp a new idea.

So far, the commands they know are:
stay and wait (basically the same thing)
lay down
back up
get in the bathroom
get in the crate
come here
roll over (which has come to mean 'show me your belly', but I'm cool with that)
show me what you want (which usually results in a rawhide, unless there's a toy lost under the couch which they can't reach, and they tell me where it is)
off (the couch or bed or whatever they're standing on)
bring it back (we're still mastering this one... I'm bored of retrieving tennis balls, so it's awesome when they bring it back)
leave it (whatever it is you're interested in, forget it - we use this for dangerous things or things they should never have or do)
drop it  (we use this with toys, like when they bring the ball back and don't want to let go)

touch - this is the one they learned today.  I have a fork that I taped over the sharp end of, and they touch the tape for a treat.  I'll use this later to work on other tricks.

 I like the ideas presented on this website, although my dogs needed a little more practice than they make it seem like it'll take.  Hopefully after they catch on to the fact that they're learning new tricks, they'll learn new commands faster because they KNOW they're learning!

Are there any tricks your dogs love to do?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Walk in the Park

This morning we went on a three mile walk in the park.  There's a great walking path through the woods, and the dogs LOVED it.  They did better than I expected as far as barking, there were a few barks, but I learned that if I keep them moving they are less likely to bark.  I take responsibility for getting them out of the path of people or other dogs, and we're all happy.  Plus, by the end they were EXHAUSTED poochies.  I'll definitely be going back soon! Great practice for walking on paths with other people and animals.

On another note, they're funny.  This was them after we left them in an empty room with their bed for the afternoon.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Non Dog-Owners - How do you deal?

I've admitted before, my dogs aren't completely trained.  It's a work in progress, and especially since we're moving to an apartment without a yard soon, I've been working very hard on manners, especially barking. 

One thing my dogs are NOT is aggressive.  They do bark, especially when there's a dog on TV or a squirrel in the yard.  They also bark at people sometimes when they want to play and the person ignores them.  I'M WORKING ON IT.  I've been taking them for multiple walks a day so that they're very used to seeing other people out and about, and learning to ignore them.  We've been living in a house with a huge fenced yard, so I'm not going to lie, they haven't gotten walked every day.  It's so easy to just let them run out the back yard because I know they can run and chase each other at top speed. 

Back to the topic.  I know my dogs aren't trained.  We walked by an elderly woman in a car today, and stopped about 15 feet from the car.  I'd given the dogs rawhides to bring on the walk with them because when they can't open their mouths to let it go, they can't bark.  It worked for the rest of the walk, except in this one spot.  Ruby put her rawhide down to smell a stop sign, and looked around and saw the car.  The woman in the car yells at her "Get out of here!".  In response, Ruby pulls on the leash and barks, because she thinks the woman meant "Get over here!", which we use as a command.  The woman, who again was in a car with the window cracked a couple inches, gasps loud enough for me to hear it. 

It's tough for me not to be offended that she yelled at my dog.  In my experience, people who don't like dogs don't understand that yelling at them will prompt a yell back.  We have a neighbor who we've had to get the police involved with, who would yell drunkenly at my dogs, through a fence,  for 5 minutes after they let out a single bark, regardless of if they were in the yard or even in the house with the windows open. 

So, I swallowed hard, and walked my dogs away.  We left the rawhide because it wasn't worth it.  I think I'm going to take them for a walk in a dog-friendly park later today, and do another run at it.  Does anyone have success stories of getting their dogs to ignore others in the neighborhood?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Intros and Hello's!

I do a lot of Google-ing about my dogs.  Life is crazy and constantly changing, and I don't have all the answers (don't tell my husband I said that, I've got a good thing going there...).  Even though I search all the time, I don't find everything I'm looking for.  Often it's close, but not right on. 

So, my solution is to put it all out there.  Suggestions and comments are welcome, as well as anything that you are looking for advice on!

I'm not an expert.  I'm not a professional.  But, I have two crazy dogs that I can't get enough of, and a lot of adventures and questions that I'd love to share!


Our introduction: 

Ruby (the dark brown with the white) and Willy (the scruffy tan) are both mystery mutts.  We adopted Willy first as a puppy, and Ruby about 6 months later.  They were instantly best friends. 

They're both about 2 years old now.  We've come a long way with training, but we've got a long way to go!  They know a lot of commands, but we've got a lot to teach still.  Our biggest issues are barking and jumping. 

We have been living in a house with a fenced back yard for the past two years, which has been AMAZING for them to play.  We're moving about two hours away next month, and our only option for the moment is an apartment until we buy a 2nd home in a year.  So, for the next month, we're focusing on the barking. I don't want to be THAT neighbor, the one with the barking dogs.

I've been reinforcing good behavior when there are dogs on TV - this is one of our biggest issues.  They run up to the screen and give the dog on TV hell, and then they run around the other side of the wall, in the other room, and look for him, while still barking.

I've been giving bits of food when they stay quiet when there's an animal on TV, and it seems to be working.  Definitely not 100% though.

Does anyone have any advice?  Have you tackled this problem?

Until next time,

Naomi, Ruby, and Willy