Sunday, July 13, 2008
Satchie's Training Tips
At some stage in your owner's life
he or she may decide to instill
some basic control on your way of
life and this must be gradually
trained out of them.
strange creatures and may even
take you to classes to try to teach
you. Hence, I have devised the
following set of rules and conditions
which if you also abide by,
should result in your speedy
retirement from obedience circles.
The first stage is to develop a range
of expressions concentrating mainly
on the eyes. "Deep Mournful" looks
and "Sideways Glances" are important,
but not as critical as the pitiful
"Don't' Whip Me" look.
The golden rule is that you can get
away with anything, so long as you
eventually trot back to the heel position
and ply your owner with "Sweet
Innocent" looks. He cannot punish
you, but threats of growlings should
evoke the ultimate "Don't Whip Me"
look which if done right, will convince
all others present that your owner is
the Marquis de Sade in disguise.
The first steps of basic control are
heel on lead and sit. Heel on lead is
easy to master; simply drag your head
along the ground, tail between the
legs, as slowly as possible. Any jerking
on lead should be greeted by "Pitiful
Whimpering" and "Deep Mournful"
looks. Variations can include sudden
springing forward which can result in
your owner dislocating shoulders or
better still falling flat on his face. Wait
for fingers to get entangled in choker
chains then spring with all your might
to see how many fingers you can
catch. A good firm thrust should break
at least one finger.
The sit is quite easy to master. On command "Sit Newf" start to slowly angle rear end
toward the ground, shuffling slightly and looking bemused. Stop at any stage before
actually sitting so that a further command is necessary. If ground is damp or cold, keep rear end one inch above ground level. This gives you a distinct advantage to spring away suddenly. Ensure tail goes into muddiest puddles then when it is really wet and sticky, wag tail with glee especially when several owners are around.
The stays are particularly easy to master. Sit-stays can be destroyed
by smiling at your owner and slowly sinking to the
down position. Down stays are easy, for all humans think that
once a Newf is lying down he will not hurry to get back up
again. However, always remember to do good down stays until
exam day. Then you should run away and disturb as many other
dogs as possible. A big bonus is gained for keeping out of
owner's sight for five minutes.
Learn to recognise the commands humans use such as "Exercise
Finished" and react accordingly.
Once you have mastered these exercises you can try heel off lead, basic recall and
retrieve. Heel off lead is particularly easy for you can gradually work it to get out of arms reach before dashing off. "Retrieve" is okay, the only rule is to never pick up the dumbbell. It's okay to spring forward on command and run towards it, but either continue running, or sniff the dumbbell and return perfectly to owner without it. (In "Advanced Training", never, ever let him know you actually can swim and under no circumstance should you rescue him. "Rescuing Others" shall be considered in another installment.)
"Recall" is one of my favourite exercises as there are limitless possibilities. One of my favourites is to await the command "Come" and then slink forward, belly on the ground, tail between legs, grovelling, "Whining Pitifully" and "pleading innocent" looks. This always convinces other humans of how cruel your owner is. Another good one is to spring forward on command, run to owner and sit diligently directly in front of him. On the "finish" command (because confidence has grown) either rear up on hind legs or roll over on the ground, play dead or likewise. If sitting just outside arms reach then spring away and cavort with other dogs.
Remember other dog etiquette - always greet members of the opposite sex with
the usually intimate Newf greeting, and if you're a dog remember the maxim to
treat all bitches as if they are in season.
Leg cocking is probably the only punishable offence in obedience and is best
left alone. Anything else goes. And remember, you can't be punished, and if you do the odd thing right (and this doesn't bore you too much) then "Warm Praise"
and "Big Cuddles" will be given.
However, once you have got your owner well trained you can revert to the old
habits and no objection will be heard.