Nemo came to us not knowing very much. I’m not a fan of little dogs who run about with no manners. It is easy to let them get away with things because if they are being bad, you just pick them up. We aren’t going to have that kind of little monster. Also he is very smart. He needs to exercise his brain. Training exercises are better than him thinking up mischief on his own.
So, I’m going to detail some things we are working on each week. Let’s see what all we can learn.
He was supposedly house trained when he came but he had a lot of accidents. We seem to have that under control now. I wanted to teach him to ring a bell when he wanted out but he seems to be afraid of the bells. He didn’t seem to understand that we wanted to know when he needed out. What actually helped was a few days of an upset stomach. He had to go out more often and we could tell when he was getting uncomfortable. It was like a light clicked on for him and now he is trying to tell us. We also have a good schedule so he knows what to expect.
Lucy is still pouting. Sometimes she is pouting closer to the dog than before. This is progress.
I swear I’m going to hook him up to a sled and let him pull me. He’s a fast little bugger. We’ve been doing some heeling practice in the house and he’s very good at it. So far we haven’t been able to move it outside if there are any distractions.
We do have a solid Wait command. This is for when a car is going by or there is a jogger or another dog. It means Stop, Stand Quietly, and Watch Me. He’s super reactive to other dogs so he falls apart on that aspect sometimes. But he even initiates it when cars go by on our walks.
Sexier Than a Squirrel Challenge
I’m a sucker for Instagram ads. By the way, check out Nemo’s Instagram page. He’s very cute.
Anyway, I saw a 25 day game based program called Sexier Than a Squirrel designed to keep your dog focused on you instead of the squirrels and other distractions of the world. Each day you get a video about a game to play.
Day 1 was Ditch the Bowl. The idea is that you use the dog’s daily diet to motivate them to play with you. You are supposed to get the dog to follow the food in your hand while you run and chase and play on this day. I decided to try to do this at breakfast time. He was wanting to play. I figured it was perfect.
He totally shut down. He wanted nothing to do with playing with his food. He wanted his food in a civilized manner. He wouldn’t play or follow the food in my hand. I decided to improvise and work on sit and down with food rewards since that was something he understood more. In the middle he glanced at something in the other room and growled a little. It was the saddest little, “I’m being tortured. Feel sorry for me!” growl. What I didn’t realize at the time was that he was looking at Lucy. She’s his highest valued distraction in a room that she doesn’t often come in when he is awake and he almost totally ignored her. So we didn’t get the game quite right but he got the bigger picture!