Monday, August 10, 2009

From each according to his personality

Last week I took home one of the toys we have on special this month in the shop (see them here). It was the Spinny, because I really wanted to see if our dogs could figure it out and what they'd do with it.
All of our dogs are food-motivated, so I knew getting them interested wouldn't be an issue. Whether they'd figure out how to work the toy - that was something else. It was just our first session with the Spinny and I always keep training sessions short and end each one with the dog's success.
I don't know why I was surprised by the outcome - every one of our dogs behaved absolutely typically for his/her personality!
I tried it with Roc first. He's our best worker - I firmly believe (no one disabuse me of the notion, please!) that if he didn't have horrible stage fright, he would have been my Obedience Champion. Roc got the first level fine. Reach in, get the cookie. Second step also fine - move the cover a little bit and the cookie appears. Third step: he didn't understand that the cover could keep moving around and he would get more cookies. So he sat and looked at me, saying "Mom, fix it!" So we went back to the partially-covered treat, he found it and I ended his session with a celebration.
Dax was up next. Our French Bulldog baby. First step - no problem. Second step - no problem. Third step: If I can't find the cookie on the first try, I'll steal the toy and bust my way through it!Back to Step Two, success, celebration, done.
Next was Ceilidh. I hesitate to push Ceilidh too much, our "special" pup isn't very good at stress and she wears herself out trying to be a good girl and worrying about it. But she deserved a chance to play, so I tried it. First step - a cinch! Second step - no problem for her, either. Third step - she worried at the toy, then worried she was being naughty by pawing at it, despite my encouragement. She just went into a down and whined. Back to Step Two; success, celebration, done.
Golly was last to try. At this point of her life (13 years old), Golly doesn't see too well and her hearing is, at best, selective. But she adores food, so I gave her a chance with the Spinny. First step: easy peasy. Second step: could have done it in her sleep. Third Step: No problem - SHOW ME THE COOKIES!
I was laughing so hard she thought I was a bit nuts. I should have known how she'd do - Golly has never let anything stand in her way when she wants something.

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Carlene said...

that is a cute story, I wish I could have seen them.

Frenchie Maintenance Supervisor said...

I agree. It would have been fun to watch.

Good for Golly proving an old dog KNOWS all the tricks. :-)

Fran said...

Our friend Betsy calls Golly a slug, but she's motivated when something's important enough! Like treats!