February 15, 2005

Life with a dog

Facing the danger that this will become a "Look at my cat/dog/car" type blog head on…I will briefly mention how a lazy and selfish man like me has managed with a dog for the first week.

After three agonising nights of 3/4 hours of Maggie demanding to be let out of the conservatory at night and us ignoring her as best we can, we finally caved in. On night four, she got the run of the whole of downstairs, thus proving that it only takes 3 days for a dog to train their new owners. Oops.

Walking out of the door at 7:20 every morning to take her for a walk has been a shock to the system, I can tell you. I wonder if she appreciates my frozen ears? Doubtful.

Now we've had her for over a week, she knows that we love her and find her cute, which is giving her a little bit too much confidence. Yesterday I went home at lunch time to find that she had managed to open the door to our bedroom and then click it shut behind her. In any other room she would have got upset, but spying a comfy bed she proceeded to pass the morning stomping and sleeping on our bed :(
Door closed, dog back downstairs, Steph comes home at 5 and where is she? You guessed it…locked in our bedroom again. Doh!

I don't make her sound that great, but she is really. She is generally so relaxed and happy if a little shy still. I could not really imagine how a rescue dog could be better. I guess you've got to remember that most dogs come into a rescue centre because of their owners, not because of the dog.

Now I've just got to work through one of my new dog training books to get a bit more respect from the little angel. (Dog Training by Bruce Fogle seems pretty good if you are a bit of a beginner like me)

- 5 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. I've got a different book by Bruce Fogle and remember it as very good.

    The one, key, absolutely crucial thing in training dogs is to be consistent. Both of you must use the same words and insist on the same behaviour, every single time. If for example you give her food off the table just once, she will remember that one time with great affection and you'll have a hell of a job stopping her pestering you at the table every mealtime.

    The only other thing that a lot of people seem not to understand is that rewarding behaviour reinforces it – and giving attention is a reward, so if she's doing something you don't want, don't play with her to divert her attention, because tomorrow she'll remember that doing the thing you don't want led to play.

    I'm sure she does appreciate your frozen ears and would cheerfully give them a good licking to warm them up if you let her!

    15 Feb 2005, 14:31

  2. Its a funny thing about cats and dogs – they always seem to find their way to the comfy bed or sofa:)

    15 Feb 2005, 15:48

  3. You're right of course Jon, we have to be consistent and firm to get the relationship off to a good start. We've tried to be as best we can but I must admit telling her off is hard when she points those big brown eyes at us :)

    Steph tells me that she went home this lunchtime and again she had let herself in the bedroom even though we had put a chair in front of the handle!

    15 Feb 2005, 16:01

  4. Hey Kieran, where are the InsufferablyCutePictures(tm) of this aforementioned animal. For sure you should have a gallery by now, including any devastation wrecked by her! :—)

    16 Feb 2005, 06:59

  5. Pics would be good, though I can imagine the 'aren't-I-clever' look on her face when you open the bedroom door just fine!

    16 Feb 2005, 08:06

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