Friday, August 1, 2008

Pickles Part 2

A picture of Pickles the Dog is in the post below. Blogger is playing games with me tonight, so this is may way of trying to get around it. I'm too tired to explain. In fact, I'll continue this tomorrow. Sigh.

The mass of humanity who reads this blog has read a bit of the proud animal that is Pickles. Here's a bit more.

She is a mixture of Blue Tick Coon Hound and Labrador Retriever (in Theory). The hound personality is dominant, though she does like to retrieve. She has a very good bark, is a very good watch dog, and even though she is friendly & good natured, the Hmong people who come to our door occasionally asking if they can have some of our bamboo (yes, please, take it all) do not seem convinced.

We found Pickles at the Jamestown, NC Flea Market (just on the other side of Morganton) stuffed into a rabbit (or perhaps it was a chicken) cage. The good ol' boy was giving her away, so we took her, and now she's snoozing across the cord to my computer power strip.

She is 11 months old now (give or take), and still a tad maniacal, but there has been progress. She is no longer scared to walk into the house, like she was the first day. She no longer immediately cowers from everyone she meets. A major, major deal is that she is house broken. I'm not sure how we did that - it was a lot of trips outside, many times a day. A couple times an hour no matter what, but also when she woke up, or when she suddenly started getting real active. It took about 3 weeks before I suddenly realized, this Dog is completely house broken. Or as completely as a dog ever gets.

She had a habit of barking at pretty much anything - and that has scaled back a great deal, just because I think she's more used to her environment & the neighbors and such. If she saw a cat 1/4 mile away, she'd start howling. Now she just stares at it. Squirrels, tho, now that's another matter. She barks at them and tree's them very nicely. Oh, and she stalks them too, like a cat almost. My big fear is one day she'll catch one.

Lately I've been teaching her to stay. I have little treat in my hand, get her to sit, then repeat the 'stay' command as I move slowly away. Then I lay the treat on the ground, while repeating the 'stay' command. After a couple of seconds, I release her with an 'OK', and she gallops over and gobbles up the treat, and I tell her what a good dog she is, the best on the planet and so on. We've been working on that for a couple of weeks now, a little every day. If she gets up before I release her, we walk back to where she was and start over. I say she's about 65-70% there.

My wife has taught her to pay "Guess which hand", a fun little game in which she has one little treat in one hand, and nothing in the other. She gets Pickle's to sit, then hold out both hands & the dog has to guess which hand the treat is in. Well, there's only two hands to choose from, so Pickle's does pretty well at it.

We have large trees in our yard, and a strong wind always knocks down small limbs and sticks. We get Pickles to help us carry those to the stick pile out back. The stick pile is a great place, I think lots of little animals have made homes there. She looks very proud, tugging along a limb 3 times as long as she is, the only thing is, she usually does not want to give it up. And sometimes she stops to chew on it.

Another game is Tuesday morning trash can retrieval, where she helps us bring the trash can back from the drive way (she also helps us take it out).

Also, she'll lead us to the car or truck if we say the word. I sell stuff online, so she makes a daily trip to the post office, and has learned what "Truck" means.

So, pickles is coming along. There are things we need to work on - jumping is a big one. She also has a tendency to bite when playing, I'm not sure what to do about that. Its not aggressive, but it can hurt a bit. And tho she has not hurt the cat, she will not leave it alone.

Momentous things going on in the little town of Valdese - I'll write about that in a little bit. Anyway, scroll down for a look at Pickles T. Puppy Dog.


Anonymous said...

Aw, Pickles is a very cute dog. I think you are right on the breeds she's mixed with. Sounds like you are doing some good work with her. She will only improve.

A Valdese Blogger said...

Thanks...I dont really know a whole lot about training dogs, but I'm fairly certain she has a better life than she did.