Wednesday, April 28, 2004

An interesting Mojo story from tonight.

We had beef ribs tonight, and decided to give him a bone...supervised, of course. He loved it! He also managed to gnaw off around 1/4 of an inch of it in about 10 minutes. At that point, we figured we'd take in away. We reached down to get it, and...Mojo growled at us! Luckily the bone wasn't in his mouth, so we took it away.

Mojo growled at us, which is a total training no-no. It's one of the first laws of dog ownership, that you can never let your dog do that. Time to do the classic give/take. The idea is you give him something, then take it away, then give it to him, etc - just to make sure (1) he understands you can always take it away, and (2) you are the source of all good things. And, of course, (3) just because you take it doesn't mean that you won't give it back.

After a while I got another bone, and gave it to him, after a 'sit', 'lie down', and 'stay' series. It took him a while to stay effectively, because he was soooo excited about getting another beef bone. He even tried walking, which would have worked in other circumstances.

When I gave the beef bone to him, he immediately skittered away with the bone in his mouth. I started chasing him, then stopped. We actually asked the trainers what we should do if he runs away if he had something, and we came up with trying to get him to sit or lie down. "Sit...good boy. Lie down...good boy."

Amazingly enough, even with the bone in his mouth he obeyed sit and lie down. He made noises about the "lie down," but did it. I moved over to him, then told him "drop it." Boy, he really didn't want to drop it. He looked at me, & I looked at the bone in his mouth. We sat there for a while, looking at each other. I kept repeating drop it, with no result. I could see Mojo thinking it over. Bone? Obey? Bone? Obey?

So he did something else - he turned over on his back and put his feet in the air, still holding the bone! Doh! I rubbed his tummy, then tried the 'drop it' again using a cow hoof as a substitute treat. He pretty much ignored the hoof. Finally, I grabbed the bone and removed it, and he let go. Whew! We both praised him for being a good dog, etc, which he liked, but he liked the bone better.

After a few seconds we told him to sit, and gave it back to him. That was enough, really. He took it over and munched on it for a while, happily. Then we told him to drop it and he did, no problem. That bone was pretty much done for...he had chewed off about 1/3 of an inch already.

In the end, we substituted the bone for some big chunks of hot dog, which he hasn't had for weeks. He traded it happily, but after he was done with the dogs he was kind of he realized that he made a bad trade. The hot dogs were here & gone, while the bone would have lasted for minutes, maybe hours. Oh well. He didn't really have a choice...and there'll be other bones.

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