Is There a Dog in it? Confessions of a Dog Lover

My life basically revolves around dogs. Mornings, I am training Brèagha, walking her, then walking Molly and my Neighbor’s dog Fenway. The rest of the day, I am supervising the puppy. Evenings, I am walking Molly and Brèagha again. I don’t mind. There are far worse ways to spend a day than walking dogs.

Needless to say, I freaking love dogs and am just a little obsessed with them. So I kinda freak out (in a good way) when I’m watching a show and there’s a dog in it.

I think having a dog in a show or movie adds to it. If you have a character who’s supposed to be a jerk and have them not like dogs, it adds to their jerk-ness. If you have an eccentric or serious kind of character but then have them like dogs, it makes them more relate-able. To me at least.

The dog is always my favorite character. Add a dog to a show, and I will be overjoyed. Kill off all the humans and I will be sad. Kill off the dog, and you will see me cry.

I am a huge fan of Sykes from Midsomer Murders.

sykes

And Paddy too, though no dog could replace Sykes.

paddy

And Bear from Person of Interest, gosh, talk about gorgeous and talented.

bear liked books

And I can’t forget Vincent from Lost.

vincent

I don’t know why but it kind of embarrasses me to admit this: I will actually go to a search engine and type in the name of a show/movie and then “dog” just to see if there’s a dog in it. If there is a dog in it, if there will be a dog in it, if there was a dog in it and that scene got cut, I will know.

My twisted, dog-filled mind, ladies and gentlemen.

 

 

Brèagha’s Training

Well, Brèagha is a smart one, as I expected. Smart at getting into trouble, but in other ways as well.

As I said, I don’t expect a whole lot from her as she is a baby, but we are getting started with the basics and today I started teaching some fun stuff as well.

Sit and down, she knows pretty well.

Heel, she is getting good at. I can lure her into position and take a few steps. Of course I am relying heavily on luring and rewarding a lot at this stage. We even did a couple of turns today. I sort of had to teach her how to follow a lure first. I think now she understands that when I hold a piece of food in front of her face and then move it slowly away I want her to follow the food. (But without biting my hand, please.)

Speaking of biting, if she gets too excited during training she gets rather snappy/mouthy and will bite me hard enough to hurt. But if I say “hey!” sharply she stops and usually doesn’t do it again. I figure if it works, well, I’ll just keep doing it I suppose. The mouthing/biting thing is just a phase, I know that. She’ll grow out of it, provided she doesn’t get encouraged too much by (ahem) forgetful family members. The other thing she will do is if someone is sitting on the couch in the living room and she’s being wild she will jump on/bite them to get attention or get them to play. I ignore her, don’t look at her, don’t talk to her, don’t acknowledge her existence, and since she she isn’t getting what she wants she stops and moves on to the next interesting thing. However, sometimes the said forgetful family members will pet her or otherwise reward her and so it takes her longer to stop with them when they do actually ignore her. So she stops quickly with me but is persistent with them. I do understand it’s a hard thing to ignore, but ignore it we must if she is ever to stop.

But I digress.

Stay she seems to understand so far. Leave it, I had some trouble with. I was teaching her to leave a toy but then she stopped playing with her toy at all when we were training and would just look at me for food when I tried to get her to play. So I am teaching her to leave food and rewarding her with higher value food. It’s still too early to say if she really understands it yet but we’ll see.

Today, I worked on 3 things: the target stick, a mark, and doing figure eights through my legs. The target stick was the easiest thing. Molly has always loved the target stick as well. It seems to be something dogs just get. The mark was just a piece of cardboard. I would say “mark,” lure her onto it, click and treat. I figure going to a mark would just be a fun thing to teach, and who knows, maybe it’ll come in handy someday. Figure eights is one of Molly’s favorite tricks, so I thought Brèagha might enjoy it too.

Well there you have it, a very long, way-too-in-depth and probably boring blog post about training a young Collie.