Well, I’ll be darned. All that training is starting to pay off in the best possible way.
Ray learns very, very quickly but sometime because he learns a certain behavior will get him a treat, he might not completely understand what I am asking him to do. It kind of reminds me of that video of Mr. B where he gets his commands mixed up. (I can’t find the specific link but the blog itself is full of greatness.)
When we first started practicing “down” Ray was by-golly-not going to do this on the hard floor. Actually he still doesn’t- he will only do it on a soft surface, so I started taking him to his mat or to the carpeted living room to practice this maneuver. Since there is a coffee cart type of table in there that we keep treats on, he parks himself in front of that cart and he will now hurl himself to the family room floor whether he’s asked to or not, just to get a treat. Often when asked to sit, he will proceed to ‘down’ from there as well.
When we started practicing “leave it” he “got it” after two tries so if I make some type of motion as if I am keeping the treat, he snaps his head up and makes immediate eye contact with me. It is a little unsettling and completely endearing to see his choco-velvety eyes so attentive on me. The downside is he seems to be missing the treat on his paw which I want him to “leave.”
The other day we were practicing “come” in the back yard. Ray would wander over to the fence and I would say, “Ray-Ray, come!” in my happy voice and after the first try he got it but I soon realized he began manipulating me. He would walk over to the fence and then turn and look at me with his smiling eyes as if to say, “I’m at the fence, Mama, are you going to call me for a treat?” Ray doesn’t really do the Pittie smile a lot and his tail wagging is fairly laid back, but he gets a sparkle in his eye and I know when he is enjoying himself and I also know when he is doing something in hopes of scoring a treat.
So the other evening, Kevin said that Ray never comes to him when called. I asked if he was using his happy voice and saying “Ray-Ray, come!” while using the hand motion to which he grumbled something unrecognizable. Today, however, I got a text from him saying, “what do you know…I did the Ray-ray come thingy and he came! Looks like all the hard work has paid off.”
It only took 12 years of marriage.