Hello. I’m Partridge (aka Puttle), a 4-month-old purebred Dobermann pup. I was the result of a little accidental mischief between my mum and dad, who are also brother and sister, so my mother-person was a bit worried about how I would turn out, but I seem to be doing ok.In fact, she says I’m the most determined Dobermann puppy she’s seen in 32 years, and that my training is going to be extremely important. She said I might like to write a blog about it – I love the Internet, don’t you? – so here it is!
I’ve been too busy to write much – I’ve learned Doggy Zen, Watch Me and Puttle, which means look at motherperson and ignore distractions (you can see how I learned this here). And I’m playing tug and learning Out, which Dudley is going to help teach me when he can be distracted from Great Danes for long enough. (Motherperson should teach Dudley the Puttle word too!)
But motherperson thought I should post some baby videos, to show what a shy, gentle little creature I was.
Here I am at 6 weeks old with all the other dogs in the household.
I’ve learned this Doggy Zen stuff pretty well now (Mother-person says I’m very clever!) She holds out a treat, I ignore it, she clicks and i get the treat. All I have to do is sit still. But now she’s added a new wrinkle and I don’t understand at all!
Tonight she muttered something about ‘targeting’ and stuck her finger under my nose, so I ignored it. I mean, my job is to sit still, right? And nothing happened! She didn’t click! Sometimes I think the woman is mad.
Then I touched her finger by mistake and she clicked! Huh? Then she got out this orange fetch stick, which looks like quite a nice toy, and she waved it under my nose and rolled it around on the floor. Now under normal circumstances I would have liked to play with it, but my job during lessons is to sit still, so I sat still, and she didn’t click!
Then we got the finger again (it really isn’t polite, you know!), and eventually I started touching that with my nose because it seemed to work, and she clicked and I got some more treats. Then she held out a treat and said ‘Leave it’ and I had to sit still again.
You don’t suppose she wants me to do more than one job, do you? I mean, I get paid to sit still and not snatch treats, and now I have to touch a finger as well. It’s all very confusing, and I think I want overtime!
No training today – Mother-person is doing something to the website and has been glued to the laptop all day. I’m bored!
Well, there’s lots for me to do. Pulling books off the bookshelf is great fun and chewing them is even better! I’ve gotten hold of a thick animal behaviour textbook. It’s fascinating stuff – something I can really get my teeth into. And she’s concentrating so hard she hasn’t even noticed!
Then there’s the wicker dressing table drawer. Great stuff, wicker! You can shred it, tear it, gnaw on it and yank on hard enough to open the drawer – and there are all kinds of goodies inside.
And when I get tired of that, there are loads of plants in the garden for me to chew, dig up and generally mutilate.
Maybe tomorrow she’ll let me train her some more!
How do you get someone to hurry up and feed you when you’re hungry? My mother-person is hopeless. I jump up at the counter-top to try to get to the food, and she puts the measuring cup and the spoon down and stands back and folds her arms! I mean, what do you do with a person like this? Trade her in?
Fortunately, I already know how to make her do what I want, even though I’m only 18 weeks old. I just sit down on the kitchen floor, and she picks up the spoon and the cup and carries on doing what she’s supposed to.
You know, it’s less trouble just to sit while she’s making my dinner. Then at least she doesn’t slack off.
My mother-person is very disorganised about training – she’s shaped my dad’s bark to be a big deep woof! but he doesn’t know about coming when he’s called! So I suggested that we should work through Shirley Chong’s Clicker Cookbook, which covers the basics really well – Shirley is a fantastic trainer and my mother-person has always said that she learned more from being on Shirley’s list than from anything else. And mother-person needs the structured approach
She’s doing the cookbook with my mum and dad as well, so they can learn the basics too!
We started with Doggy Zen and I got offered a hand containing a really yummy, smelly treat. I licked it all over and tried to get mother-person to open her hand – I was really excited – but she wouldn’t. Then I turned my head away for a moment and she clicked! Bingo! If I don’t touch the hand, I can make her click.
Well after that it was as easy as falling off a log – all I had to do was sit still!
I think this training stuff is a bit too easy. Mother-person started me off with a ‘clicker’. She made a noise with this little gadget and then gave me a treat straight away – a piece of really smelly, well-aged vienna sausage! Yum! And she did that lots of times!
Then she stopped and I looked at her for a bit, and then I got bored, so I sat and she did it again. I had to get up to get the treat – why couldn’t she just give it to me?
I got bored again and sat down – and she clicked again! And I got another treat!
Then I realised – if I sat, I could make her click and give me a treat! And it works – every time! Boy, is she stupid!