One question arises at our meetings of the Canine Chowder & Marching Society: Is it really worth the time it takes to train your human? My personal experience tells me the answer is a resounding YES!
I know, I know, I know. Working with intellectual inferiors is frustrating and a slow tedious process. Some humans are easily preoccupied with extraneous matters like their job, their significant other, politics, cell phones, hobbies, computers, housework, etc. Even television can distract this species. Be patient. Remember many Homo sapiens have an attention span shorter than the average flea you’ll meet. That’s the very reason training them is so important. When you are able cut through the fog that surrounds their thinking process, you must make the most of it. Common sense decrees you do the best you can with the human you’re stuck with.
Here are some things you can do to be more effective in getting their attention which is crucial to training your human.
Establish a clock in their diminutive minds. Humans are creatures of habit and this allows them to think less frequently. (This function seems to be painful to some — they vociferously avoid it.) Be sure they perform the same functions, at the same times, daily. Gentle reminders are in order. E.G. Standing in front of the cupboard door where your food is kept at the same time every day works for me.
Provide them with signals. Humans respond to these very well. Wagging tails get their attention, particularly if you beat them against a wall, door or other item that sounds like a drum. Sitting up with your paws held in front of you, where your human can see you better, is very effective … particularly when you’d like a snack. Other signals that work include rolling on the ground, lifting one paw and extending it to your human, and barking. Don’t over-do the barking, humans don’t have much patience. Yes, I know the whole idea of shaking paws is based on the archaic greeting humans use. Humor them. Just remember my previous posts pointing out how the butt sniff is a far superior means of introduction.
Leading. A human saying is “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” That’s probably true of horses since I’d guess their IQs are higher than some humans. (They do let humans ride them so the IQ thing is in question.) Humans can be led and you can get them to “drink.” I find going to my humans, then going to the door will normal connect in their restricted cranium. “Open door.” Daaaaaaaa. You may have to repeat this procedure or even step on their foot. You have to lead when outside or they get lost. For really slow learners, I suggest a leash. Canines lead and humans follow or get out of the way.
Contact. Humans are touchy – feelly creatures. I’ve found that this really gets their attention. I make sure they’re aware I’m around and they depend on my presence. This is true in the car, in the living room, or in their beds. Inferior creatures need our reassurance. I rest my head against my humans and look into their eyes to tell them, “Hey, I’m here, it’s okay.” Trying curling up next to them in bed or on the couch, laying on their feet, or sitting in their lap (This is size sensitive) and watch them respond to the stimulus.
Take some time to train your human you’ll be glad you did. You’ll find the rewards and treats proliferate!
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