Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How We Learn

My previous doggies, Zoe and Scout were sweet, sweet, sweet... Very good girls.  Great companions for 15 years to Fermin and me.

But they didn't have great etiquette (door manners, greeting guests), they pulled at their leashes whenever we ran or walked, and they didn't know any tricks (other than the really basic ones like "sit" and "down").

Lucy and Ricky, on the other hand are also sweet, but they have learned so much during this first year of their lives.  So they do have very good manners, walk on a loose leash (except when we see certain dog friends--- we still have some work to do!) and know lots of tricks.
It's not that they're smarter than Zoe and Scout.  (Maybe they are, maybe they aren't- No IQ tests have ever been given.)  It's not that I love them more.

It's that teaching methods have changed over the years.

When Zoe and Scout were young, I took them to obedience school at Petsmart.  But the methods used back then were mean !  We pushed our dogs into "sit", we used choker collars to teach them to "heal", and none of use had fun.  And so of course, we quit the class and just decided we didn't care about that stuff.

I am so glad back then that we didn't stick with it, and ultimately, that Zoe and Scout weren't "trained".  (I don't even like that word!)  We all had happier lives the way it was.

But this time around, 15 years later, the Ricardos and I are much luckier!  Now, positive training is the thing!  No choke collars, no pulling or pushing them around, no trying to dominate them, etc.  Just fun, fun, fun.  It's just such a great way to truly bond with your dog. 

I use and believe strongly in clicker training.  It's so fun, and in using it, your dog gets to figure things out and use his brain.  Here's a great little video that shows just a bit about that method in case you're unfamiliar and would like to know more.

I now know a whole lot more about what a dog needs to live a full life.  Mental stimulation is so important!  It's not just physical exercise our best friends need, it's mental exercise, too!

So now that I've blogged on the Ricardo's puppy lives for the past year, I think I'll start making this blog a little more geared towards what methods of teaching we use around here that have been so fun, and so rewarding.

I'm amazed at what dogs can do.  All we humans have to do is be patient and encouraging!
We started our learning together at Dog City- This was us on our way to the Puppy HeadStart class.

No comments: