October 18, 2005

Fair Trade

My big triumph last night was discovering an object for which Jada would forgo her Kong frisbee. Normally she chases it, snatches it mid roll, looks back at me and begins thrashing the frisbee hard enough to break it's neck. Then she waits for me to chase her. Look, Dog, the theory is that you Bring It over here where I'm standing. Good girl. No, Bring It Back over HERE. Now Drop It. No, not Thrash It within an Inch of It's Life, Drop It! Well, yesterday she ran outside with her rawhide bone and seems to be equally drawn to chasing the bone or the frisbee. We do 3 or 4 rounds before she gets bored. I hold up the trade object. She cocks her head, "Hmm.... if you want me to have it, that means giving up THIS toy. Well, ok, fine." She comes to me, drops the object and turns ready to hunt down the next one. My previous dog never got the hang of grabbing the frisbee in motion; for Jada, I roll it on the ground, but she snags it mid roll every time (well, unless I aim badly and it hits the base of the treehouse. In which case she's quick to stop, thrash it for stopping, then trot it back to me). I'm excited by the prospect of a dog that might be able to do mid-air acrobatics. The black dog. The red bandana. The mid-air leap. Triumph and Acclaim! My hippie dreams may be fulfilled after all!!

I started reading "So Your Dog Isn't Lassie" last night. I stayed up til midnight; it was better than a novel. Finally, the mystery of Muttola's brain explained! Apparently we have a highly intellegent, independent, prey driven dog. We have to show her that we are the Alphas: No, I get to go through the door first, I get to eat first, I get to groom you whenever I want, I get to decide how long we play. We have to engage her creatively so she chooses to please us. Unlike most dogs, if we disapprove of her behavior, she'll just shrug and thrash the frisbee anyway thank-you-very-much. But at least I have hope and help for my training my future frisbee dog. Cause I'll look fairly silly at the dog park if I always have to alternate the rawhide bone between the frisbee throws.

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