Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Ginger's Training

Ginger at her control!
Since my fall with Ginger in the lead, I've asked my son who comes over on Sundays, to work with her on commands.  He has a deep, "commanding" voice, and is way stronger than I (he moonlights as a bouncer sometimes).  I just don't have the strength to follow through on my demands that she heel or come.  My back, my shoulders, even my voice, do not allow for her to give me much more thought than she would a mosquito!

We had bought a shock collar a while back, but had procrastinated about using it.  I just didn't like the thought of it.  There are so many differing opinions on its use, that I wasn't sure we really wanted to resort to it.

However, for her, it has been the BEST THING ever.  Used correctly, and on the right dog, it is a wonderfully helpful device.  I began by using it a little in the house when she stole my shoe, or stole my husband's handkerchief.  I'd say "no" and "drop it".  And her reaction at first was "what is following me and biting me?"  and she would drop what she had in confusion.  Pretty soon she associated the word "no" with what she was doing and the sting.  It was only a matter of a couple of times on a couple of behaviors, and she suddenly "got it"!  She understood that the "no" was directed at her and what she was doing - whatever she was doing,  transferring to other unwanted behaviors.  The "come" meant always even if the smells were really, really good where she was sniffing.  And the "drop it" meant to release whatever was in her mouth.

Ginger never goes gallivanting off into the woods anymore; she comes when called and brings or drops anything she has in her mouth; and she heels off leash now (though I haven't tested that with distractions)!

My son has done wonders with her!  No more being dragged at the tail end of a dog.  And though she is still a very large puppy, she is becoming a very well-behaved dog!  I need to just keep up the practice, so she retains it.  We still keep the shock collar on her in case she forgets, or we encounter a new challenge, but the need to use it is dwindling daily.

I'm tempted sometimes to use it on her when she looks like she is harassing the cat, but then I realize that actually the cat is harassing her.  Somehow I don't think a shock collar for a cat would work the same as it does on a dog.  You may never want to close your eyes again.

But back to the dog.  Aside from her "organized, purposeful training" Ginger seems to pick up on things pretty quickly.  She brings me her bowl when I ask her for it - knows the difference between biscuit, bowl, bone and ball.  Why all fun things for dogs have to begin with a B is Baffling and Befuddling to me.  But she hears the difference, and will bring what you've asked for - unless she can't find it. Then you will get the next best thing that begins with B.

My view of TV night...Noah will be over on my lap in a minute.
She also loves to watch TV with us at night.  If I sit and watch TV when my husband is out of town, she whines a little before settling in.  Someone is missing and it's just not the same.  For her TV viewing, she likes action on TV, and animal movies, but nobody had better be knocking on any doors.  She has to protect us then.

When it is bedtime...just say the word "bed" (another B word), or let her hear me shaking up my nightly concoction of apple cider vinegar and water...she trots off to her crate.  She has slept outside of her crate a couple of nights, but she still seems to prefer the safety and sanity of her own "room" safe behind bars, away from Noah.
She has plenty of room...she just likes to fold her paws sometimes!

Ginger spent the night out of her crate last night...
slept in my chair in the living room.  I heard her jump up in it and settle in.
This morning she was up early with her bowl at our bedroom door so she could drop it with a loud "clang".
"Don't you think it's time to get up?"
You are right, Ginger; I've obviously slept enough.  Time's a-wasting!


  1. This is lovely! I love the realization that all fun things for dogs start with a "B" - how cute. Congratulations to you both on your journey!

    1. Bewildering the bounty of B baubles for bogs...whoops, dogs!

  2. Such a smart dog! In her crate, she looks like she's in jail. How funny that she love to watch TV and knows when someone is missing. Like I said, what a smart dog!

    1. She does look like she's in jail. She's in a happy jail though! She spent the night in my chair - her third "get out of jail free" night! She is doing very well loose all night.

  3. Ahh sweet! Dogs... love them from afar :)
    Bonnie K.

    1. I'm more of the cat person in our household, refusing to love a dog. But then I find I do like them after all.


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