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Friday, October 14, 2011

Houdini Strikes Again:
Tanner Masters Zippers

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
© E. Glavin
"Leave It"

If you've followed any of my posts on Tanner, you may be aware that his particular talent is in being a Houdini. He has mastered our front door, child-guard-locked gates, dog park gates, doggie daycare doors and gates, and Oliver's crate, to mention a few.  I could have titled this post

"Dog Raids Owner's Suitcase
 for Conference Swag" 

but that would have made All Things Dog Blog sound like a news site. Don't confuse me with them. That's not what I'm about!

It was entertaining though, when I arrived home from Barkworld and left my "swag" suitcase sitting by the door. By morning Tanner had unzipped the zippers and removed all the toys and other swag. He looked at me as if to say, "Mom, I've unpacked for you. Where would you like your things?"

I melted into a big hug, giving him major kudos for not devouring a single item. Wow! Could I have trained him that well? The only thing out of place was one wayward tag, still inside the suitcase pocket, stuck in the zipper pull. Don't worry. I didn't scold him.  He'll get his due reward when he begins reviewing some of the goodies we've collected.

So, you may ask, what's the point of THIS post. Good question. It's actually a lesson in following through on training your dog to understand what is his and what is not his, even when he thinks it might be his. Sounds complex, huh? I should probably get Michael to weigh in on this topic, but for now, I'll just say that it appears I've made some headway in getting Tanner to understand the difference between something I give him and something he finds.

That lesson, my friends, has come from Fetch training.  Tanner knows that he is only allowed to swim and play with pool toys when I remove the fetch toys from a shelf and follow a specific procedure that he recognizes:

  1. Mom visits the pool toy stash.
  2. Tanner sits.
  3. Mom removes a pool toy and reminds Tanner to "Leave it"
  4. Tanner watches Mom toss the toy into the pool and waits for his cue.
  5. "Fetch!"
  6. Tanners runs and jumps into the pool, fetching his toy: permission granted to play with the toy!
Many dog trainers will tell you that dogs can't learn a succession of behaviors. Agility trainers and doggie freestyle competitors will beg to differ. I join them.

Give your dog a chance to recognize a pattern through regular practice and he will begin to follow the steps required. Clickers work great for these types of tricks. Hand signals, voice commands and body language speak volumes as well. Go play with your dog. Find out what you can teach him that will also make your life with him more enjoyable. 

This post is part of the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop hosted by Confessions of the Plume,Two Little Cavaliers, and Life with Dogs. Their rules for participation follow, as copied from Life with Dogs' site on 10/5/11:
  • Link up your pet blog name and URL using the Linky Tool below. You only need to add your link once to be seen on all the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop Linky Tools for that week. Note that if your blog is not pet related your link will be removed. Also note that only one post per blog is acceptable, and links promoting giveaways that are unrelated to the pet blogger hop will be removed. This is a community building exercise and not a promotional vehicle – please treat it as such.
  • Grab the “Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop” button on the right hand side of this site and include it in your Saturday Blog hop post so that your readers will know what is going on. *Note – posting is optional. Feel free to just link and follow.
  • Follow your co-hosts listed in the first 3 slots of the Linky Tool.
  • Follow as many other blogs on the linky as you’d like.
  • Take a moment to comment on the blogs telling them you’re from the blog hop.
  • Follow back when you get a new follower through the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop.
  • Make friends and grow. ♥


shilohsmom said...

LOL! Tanner just wanted to get to your swag before you had a chance to give it all away to the doggies on your blog. ;-)

Peggy Frezon said...

Tanner wanted to try out the good stuff first! Hope he found something good.

Anonymous said...

I was glad to heard that Tanner knows how to open things and get out. Makes me feel so much better. I am still working with Schooner because he thinks everything in the house is HIS! Schooner opens drawers and closets. It is amazing what dogs can do with their nose, mouth and paws!

Sharon Gilbert

Anonymous said...

I would not have been good. Tanner, you're making me look bad dude!

Scrappy said...

So nice of you to help your Mom unpack! I like your Houdini style! I have been known to unzip my bag if mom doesn't zip it ALL the way.

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