Saturday, January 30, 2010

Training Opportunities

Yesterday the kids and I were out shopping at Barnes & Noble, with Alfie along of course.
Alfie sits next to a bookshelf, staring intently up at me
Enough with the books already!  Let's do something else!

We're all book lovers in our family so our visit was dragging on a bit...after a while I could see that Alfie was just bored out of his little skull.  So I decided to let him find me a seat while the girls finished their shopping. 

This he did with alacrity...only much to my dismay, when we got to the seating area, it had been kind of trashed.  There were empty cartons of chocolate milk and crumpled napkins strewn over the floor.  I'll confess, my first thoughts weren't too charitable...I was a bit put out at kids who'd leave such a mess, or parents who'd let them.  But then it dawned on me -- hey! -- I couldn't ask for a better training opportunity! 

First off, it was a great chance to practice "leave it," because of course such trash is almost irresistible to puppies.  Alfie really did not want to pass up the chance to chew on all that smelly stuff...until I got an (even smellier) dog treat out of my pocket!  That, and some obedience practice, helped get him re-focused.  I'll bet we looked silly to other people, doing our work in the midst of a mini-dump...they had no way of knowing that I didn't drop all that trash on the floor myself! 

Then I decided that after sitting there, I couldn't just leave it like it was.  Another great training opportunity:  I could pick up the trash and ask Alfie to help me find a trash can to throw it away.  So that's what we did, piece by piece.  I picked up a milk carton and asked him to find the trash can.  I knew there was one nearby, but he didn't, so a bit of a hesitant search ensued.  When he finally found it, you should've seen the look on his face...and the wagging of that tail!  He was so proud!  Then we went back for more...that was the really hard part, because now that Alfie knew where the trash can was, he hit the end of the leash almost running with eagerness to get me back there.  Oops!  He's supposed to guide me, not drag me!  So, again, a great opportunity to slow him down and practice "steady."  By the time we got done, we were both happy...and exhausted! 

black & white shot of Alfie's head as he lies between the car seats on the way home, eyes half closed
I think I'll sleep all the way home!


Toby- The dog with a blog said...

Books, one of my favorites!

Alfie, you sure look cute in those pictures, ask your raiser if they ever thought of "selling" you... (Joking of course), but you are soo adorable!
"Leave it" is a great command to learn, you sound like you are doing well:)

Toby's Raiser

Katrin said...

Good boy Alfie! Sounds like the day ended on a fun note!

Lisa, Ellie and Hosta said...

WOW Alfie - smart pup! Way to go!