Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Little Something About Pia



Ever since Bree moved out with my ex-husband I've been waiting for a dog with this particular knack - one that Bree had that nobody since has had - until Pia. Bree was a naughty little dog in many respects, and hard headed as the day was long. However, the one thing that Bree would do for me that none of the other dogs would do is retrieve random items from tight spaces based on my verbal shaping.

Pia seems to have this knack. It makes me SO happy.

Pia knows what "get your toy" means. But sometimes I drop things that I cannot reach, and sometimes things get crammed in the back of crates (and I cannot reach them without getting down on the floor). Having a dog around that will get these things is a VERY good thing. Not to mention they don't get enough work these days, so anything else I can give them makes them happy.

I've noticed that I can tell her "get your toy" and if she's going to the wrong one I can say "no" and then when she shifts I can say "yes" and follow that "yes" with a "good girl" and get her to get the toy I'm thinking of. June will do this to a smaller degree but the other dogs (Nick, Linc, and Ginger) all look at me like I'm crazy. But Pia? She's a little rockstar. The fact that she likes to put things in her mouth that do not belong to her seems to help with directing her. The other dogs just plain flat out won't pick up things that don't belong to them.

The other day Pia had wrestled her food bowl up on one end and had plastered it to the back of her crate. I let her out and sighed... knowing I was going to have to get on my hands and knees and go get it. Then on a whim I called her over there. I told her, "Get your bowl". She hopped in and out of her crate. So she understood that I wanted something from her crate, but not what. So she hopped in, and as she was facing her bowl I said, "YES! Good girl." From that point I verbally shaped it until I got her to pick up her bowl and bring it out to me.

Same thing with my slippers last night.

Nevermind the fact that I had to have her retrieve them because she'd run off with them in the first place.



Hey, we're not perfect. Just enthusiastic.

Pia is one of these dogs that wants to DO something for me. I like that. I shape behaviors in the other dogs with food sometimes (in a home setting), but I like that she can listen to my voice and respond without food. She seems to want to make me happy, and that makes me happy. Hopefully I can get her back on sheep before too long and see if she's grown up a little. I sure am looking forward to it!

9 comments:

Becca Shouse said...

Mama's sis is a service dog. Hmmm! Ain't it fun? Teach her to hit the lights, too. Next, do the laundry. LOL!

Laura Carson said...

You know, I hadn't really thought about that, but you're right! Pia seems to also have the knack of sensing my moods and wanting to help.

Laura Carson said...

I'm sure some folks would teach a dog without an inclination for this type of thing anyway. But I tend to just not fool to much with it unless the dog shows the inclination.

I bet I can teach Pia all kinds of useful things. :)

Jaenne' said...

I do the same thing with Mo, lol. Its useful to have a dog that will pick things up for you...when I lived in my first apartment, I dropped my chapstick (with the lid on), under the stairs and couldn't reach it...Mo, being the petite thing she was back then, got in there and grabbed it for me...I do have to tell her "easy" sometimes because she gets very excited about doing things for me...I don't want her cracking the remote control, lol...

Laura Carson said...

It really IS useful! The other dogs look at me like I'm nuts, but not Pia. She tries SO hard. And like with Mo being petite, P is so small that she fits lots of places (like between the washer and dryer).

How do you differentiate for Mo what you're asking?

Jaenne' said...

Toys are called "things" so if I tell her to "get the thing", she'll grab the closest toy. Sometimes I'll have her bring me one toy, drop it, leave it and get another. When I want her to pick something up for me, I'll point in the direction that the object and just tell her to "get it". Thankfully, she doesn't freak out when I tell her "no" so if she grabs the wrong item, I say "no" then she looks for something else. I tell her "yes" when she picks the correct item. It certainly isn't perfect as its not a behavior that I have drilled her on...

Doniene said...

Awesome!! I too don't ask for something if they don't show it. Skeeter would play ball and catch a Frisbee until she dropped, but haven't had a dog since that would do anything buy work stock - oh well that's not all bad!

Have a great week!

Mara said...

Go Pia! I love a useful dog! Isn't it funny how some dogs just seem to get it?

Kenzi seems to be shaping up to be a nice retriever. Once she got the idea down we've been practicing with all sorts of random objects (toys, bottle caps, hair brush, food dish :D) Missy was an awesome retriever - she loved little jobs like that. But Kipp would look at me like I had two heads.

Paula said...

Very cool! My friend has taught her pit bull to pick up anything and everything she asks, I love it. I'm sure I could teach this to Alex. If I wasn't so lazy.

Good girl, Pia!