Thursday, November 13, 2008
Satchie's Training Tips, Part Two
As we have previously documented,
at some stage in your owner's life
he or she may decide to instill
some basic control on your way of
life; of course, this must be gradually
trained out of them.
Lately, however, be it at shows,
parks, or just out and about,
we've seen some utterly horrible
examples of canines who appear to be
well-trained and enjoying it.
We must, therefore, reiterate and
update our training tips.
You see, humans are exceedingly
strange creatures; they may even
take you to classes to attempt to teach
you one or more forms of nonsense.
Hence, 'Drew and I have devised the
following set of rules and conditions
which, if you 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 and angle of the head.
"Deep Mournful" looks
and "Sideways Glances" are important,
but not as critical as the pitiful
"Don't Whip Me" look. Above and
beyond all else, the "Don't Whip Me"
look will work to prevent any further
attempts at training by your human.
This is because perhaps above and
beyond all else, the human has an
innate capacity for guilt, and it
is by preying upon and maximizing
the human guilt that you can obtain
virtually anything you so desire.
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. Indeed,
even the mere threat of the "Don't Whip Me"
look, if executed properly, 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 the Plonker's fingers to get entangled
in the choke chain (another form of cruelty)
then spring with all your might
to see how many fingers you can
catch. A good firm thrust should break
at least one finger. With luck, you
may dislocate a wrist and then enjoy
weeks of off-leash bliss.
The "sit" is quite easy to master.
On command "Sit Newfie", 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,
and wag tail with glee particularly when several owners are around.
The "stays" are especially easy to master.
"Sit-stays" can be destroyed
by smiling at your owner and slowly sinking to the
down position. "Down stays" are quite simple,
for all humans think that
once a Newfie 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 about five minutes.
Learn to recognise the commands humans use such as "Exercise
Finished" and react accordingly. I am quite good at this,
if I don't say so myself.
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 object.
It's fine to spring forward on command and run towards it,
but either continue running, or sniff the object and return perfectly to owner without it.
(Under no circumstance should you let him know you can swim.)
"Recall" is one of my favourite exercises as there are limitless possibilities. One I particularly enjoy 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 tool 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 Newfie greeting, and remember the maxim to
treat all bitches as if they are in season. ('Drew is excellent at this.)
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. Indeed, I have so mastered the human that a
simple run around the show ring (win or not)is greeted with praise and cookies.
Hard to believe, but true.
However, once you have your "master" (throw him a bone and let him believe this) well trained you can revert to the old habits and no objection will be heard.
The point is that these training tips must be worked on and "reinforced".
There is no substitute for practice. You will know when you have mastered
them at the point in which he throws up his arms, mutters something
incomprehensible, and walks away. You will have then perfected your
human training. What can never be overlooked is the innate human capacity
for guilt. For once his attempts at training have failed, the human will
assiduously blame himself (a bit like "there are no bad dogs, only bad owners").
It is at this crucial time when the human is feeling such deep grief and
guilt that you must strike: jog up to him (some sacrifice is necessary),
wag your tail, rub up against him and give him "The Look of Love".
Nothing is more powerful. It may bring him to tears but at a minimum
will result in hugs and treats and the complete cessation of his attempts to
train you. Should he cry, remember to employ "Lick Tears" which will evoke
even more crying, guilt and spoiling of you.
Moreover, the human will realize that while he may be
a failure, you are his loving companion in both good times and bad.
"Preying Upon Guilt" cannot be overemphasized. It may be the most
essential training tool in your arsenal.
Best of luck to all. "Reinforcement" is the key.