Dog Training

03FF4508-3450-4F62-A4A1-53B29F66B001I’ve been living with my human family for over three years now, and I have to say that things are going pretty well.  I’m still not allowed up on the furniture (why my parents are around to see it) and they still insist on feeding me dry dog kibble when all I really want is a plate of the same food they’re eating, but overall, I’ve got them pretty well trained. The trick with humans, I’ve discovered, is to let them think they’re training you, when in reality, you’re training them.

Take walks, for instance.  Like all dogs, I love a good walk. Sauntering around the neighborhood with my human in tow is great fun, and I especially like stopping to sniff all the enticing odors along the way.  The first few times Mom took me for a walk, she insisted on keeping up a brisk pace, and seemed irritated when I’d stop to sniff every few feet.  She didn’t understand that investigating all the scents we encounter is how I learn what’s going on in our neighborhood.  How am I supposed to know that the beagle up the street passed stopped by this very same bush if I’m not allowed to smell it thoroughly?  And don’t get me started on all the interesting scents coming from the storm sewer….the stories I could tell!

So I had to teach Mom the importance of letting me stop and sniff on our walks.  It took quite a while, with me pointedly ignoring her tugging on the leash and repeated cries of, “Come on!” before she figured it out.  She still doesn’t let me stop and sniff every single scent, but now she waits patiently when I discover something particularly intriguing, which happens a couple of times per outing.  I heard her bragging to Dad about how she’s taught me to mostly keep moving, and of course I let her believe it.  But the truth is, I’ve taught her to let me stop and sniff.

And while my parents still fill my supper dish with kibble, I’ve taught them to also share their (far superior, in my opinion) food with me.  Again, it took time and lots of patience on my part, but now they both know that whenever they eat something, they have to save a bite of it for me.  And since both of them are fond of their food, I get quite a few “bites” of food every day.  My nickname is Bubbles (due to my bubbly personality) and they actually refer to the tidbits they give me as the “Bubble tax.”  I don’t care what they call it, as long as they pay it.

I’m not sharing this to brag on my success, even though I’ve done a pretty good job of training my parents.  I’m sharing it to give hope to all the other dogs who have just joined their human family and might be a feeling a little frustrated by how slow their new parents are on the uptake.  I want them to know that it takes time and patience to train your humans, but if you stick with it, the rewards are worth it.  Trust me on this…..

Love, Finn

83 thoughts on “Dog Training

  1. Hey Bubbles. Benji, the Wonder Dog here. Good work on training your hoomins. They all need an attitude adjustment from time to time until they realized they are our extension, not the other way round. Oh, and they need to learn to drop a few crumbs under the table from time to time. I mean, have a heart. Keep on sniffing. Benji

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  2. Ah, Finn, it’s always a delight to see a post from you (not that I don’t also love your mom’s!). Kudos to you for your patient and effective human training. You absolutely deserve their Bubble tax payments. And I suspect you reward their good behaviors with wags and nuzzles. Keep up the good work. You are an inspiration to dogs everywhere. (Ignore what the cats may be saying.)

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  3. Hi Finn, so glad to hear you’ve finally got them trained, especially in regard to the sniffing and sharing! Bet they taught their kids that … sharing that is, not sure about the sniffing 😉

    I watched a man being very skillfully trained by his dog on the beach one day. Every few steps the dog would sit until his man gave him a bribe to move on … movement tax maybe? Anyway I said to that man “your dog has you very well trained” … he replied “oh yes I’m getting him there” … maybe he has hearing impairment 😦

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  4. Hey Bubbles, I mean Finn friend,
    Sounds like you’ve finally got your humans under control. It takes awhile doesn’t it but it’s so worth it to get them to slow down and sniff the roses. I don’t get too many tugs of “hurry up” these days, I think she’s finally realised that at nearly 16 years old I can go as slow as I like! Oh, and isn’t it great to get more than dry kibble. Tonight I got some warm cooked chicken, oh boy was it the best! Keep sniffing and having fun.
    Your pal, Harry 🐶 xx

