Monday, May 14, 2007

Say my name?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Say my name? Category: Pets and Animals
I'm the positive reinforcer at the house and Tony is the expert at negative reinforcement. Let's just go back to the early days. When I would pick up my keys, someone was usually going to get to go for a ride, so they would all sit at my feet and stare up at me hopefully with their best "I'll be a good dog" look. However, Tony was pretty adamant that everyone was going to be locked up when he left for work. Instead of training them that being in the crates while at work was a rewarding experience, he would just grab them, toss them in crates and leave. No treats, no special words of praise. So when Tony would grab his keys to leave for work, they'd all scatter and get under whatever piece of furniture they could make it to. It was particularly amusing to watch the scattered reactions when we both picked up our keys at the same time. The particularly brave would be at my feet hoping I'd pick them up before they got snatched and crated.
Things changed and I'm with them all now, so we've worked on conditioning and they're fine in their crates when I put them in. Some are even relieved to have a good time for a decent nap. But they still look at Tony suspiciously from time to time, even though they like sitting with him and playing with him.
I went away to the show this weekend and couldn't take my buddies with me. Tony was trying his best to take good care of everyone and was frustrated that when he'd call them, Daisy and Petunia would hide. Under the desk, under the bed, wherever they could go if he said their names. These being the same dogs who are always trying to get up on the sofa with him. He was just trying to feed them or let them out. He said he finally realized it was his voice using their names that had them suspiscious. If he just tossed food into a crate, or opened the door with a general call to go outside, they'd trot right along and do what they were supposed to do. But Lordy don't say their names!!

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