Training Chase

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Meet Chase. He’s our newest foster dog that we brought home on Tuesday, and you’ll never believe this, but…he’s already been adopted! Apparently Mom gives better sales pitches than she realized and found a coworker who has a friend that has been looking for a dog like Chase.

His new owner will be away from home for a few weeks, so we’re keeping him with us until they return. This is great news because Chase is less than a year old and has no manners!

I am faced with the daunting task of teaching a small dog (and you all know they’re much harder to train than other dogs) to have basic commands down in 10 days. I don’t want him turning into one of those snarly senior dogs one day. I guess I’d better get started.

So here’s how I’m going to go about doing this.
1. Sit
2. Come
3. Stay
4. Heel
5. Lie Down
These are the most basic commands that dogs will use every day and that are useful for keeping a dog from running out into the road. I want to work on these the most so that they are the most solid for when his owner comes back. In my house, we reinforce our dogs’ obedience by making them sit and wait (stay) before they are given their food. Chase still hasn’t quite grasped this idea, so this will be challenge # 1. We also make our dogs wait for us to go out the door first when beginning a walk. Given that Chase’s new owner is a bit older, this will also be a priority.

I think I will avoid the more complex commands of leave it, go to the crate, playing dead, rolling over, etc. there simply is not enough time.

On Saturday we discovered that Chase has an infatuation with kong toys. We also discovered that he does not much enjoy it when you take his favorite plaything away. Growling or snapping (which he thankfully hasn’t done yet) will absolutely not be tolerated so I plan on working on taking the toy away from him so that he doesn’t have a problem when his new owner decides he’s had enough chewing on the rubber toy.

Socialization to cats is important when his new owner has 3, so I’m going to work on keeping him calmer around the cats.

If you take anything away from this, remember to start training your dogs as young as possible so that they have basic manners. Even if they are small dogs, don’t let them jump all over you or be possessive of their toys. Dogs are much happier when you are the strong pack leader who will set down rules and make sure that they are followed.

Mario

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Consider Mario as the Mr. Darcy of cats. He is refined and reserved. It takes time for someone to earn his approval. Even after such approval is earned, he does not enjoy being carried around and would much rather take care of his own transportation. (Being carried by humans is considered undignified.) Despite this, he very much enjoys the company of other friendly cats. However, he does not openly show that he even cares for their presence. After time, his reserve will fade and he will begin to openly interact with them.

Dogs, considered completely below him, are another matter entirely and he would much prefer to not meet one again.

Mario passes the hours by lounging around the house on the bed, his perch on the scratching post, or his favorite spot: on top of his human’s clothes in the closet. He lies quite still for hours on end most likely contemplating the more complex ideas of the universe. On other occasions he meanders out the doggy door and onto the back patio. He does not stray from the yard but enjoys strolling around. In the evening when the family is in the living room watching television, he may stray into the room and gaze at the humans. If one calls his name and the person has earned his approval, Mario may go towards the person and perhaps allow them to be near him and pet his head.

Keeping with his refined persona, Mario only shows his affections during the cover of darkness when he may cuddle with you to his pleasing. It pleases him to lay right next to your head as you lay in bed and massage your neck with his paws. His loud purring may disturb your sleep, but that couldn’t possibly be bothersome. You are pleasing him and that is all that matters.

Could you be Mario’s Elizabeth Bennet?