Here's a tip for those of you who might be, or might one day be in the process of training a puppy.
During the other morning's walk, one which for some reason Keeta and I found to be filled with dog encounters, we met yet another lady who was walking her puppy.
How did I, a blind guy, know it was a puppy?
That was easy. She told me she was training her puppy to sit. Proving her point, every few steps she would stop and say to the dog, "Sit." Of course I couldn't tell if there were any gestures or maybe slight pressure applied to the puppy's back end to enforce the command, but the voice was patient and consistent.
Still, I did see one way that her technique might be improved and for whatever my viewpoint might be worth I shared it with her.
"It sounds like you're doing a good job there," I said.
"Not so much," she replied.
"He's looking at me as though he doesn't know what I want or who I'm talking to. And he should know."
"Does he recognize his name?" I wondered.
"Oh yeah, he caught onto that right away. When I call him, he comes. That's why I don't know what's going on here."
"You might want to try speaking his name before you issue the command," was my suggestion, issued with the hope that the lady woudn't mistake me for a well intentioned know it all.
"Ruggles, sit," she entoned.
Ruggles complied instantly and I'm pretty sure he was rewarded with a cookie or two. Speaking a puppy's name before each command can serve a couple of purposes.
With a new puppy or any dog who is new to you and perhaps has a new name, the repeating of the name sound helps the dog to learn that the name sound belongs to him or her. Then, after the dog's identity is clear in its mind, the use of the name sound calls to its attention. The dog knows that the next spoken human words will be directed at him or her and will quite likely pay much greater attention to them.
Get into the habit of speaking your dog's name whenever you command them or even just talk to them. Your dog's name sound is music to his ears, unless of course your dog is a female, in which case it is music to her ears. Either way, chances are, you'll see improved results. Give it a try and see if it works for you.
Contributed by Larry Naessens