I caught myself being lazy yesterday with Scout. I kept breaking the cardinal rule of dog training, I repeated my command when I knew Scout knew exactly what I was commanding of her. One direction, one command. I can picture it in my mind: Owner bent over their dog, pointing to the ground or something and pleading with them to ‘Sit, sit, Bowser, sit.” I want Scout to “Plutz” so I give her one, “Scout, plutz.” Instead, I accepted her poor performance, reinforcing her belief that, “Hey, he really doesn’t mean it the first time he says it.” I believe it was Rich Graham that illustrated this point perfectly with a parenting analogy of putting kids to bed.
“Timmy, go get ready for bed. Timmy, I’m serious. Get ready for bed. Timmy, don’t make me get up. Timmy, I’m gonna get your Father. Timmy! I mean it. That’s it, I’m giving you until the count of three…” and on it goes.
Timmy has it figured it out just like Scout. She knows that she has a little bit more to go before I choose to correct her. And it is a choice. Every time I give her the repeated command, I am just “building a vocabulary” and she gets to decide which command she obeys. Solution? Easy, one command and if she doesn’t obey, she gets a reprimand and a correction. Easier said than done because it takes effort. Effort when you just got comfortable on the couch with your wife, or comfortable with a sleeping infant in your arms and Scout looks at you, and then proceeds to break obedience. Dogs are definitely nature’s best opportunist. She knows it takes willpower to deliberately get up and get her back into obedience.
Scout definitely keeps things interesting around the house.