Saturday, July 21, 2012


The woman's dog is running loose among the setups at the obedience trial.  Oops! he just peed on a tent pole.  Turning inside out with embarrassment and apologies, the woman explains, "But he won't potty unless he's off leash."  Lady, please!  Train your dog.

So Presto! is making a substantial number of his forays into the backyard on a flexi.  The better to get that habit pattern established right now, just short of 12 weeks.  Also, the better to keep my little dirt-eating machine on the grass and away from the flower beds.  Particularly here in the valley fever capital of the world.

So much to teach.  And all at once, or so it seems.

Presto! was introduced to a children's toothbrush the first morning he was in the house -- at 8 weeks and one day.  The first couple of days he just played with it.  Now we brush.  Not that there's much there to brush, and brushing all those little needles called baby teeth isn't very significant.  But  Presto! doesn't fight the toothbrush.  A habit has been established that will serve us well for his lifetime.

Fortunately Presto!'s litter (four girls and four boys) was exposed to many people on a daily basis -- Maureen Inman's (Wildfire) students, her daughter's friends, etc.  So my little guy is used to being handled all over.  He loves to have his paws  held and stroked, doesn't mind a "pedicure." And I do plenty of handling where my hand is in his collar.

In fact, one of his exercises is a little "Get it!"  I kneel down and slip a couple of fingers under his collar (in front, under his chin, palm up).  The other hand holds a little treat above his head.  Saying, "Get it!" I pop him up to the treat.  "Pop him up" has quickly become a joke.  He likes this little exercise so much that I have to restrain him to keep him from leaping for the treat as it emerges from my top left pocket.  I alternate right and left sides.  Not only is this just one more fun activity with my hand in Presto!'s collar; more importantly it gets him jumping for treats.  Throughout his training there will be situations where I'll want to have him jump for treats -- it builds drive.

So much to learn.  And so much fun!


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