Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Well, Ela practiced "leave it" today. "Leave it" means "don't bother messing with whatever that thing is." It's supposed to be for when you want your dog to leave something alone, like a pill or some unsavory whatever you and your dog may be walking next to.

So to do this, you first embed the command by dropping something yummy on the floor, and pushing your dog away saying "leave it" until they stop trying to get to it. When they sit there calmly, you "good dog" and treat them.

We tried it with a hot dog as the "leave it" thing, because it's probably the item Mojo likes the most (besides beef ribs). I pulled a half an inch or so off one of the hot dogs to use. Yep, that's from the same pack of hot dogs we bought almost two months ago...and it still smelled OK. That's the power of chemistry...or chemicals...or preservatives.

Anyway, he did it! We dropped the hot dog, Mojo went for it, then we told Mojo to "leave it" (while brushing him back), and he did. He just sat there, staring at the hot dog from around 4 of 5 inches away. Unbelievable. We even walked away from him, just to see if he'd go for it while we weren't looking.

So Ela gave him a treat, and retrieved the hot dog chunk. Then she turned, and when she turned Mojo snagged the hot dog from her fingers and swallowed it whole. Whoa, quick! Mojo sat there looking like he just ate something yummy, which he did.

We did it again with another hot dog chunk and Mojo was so excited. "Oh boy, I get more hot dog!" This time we took the hot dog away and secured it, and he was totally put out. he looked at us, as if to say "hey, I'm supposed to get the hot dog now!"

On a walk later, he seemed to respond better to the "leave it" command than to the "this way" or "over here", two commands that basically tell him "follow me".

Puppy class graduation is next week, which is sort of sad. Mojo's done so well, and he'll miss playing with his dog friend. Next is the advanced class, but we're not quite sure what that's about yet. We'll see...

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