Barking Blondes: Trendy training, BGT’s Pudsey and the dog whisperer
As obsessive, passionate dog lovers, it’s with respect that we believe this man is half dog. There is some dispute as to whether he swam his way into the United States, from Mexico, with a knife between his teeth (swoon). However, there is no question over his affinity with pooches. We burst upon him, dressed as dog’s dinners, gushing compliments. He sat like a terrier, silently ignoring our two dogs Molly and Matilda, and patiently waited for us to shut up. The dogs, uncharacteristically for them, in a strange studio, curled up neatly by his feet. He continued to ignore them. They slept. We enthused. His ears pricked and alert, our tongues in full throttle. In fifteen minutes we were also calm and attentive.
Dog owners all favour their own method of dog training. And there are trends. We suppose it’s similar to Parenting Books. In the same way you must decide whether to pick up a crying baby…so you must choose if it’s OK to let your pet hump your leg.
Each trainer, and there are many of them, has their own method. Cesar, for instance, believes that man is the pack leader. Calm assertive behaviour is his motto. The dog must never walk in front of you. Always enter the room before your dog. In fact some recommend you ignore your dog entirely when arriving home. In Matilda’s case this is difficult. She is a robust bulldog, living in a studio flat. We usually fall over her in the dark! And remember. Always eat before your dog. We wish you luck with that one.
Molly’s trainer suggested cream cheese on the end of her nose as an enticement. Molly’s nose that is, not the trainer’s. She also set the challenge of hiding worn tights in a laundry basket and asking Molly to find them. Talk about old habits die hard. Even now a dinner party is often interrupted by Molly, nonchalantly padding in with an old grey bra between her teeth or tousling a pair socks.
In contrast to this, the plaid skirted, brusque Barbara Woodhouse, simply commanded “WALKIES”. Her strict, authoritative approach also had its critics: same with Cesar Millan. In vogue now, is the positive reinforcement method, of which clicker training is one. Ignore the bad behavior and reward the good is the mantra.
Clicker training requires brain/hand co-ordination from the owner. Click and treat as a reward. Even writing these instructions is confusing.
This week we have seen the incredibly talented Ashleigh and her dancing dog Pudsey win Britain’s Got Talent. Their routines have been fantastic. How did she accomplish such steps with a cross breed? Easy. A spin and a twist will have been rewarded by a click and a tasty treat. Not to mention compliments from Simon Cowell.
We once spent a happy couple of hours with an ex sniffer dog trainer, Terry. He had soaked his dogs training bag in semtex. And then hid it somewhere in the garden. (thank God for fences). His marvelous mutt retrieved it in three brief, focused minutes. Terry’s reward for such an intelligent task was a simple…”Good boy”.
We over indulgent pet lovers have a lot to learn.
Listen to Barking at the Moon every Thursday 10pm-midnight on BBC London 94.9FMTagged in: barking at the moon, barking blondes, BBC London 94.9, britain's got talent, Cesar Millan, dog training, dogs, pudsey, the dog whisperer
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