Wednesday, May 12, 2010

That's A Good Boy

Alfie standing, blue working jacket and leash on, just outside our front door.  He's looking forward and eager to go!
Ready to roll...

Today I ran into something new while I was at Lowe's with Alfie, working him on the restrooms.  He loves restrooms because there's so much work for him to do in one small place!  First he has to "find the girls" (ladies' restroom).  Then, it's "find the stall," (the handicap stall -- to give enough room for person and dog to fit easily); and after using the restroom of course you need to wash your hands so he finds the sink, followed by the paper (or air dryer), and if it was paper he gets to find the trash can so you can throw it away...then the door, and we're on our way.  He's in doggie heaven.

He doesn't always get all of this right -- for example, today when I asked for the paper he took me to the fold-up changing table -- but he definitely works hard at it.

Anyhow, this particular Lowe's had an unusual setup, where the handicap stall was actually not the end one, as in almost every other store I've been.  It was next to last!  And guess what, Alfie went straight to it, passing up 4 normal size stalls and not bothering with the end one either!  I'll be honest...I'm not sure if he really figured that one out all on his own, or if perhaps I gave some kind of subtle cue (turned my head or slowed down maybe?)  I didn't do anything on purpose!  Either way, I'm happy...if he figured it out on his own, then wow -- he's smart!  If he figured it out from me, then he's still smart, and paying really close attention besides.  That's a good boy, Alf! 

Small victories just make my about you?


Sierra Rose said...

That's so great! Nice work Alfie!!! Do you practice this quite a bit? Just curious.

Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
Sierra Rose

Lauren and Don said...

What a good, smart boy! It must be so much fun to watch Alfie perform all of his commands. I always love it when a pup begins to understand something- your work has definitely paid off! How do you teach them to locate objects? I'd love to know!

Mimi and CC Cabana said...

Fun is in the eye of the beholder, isn't it?! (That doesn't quite make sense, but I hope you know what I mean.) Just wondering, does Alfie get a kibble each time he finds the correct object/place for you? I'm trying to figure out what makes this little boy tick...and tock and tick!

Samantha said...

Dearest Alfini,
I can't believe Mom's been so rude not to have visited more often or sooner - I am sorry on her behalf!! Your blog is soooo interesting and you are definitely one smart puppy! It's really interesting to read about all the things you have to learn how to do - even before you start the "formal" training! I'll be checking in soon again to see what new things you've learned! Mom's chuckling, cause she knows I have trouble just picking up a dumbell!!! You are so clever!
Hugs xo


Alphini's Puppy Raiser said...

Hi all! Sierra, we do practice this a lot - almost every time we go somewhere with public restrooms. People probably think I have bladder issues, haha! But when I hear GDTx clients brag on their dogs, one thing they almost always mention is the "restroom skills" - so I guess it's pretty important! :)

Lauren, as to how we teach it - Mimi's right when she guessed it might have to do w/ food! :) Alfie's very food motivated & we're allowed to use treats - not all the time, but enough to keep things interesting. At first when we give the command to find an object, we might tap it or use a kibble as a lure to get the pup to notice it. Then he sits, and we must USE the object - so, for trashcan, we throw something away, or for a door, we go thru it, etc. Then they get LOTS of praise, and maybe a treat! Yay!

Toby- The dog with a blog said...

Oh wow, good boy Alfie!
Toby always loved the restroom - as it had "cold flooring!

Ruby's Raiser said...

Excellent work Alfie! Really impressive, he's such a perceptive dog!