Alvin sticks out his tongue when he is nervous

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Clear Down

We are continuing to practice the sit command.  It has been interesting because he learned the command quite quickly and initially was able to sit on command nearly every time I asked him.  What I was most impressed with was that on a couple of occasions, a couple of weeks went by and he was able to sit on the first request.  It is now clear that he was watching Timmie who would sit before I had even been able to get the whole word out but now that Alvin's on his own, it is more difficult for him to remember.  So, we are now practicing it several times a day and he is doing quite well but he has finally come across a second way to cheat.  The first way was the one I previously wrote about and consists of him just staying seated, which is quite clever and terribly cute.  He has only managed to do this twice and was rewarded both times because his cheating is far too cute not to reward.  His second way of cheating isn't as cute and has led to many occasions of confusion on both of our ends.  Alvin has learned the half sit and attempts to only go halfway down while looking  expectantly for his treat.  I was in a habit of giving Alvin his treat immediately after sitting so that he developed a strong association between the two.  His new half sitting trick has led to me starting to give him a treat and then taking it back because he isn't completely seated.  Of course, this confuses Alvin who then has to do his whirly twirls, not to be confused with his "normal" circling but a faster paced, tighter set of circles.  Once he finally comes up for air, while looking terribly dizzy, we give it another try.  This has led to another example of his hidden genius because when he did the half sit, out of habit I would say, clear down, and wait.  Now when Alvin does his half sit and I say, clear down, he knows to sit clear down.  Now, that's just smart! 

I continue to try to think of another command to teach him and I am considering teaching him to walk a straight line like on the field sobriety test.  Considering that when we are out on walks he insists on circling in front of Stevie and clotheslining her with his leash every time, it is a command that couldn't be learned too soon.  In actuality, teaching Alvin not to loop while out on walks would be slightly less of a challenge than teaching him how to speak, but a girl can dream, and by girl I mean poor Stevie whose trachea depends on Alvin learning not to nearly decapitate her.

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