I’m a-tell you, like Isis told me,
Kibble rules everything around me.
Apologies to Wyclef. Rob starting singing those lyrics last night. Sweetest Girl is his latest fixation, which he plays over and over and over. Hey, it beats Britney’s “Gimme More.” (I’m not joking.)
To the issue at hand. We took Isis to a German shepherd expert last weekend, thinking he was going to tell us the secret to training her as the perfect companion/protection dog. You know, the kind that barks at prowlers, not invited guests; and bites serial killers instead of innocent passersby. (I’m not joking.)
The revelation, however, was that, “She is a really nice dog. You don’t have any real behavior problems.” To my relief, he did not tell us not to let her sleep on the bed, “On my pillow, wherever she wants” (as I described it to him). What he told us, and for this I’m glad it was a free consultation, was that we need to be consistent and work on her sits, downs and stays, which she knows, but has been deciding for herself when to apply.
He also told us (OK, I would have paid for this information) that making her do rapid-fire sits, downs and stays is more stimulating to her than doing laps around our yard with a stick in her mouth. Here all this time I thought that would wear her out. And that making her lie down for an extended period of time was as unstimulating as sitting in her crate.
Here’s the breakthrough – he took two links out of her prong collar. Now, I knew it was loose. The Internet told me it was supposed to sit higher on her neck, but I’ve only ever seen it that high on Boxers and Dobermen. The German shepherds I’ve seen have worn them lower on the neck. I’ve experimented with taking one link out, but worried it poked her too much and put it back.
With two out, the collar does seem quite snug, even before it’s tightened for a correction. But the expert insisted it wasn’t too tight, and he maneuvered her around his yard for 45 minutes with it that way. She showed no sign of physical distress and seemed perfectly happy, but boy was she obedient. She don’t pull on the leash no more.
So our current strategy is to put the training collar on her when we’re hanging around the house, instead of only for walks. And when she starts to bug us by dropping a ball in my lap, insisting we play; or chewing Rob’s feet; or barking at us because we want to sleep late on a Saturday – I just put her in a down-stay. And leave her there for a while.