Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sometimes it does directly relate...

I always tell my puppy class students that the first time I was taught "look" (the dog looks up at my face on my command), I seriously thought my teacher ran out of things to show us that night. Now it is one of the commands I use the most, especially when we're out in public. Having your dog look at you on cue is just so darned handy, even if it takes a little effort to teach. When your dog looks at you, your dog is probably not:
  • Scarfing food off the table/counter/hands of young children
  • Barking and posturing at another dog
  • Pulling on a leash
  • Breaking a stay
  • Sniffing/eating nasty trash off the ground (can you tell I have a Labrador?)
  • Greeting people or dogs who would rather not be greeted
  • Missing the next cue I give
  • Getting into or causing any number of miscellaneous problems
I love, love, love this cue!

So imagine my delight when I realized it has another application - making sure a 5 year old is paying attention to me. Now instead of repeating myself twelve times (bad, bad Momma, say it the first time and mean it!), I can say "Bug. Stop. Look at me. Do not put stickers on the dog." Just like the dogs, once I can drag her attention to me I can cue her next behavior or redirect the current behavior.

Am I proud that I can get the exact same results for child and canine with the same cue? Well...not really. But it sure is handy. There's been a lot less yelling since I discovered this, though, and that's a good thing. Not that that neighbors have noticed it being any quieter around here. I blame hormones. Don't know what I'll do next spring when the windows are open again and I'm not pregnant.

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