This is Penny.
Penny is, possible – but likely, a Boxer Great Dane mix. She is very tall, still puppy clumsy and, so far, she is a foster. I’m going to be real honest with the virtual world since I don’t think my husband reads this blog anymore, or any of the people at the pet rescue I volunteer for… but. I don’t think this girl is going. Sure sure, I said that with the first foster pup, but I think I was just so enamored with having a happy puppy in the house that kept my mini-dachshund running around that I overlooked a lot of the behavioral problems, as well, as some selfish wants. This time, is different. Penny is like my soul mate dog. She is 9 weeks old and I’ve already alluded to the rescue owner that it is a distinct possibility that this dog is now ours. Ok, yes, she is. Since she came from Animal Control, with a belly full of worms and fresh stitches from being fixed and a bag full of meds… we were told we could name her. We decided on Penny. The colors in her brindle are orangey and I thought it fit quite well.
I have spent a lot of time, maybe too much time, ok-fine, every day since we started fostering the first dog, researching how to train dogs, how to tailor training to different breeds, etc. I have now seen pretty much every single YouTube video in existence on clicker training. I was weary of this at first, but as I started seeing more videos with very positive results I decided to run to PetCo, get some liver/beef training treat balls and a clicker. Penny has already picked up on several basic concepts. She came to us, at 9 weeks old!!!!, knowing how to ‘sit’, ‘leave it’ and ‘crate’ AND she will only pee/poo outside. Amazing! My bitch ass mini dachshund is three and a half and he still pisses or poops on the floor if he isn’t taken out every 90 minutes and sometimes, even then.
As soon as I got home from PetCo, I broke out the clicker, looked over some of my notes, started clicking, giving a treat, clicking, giving a treat… rinse repeat…showing her that every time this thing clicked, a treat was on its way. Finally, I decided I wanted to start a command and work these one week at a time until they were mastered without a treat visible and only the command.
“Down.” I say. At first she stares at me and I’m sure her inner monologue is..
“Look, Bitch, I like you a lot, we’ve had some good cuddles, but I know you did not just tap the floor with a treat in your hand and tell me to lay down.” Actually, I’m pretty sure it was EXACTLY that.
We went on like this where she would sit down and then start looking in my other hand for the treat and then when I was about to put it to rest for the night, I put my hand on the floor with treats in it to steady myself to stand up and she walked right over and laid down. I immediately clicked and handed her a treat. We did this 5 more times, not consecutively, but still 5 more times and she was understanding what I was asking of her.
Tomorrow, more ‘down’ commands. We shall see, but I think she gets the main concepts. It’s pretty exciting for me, I love it when you can tell she is starting to understand something after only 10-15 minutes, and with a little consistency I think she is going to be very well-trained.
Back to wine. However, I have to get up to get it and Penny is on both of my feet as we speak.