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    • Wow, Harry, I hadn’t realized you were 15! Your family must take very good care of you. I’m glad your mom lets you walk as slowly as you need to, because that’s important for older dogs, I think. And warm cooked chicken sounds delicious! Love, Finn

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  5. The “bubble tax” !! I love all of it. Great post and glad to hear that you are stepping into line with what your canine expects of you ! Even though it took a while and patience on his part!
    That photo on the table … haha

    Peta

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    • Um, actually I do. I like to stand on the dining room table (that my parents just paid a lot of money to have refinished, because it’s old and been in the family a long time), but when Mom saw me do it, she got VERY testy. And then she put up baby gates so I can’t access the dining room when they’re not home! Baby gates! And I’m an adult dog…..it’s embarrassing, but what can I do? Love, Finn

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  6. Finn, you are a darling dog! All the ‘training’ has gone well at your house. There is plenty of love to go around and that is what makes a house, a home. You are very much ‘at home’ and that is a wonderful thing!

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  7. Finn, I Monkey for one appreciate your thoughts — they give me hope, my friend! My mama is slow on the uptake, too. Why she thinks walkies are designed for exercising, I’ll never understand. We pups know walkies are when you’ve got to read the pee-mail left by other pups — it’s kind of like old-time gossip over the backyard fence. And I’m just now getting some of those bites of people-food. Mama has been so flustered over my sensitive GI system that she hasn’t wanted to share. Since I’m doing better these days, every now and then I get a taste and you are so right: their food is way superior!!

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    • It’s so strange the way humans insist on “moving right along,” isn’t it? (I especially feel sorry for those poor dogs whose people make them jog beside them on hot days…don’t they realize the hot asphalt and cements hurts our paws, and how easily dogs overheat?) And, as you say, we need to take the time to sniff out all the neighborhood gossip. And congrats on finally getting your mom to share some people food! I hope that means your digestive system is getting better. Love, Finn

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  8. You’re a very smart boy Finn. Your parents are lucky to have not only a smart but also very patient teacher. In other words you are smart enough to know that us parents take time to learn. We think we know it all, and our busy lives sometimes keep us from paying attention in “class”. If we could just take our time as you do to smell the roses (we’re not fond of sewers) we’d be better off.

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    • You’re so right! My parents sometimes get so busy and distracted that it’s very hard to teach them anything. That’s where the patience came in, but it finally paid off. And I do think they’d be happier if they spent more time smelling the roses…and bushes….and yes, even the sewers. There are some amazing smells coming out of there, believe you me! Love, Finn

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  9. Made me wish I had a dog again…and reminded me that I could try writing from a different point of view. I’ve been struggling with my own lately and perhaps thinking about things from some other perspective would make writing easier…and maybe even a bit more fun.

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    • Go ahead and try it, Bev! I’ve been struggling to write my posts from my own point of view lately, too, but found it easy to tap into Finn’s “voice.” I think the change helps our creativity.

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  10. Hi Finn. Many congratulations on training your humans so well. You definitely seem to have them wrapped around your little finger (sorry, I meant paw). I hope they are well-behaved when you take them out for walks; after all, they need their exercise every day. It’ll make them big and strong like you.

    As for food, you don’t know how lucky you are in being saved some of your humans’ food. All I get is that tinned stuff – it’s not on a par with my owner’s food at all. The cheek of it! She really doesn’t appreciate me or the presents I bring her. She’s most ungrateful. What does she expect, a ribbon and a bow on it? Well, it’s nearly my bedtime here, so I’ll say goodnight to you. All the best, Peanut the cat. Meow …

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  11. Great job with the human training, Finn! I’m sure you have spoken for dogs everywhere with your great advice. I have a Granddog, Siggy, who also loves to stand on his human’s outdoor table. He also loves to climb trees as he chases squirrels. You two would get along famously! Keep writing, Finn!

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