For those of you who haven’t lived with a Standard Poodle, you’ve been missing out on a great experience. Just look at this dog! He settled in for a nice chew on his favorite rawhide, using his little buddy as a cushion. See his expression? He’s saying “what!, why you looking at me like that? Grant doesn’t mind!”
Casper is so smart. Tonight, Ron was putting a banana in his lunch box and he turned and pointed it at Casper and said ‘bang!’. Casper gave him the look and the eyeroll ‘0k bub, I know you want something…what is it? ‘ So he did a sit, then a down, then I rolled him on his back and said ‘good ‘bang’ and Ron gave him a treat. We did that once more and on the third ‘bang’ he laid down and rolled onto his side. That is REALLY fast learning!
Why would you want to teach your dog to play dead on the command ‘bang’? Well, it IS kind of cute, but more importantly, its a great way to give small people a tool to get dog into a submissive position without having to do anything physical. Think about it. That’s huge!
About 15 years ago I went to a seminar at the Vet college in Saskatoon. Ian Dunbar, a puppy specialist, was lecturing for three days. Dunbar, who has a PhD in animal behaviour and was originally a practicing Vet had quit his practice to focus on working with vicious dogs. After some time doing that he came to the conclusion that the vast majority of vicious behaviour could be completely eliminated if dogs were raised properly and well socialized from puppy hood. From then on, his entire practice became focused on teaching people how to train and socialize puppies. He talked a lot about non violent, non physical ways to train dogs and the importance of teaching children to handle dogs and of teaching dogs to handle children! Years ago, I taught Puppy Kindgarten classes with the local dog club and, believe me, we really used his teachings.
What brought all this back was a week or so ago one of Grant’s young friends came over to play. He was scared of Casper. Casper loves kids and is very trustworthy with them but poor little Jack wasn’t used to dogs. Especially dogs that weigh 20 pounds more than him and can look him in the eye. If we had put the ‘bang’ response on command, that would have been a helpful tool for Jack to start feeling like he had some control over this big galoot. As it was, I just kept them apart which deprived all parties of some real fun. Oh well, we’ll polish up this playing dead routine and hopefully Jack will enjoy his next visit quite a bit more.