Sunday, March 21, 2010

But "mark" sounds a lot like "bark"

Here's a picture of what Maggie and Ziggy like to do in their off time (in a perfect world, the cat wouldn't be there):

Yesterday the brindles didn't get their normal amount of sofa time.  Instead, I took Maggie and Ziggy for a private lesson with our obedience instructor.  I missed our Utility class on Tuesday, and want to make sure I'm heading in the right direction with Maggie.  Ziggy and I can always use the extra help.


She is doing really well on the signal exercise (including heeling).  She's also doing well on the first steps of directed jumping.

My instructor made the comment that Maggie is a "thinking" dog.  (My instructor really likes Maggie). This showed when we began to work with the gloves.  Maggie and I are starting with just one rolled up glove, working on the "mark" command.  I want her to look in the direction that I point when I say "mark."  First, we were using just one glove.  I'd throw it, say "mark" and send her on her way.  She learned this one really quickly, so we moved on to the same exercise, but with another glove laying out already.

She got this quickly, too, so we moved on to one glove placed (not thrown), and added in the turn.  We completed the turn, I gave her the hand signal and told her "mark."  She didn't quite know what to do.  I could tell she was really thinking.  I gave the command again.  I could see Maggie searching her database for the command.  She came up with "bark" she barked very gently and looked at me.  This cracked me up.  I have to say that "bark" is the closest of her other commands to "mark." Since she missed twice in a row, I took one step back (throwing the glove) so she could have success.

Maggie really seems to enjoy learning something new.


My instructor hasn't seen Ziggy in a while, as we've been working more on Rally and Agility lately.  She was pleasantly surprised with his progress.  His attention is better, and he is more animated during the exercises.  For the most part, he really seems to enjoy obedience!  We still have a long way to go, and Ziggy still has a very short attention span (his attitude seems to be, "we worked on this already, I'm done now"), but it's progress!!


  1. Believe me - you don't need to say something that rhymes with bark to get her to do it. Things that make Maggie bark include, but are not limited to:

    - doorbell (obviously)
    - the other 2 members of the trio barking
    - *glancing* at the leashes
    - the rattle of the top of the cookie jar
    - mom returning home
    - the garage door
    - dogs being walked 2 streets away
    - the joy of rolling
    - squirrels
    - moving your hand as you would inside a sock puppet when it would speak (except, oddly, when you're on the phone)
    - standing in and biting water (this is a special high pitched one)

  2. What is that look on Maggie's face? It's so funny, I can't decide if it's guilt or wariness...


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