Friday, August 7, 2009


Meet Lucy. She was born in 1997. When I 1st got her, I could fit her into my shirt pocket and bring her to work with me. I've learned a lot about dog brains since I've had her. Besides being good loyal buddies when you are lonely, they are also really smart. When you have an indoor dog, you naturally talk to it all day long as if it were a human. I didn't realize it at 1st but she was listening to me and understanding my words.

Sometimes I didn't intend on teaching her a word and she just picked it up. Other words I deliberately taught her. It seems like Lucy will learn a word over the course of 4 or 5 days, if I say it repeatedly.

Some people say dogs don't know what words you are speaking, they only recognize the inflection or tone. I don't think that's true. I can say the same word any variety of ways and she will still respond to it.

The way I teach her is fairly simple. When she gets it right I praise her and load her up with dog treats. The 1st couple times I will move her myself so she knows what I'm wanting. After about maybe 10 times, she'll begin doing it herself.

This was a word she picked up herself. When I would let her outside, she would get in front of me so I couldn't open the door. I'd say "back" and motion her away with my foot. After a while she knew what "back" meant, and could walk backwards by herself.

She knows what "eat" means. I guess most dogs know that.

When I would watch tv, she'd lie down beside me. In the Summer, her warm body would make my leg hot, so I'd say "other side" and move her myself. She picked up that phrase and started doing it herself.

I think most dogs know "get in your bed." I just like it how she uses her feet and nose to open the door.

This isn't really a trick she learned. I just thought it was funny.

I taught her this trick intentionally. When she was a puppy, any time there was a bump or a strange noise I would act scared and say "Security!" She learned it but then once she started barking she wouldn't stop. Later I taught her "Safe!" I acted calm and relaxed so she would do the same.

I taught her "Shake my hand" and Mei taught her "Other hand." Once you get Lucy going she continues it on her own. I guess she figures it will result in Beggin' Strips.

This is my favorite. If you act like you shoot her with a gun, she will drop over and play dead. First Mei shoots her and then I do. Girls can't make a gun shot sounds! Mei goes "peeyaa!"

Teaching tools.


  1. i still think the ultimate would be to get her to stop wagging her tail on command.

  2. when I say the word SHAME she will tuck her tail and go hide in shame. maybe i could manipulate that a little and get her to tuck her tail but stay.

  3. Apocolyte, thanks for the kind words about my daughter.

  4. You gotta love the "security" trick. Man, that was amazing! Also, the comfortable, easy way that Lucy is shot, taking her time getting on her back. You do a great gun sound, but that may only be in contrast to Mei's conservative, reserved shooting.

  5. that's the best dog I've ever seen!


Related Posts with Thumbnails