Friday, January 23, 2009

Poop Patrol

Ever since I purchased Reba in July I have been working on teaching her to "eliminate" on command. Tessa (who lives in the house) has a "get busy" command that comes in incredibly handy. When we need to travel and I know it's going to be a long trip this ensures she can ride in relative comfort. Tessa quickly picked up the command.

Reba has not so easily learned, in large part because I'm trying to teach my dog who lives outside in a dog run to go to the bathroom on command. In reality Reba doesn't care, and why should she, as she gets to go when she wants. I started out by giving her the command every time I witnessed the appropriate action, followed by copious praise and treats if any were on hand. You could tell she was wondering what my problem was because each time I did this she would look at me with this puzzled look on her face.

I had read somewhere along the line that you can do 50% of your training just by labelling the behaviour you want with the command. The plan for Reba is to bring her into the house in the spring and house train her. I want her housebroke because we travel so much it makes it easier for me and gives her the opportunity to be out of her travelling kennel. However, Reba is still very inconsistent with her bathroom habits. As best as I can tell she doesn't really have a schedule whereas I can set a clock with Tessa's habits. This lack of a schedule is making my plan a wee bit of a challenge.

Each morning and evening I take her for a walk, get her excited then try to get her to go to the bathroom. (Excited helps make them go.) And some days we experience success and some days failure. The worst days are the ones where I return her to her run only to have her immediately go to the bathroom. Arrgh! The joys of puppyhood.

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