Since we got Jasmine, we’ve been feeding her kibble mixed with some wet food and water. When we first got her, she refused to eat dry kibble. She would sniff it and walk away. She would have nothing to do with it unless we mixed some yummy wet food in with the dry. Oh, my pampered pooch. We then started mixing in about 1/2 cup of water in with the wet to make a gravy and to give her plenty of hydration. Jasmine doesn’t seem to drink much water, and we were worried that she was not getting enough to stay healthy.
Well, tonight I found out that I’ve been played. Now, that probably doesn’t surprise any of you Dachshund owners out there to find out that a 10-pound hound has manipulated her way into gourmet food. However, it might surprise you to know that she allowed me to SEE that I’ve been played.
When I was fixing her dinner tonight, I was thinking of the 18 things I have to do this week. I put her wet food/water mixture into the microwave (15 seconds takes the chill out of the refrigerated wet food…YES…I KNOW…I KNOW…). In my preoccupation, I put down her dish with the dry kibble in it instead of waiting until the wet food was mixed in. To my surprise, Jasmine jumped on it and started crunching away.
Dry kibble! She’s eating dry kibble. Waitaminute. She’s eating dry kibble!
All this time, I thought she poo-poo’d dry kibble. As she crunched away, everything became clear. I’d been played.
So what did I do? I poured the water/wet food mixture in her bowl and she happily lapped away. Everything is as it should be.
We attended our first doggie obedience school class at A Dog’s Life on Saturday. A friend of mine, Cecilia, is the Director of Training there and is the instructor of the class. The class is called “Canine Middle School”–a beginner’s class for adult dogs.
The first class didn’t include Jasmine. We talked about training theory, how a dog’s brain works, issues and challenges for each of us, etc. It was actually quite useful information, rather than just jumping into “sit…good doggie” lessons.
We have some homework to do. The first step is to get the dog’s attention. We give her her cue (call her name). When she responds (turns her head, looks at me), we “mark” the behavior. Many people use a “clicker” to mark, but I like Cecilia’s approach of using a word instead; you always have your voice with you, but don’t always have a clicker. We then reward (treat, praise, etc.) and release the dog from the behavior. Seems easy enough, eh? In theory, yes. But I’ve read that it can take 1000 impressions for a dog to understand a command. In the last few days, she’s had quite a few. But, she only looks when SHE feels like it. 🙂
One of the things we’re supposed to do as well is to test the value of treats. Put two different treats, one in each hand, in front of the dog and let her show you which one she prefers. What did I learn? She prefers my right hand. And cheese. Other than that, food is food. Except for kibble. She doesn’t like plain kibble.
Oh, the inner princess in her is coming out!! Gotta love it!
What did I learn in class? Training the dog is all about training US. We need to be consistent. She picks up cues from our behavior and acts accordingly. Makes sense.