Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sit, Leon, Sit

I am so excited!! I have trained Leon to "sit".    It took me a little longer than I planned due to the crummy weather but just now outside ... IN THE DARK Leon saw me go for my stash of training treats and he sat down without me asking him to.   I then took him to different parts of the yard to see if he would continue to sit.   Sometimes I did have to say the word "sit" but he did it every single time!!   I am so proud of this boy.

This is the first time I've taught a dog to do anything!!  I am super proud of myself and Leon.   There's a young woman in our group, Lindsay, who is amazing at training her foster dogs and her own dog.    She's even trained her cutie pie Remy to lie down when she points her finger and makes a bang sound.  :)   Remy is a great, great dog - he's so amazing even TRex loves him.    He was one of her foster puppies that had a horrible case of mange.   Do you know a vet suggested he should be put to sleep?   How stupid!!  But she gave Remy a chance and he's turned into one of the coolest dogs in the world.    I've emailed her a couple of times asking for advice.       At first, when I was teaching Leon the sit command he was doing great.   But then I noticed he was only doing it in the spot of the yard where I first taught him.    Lindsay pointed out that I should take him to different areas - in the yard and outside the yard to teach him.    I did that last night and tonight.        Tonight I was wanting to get a good pic of Leon and I decided to take my chances - that's when I discovered he was sitting easily.   yay yay yay

It's actually very simple (well when you're watching someone else) teach a dog to sit.   You use a slip lead and keep the leash tight so you can keep the dog near you.   You then take the treat, hold it above their nose and push it toward their nose until they're forced to sit on their butt.  (Because they can't back up anymore)      By holding the leash tightly, they can't just back up and go wherever they want.    Then, once they do that you loosen the leash and pull the dog toward you and start again.    I was told you should only do it a few times each training session.     I've been taking Leon outside to teach him because he can't be around the 50 other dogs I have or he'd get too distracted.   That's why I originally taught him out in my back yard.  

I am so proud of myself and Leon.    I'm excited to try and learn more and help Leon become the best dog he can be.   My next goal will be "Down" and then the magic one is "Leave It."   Professional Lindsay might need to take Leon for a few days to teach him that one.   He's a great dog, but he definitely needs to learn some manners.    And by me, quite the novice, being able to teach Leon "sit" bodes extremely well for this intelligent young pup.

Leon has definitely calmed down - he's still doing some puppyish things but he's doing a lot better.   It might help that he's been getting regular walks and getting plenty of "running around like a nut outside" time.   I can't wait until Leon's perfect family comes along - they're going to be so lucky.  I had a woman interested in Leon last week and when I received the email forwarded by our director, I responded to this woman with a little bit about Leon and asked her to fill out an application.    I then proceeded to receive one of the nastiest emails I've ever seen from someone and she decided to accuse me of "bait and switch," being terse and pretty much forcing her to drive 50 miles to go buy a dog.      I was so mad it's the first time I've ever responded to someone immediately without giving myself time to calm down.  I wasn't rude, but I did let her know that she should be ashamed of herself for being so rude to me when I'm an unpaid volunteer trying to help out a few dogs.   People like that definitely have no clue what adopting a rescue dog is all about and definitely have no business trying to get this sweet boy.     The NOIVE! ;)

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