Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Joy of Learning New Dog Tricks

Ever since I was a little, little pup, Mommy has had this thing about me learning new stuff. It makes sense, I suppose, because she was in school (learning stuff) when we first found each other, so why not get educated too. I mean, we DID get our bachelor's together, and else could I do this blog when Mommy's at work? I used to help her on projects and was even in a few of them, like the movie she did for an advertising campaign she worked on. I was very good in it, even though I was just a puppy...but I digress...
The way we/she teaches me is that she takes something I do on my own, and 'trains' me to do it on command. I am not sure if she really knows that I am training her, but whatever helps her feel good. We always have a blast working on them. She gets sooooo excited each time I do something and I get lots of praise and a little treat for it. The first photo here shows me doing my 'sneer' trick.
My newest trick (I think this will make #14) is called, "How does a car go?" My mom flips out every time I do it now...she asks me the question and, after giving the treat she is holding a good 'BOLT' stare, I make a couple of low pitch "grrrr's," just like an engine running! Mommy goes crazy with praise every time I do it, and I LOVE that!! It took me a while to train Mommy to do it right...haha, but I think we have mastered it now. I usually like to throw in another of my tricks, like a 'sneer' or a 'whisper', before I 'make the car go' but I only make her wait for a few seconds before I let loose!
She says her secret to teaching me is to make a word or action for something I do, like a sneeze, and say it or do it every time the pup does it. So every time I sneezed, she would say or do the command and give me a treat and praise. Pretty soon I would associate a good thing with me sneezing, then I would do it to 'get' the treat or praise. Some things took longer than others for me to learn, for example, the 'How does a car go?' took a long while, but patience is a wonderful thing they say. And she never made me do it or pressured has always been just a fun game. That is the best way to learn I say!
I suppose I should list my skills in case anyone is curious, so here are all the tricks that Pixel Blue Eyes can do:
  1. Sit
  2. Sneer
  3. Smack (high five)
  4. Sneeze
  5. Whisper
  6. Ask (Paw on your knee)
  7. Twirl (Pirouettes galore!)
  8. How does a car go?
  9. Kiss (Dog lick on the face)
  10. Kiss (Mouth touch)
  11. Down (lay down)
  12. Catch
  13. Wait
  14. Praise the Lord (Arms go up in a full wave)
I can also take your pulse and do other nursing skills, since I am a nurse Pixel, but that is more second nature and a very important job, not just a parlor trick.
Now, does anyone have ideas for my next trick to learn? Only clean fun tricks that a 13 pound dog can do. Please leave a comment with your idea, I would love to hear it! Also, I promise to get some videos up soon...if Mommy can only find where she put them..