Tuesday, March 19, 2013

More Foozie!

Well, Foozie's got a meeting with a prospective adopter in two days, and another prospective adopter interested if that doesn't work out, so it's looking like this little dog will not be with us for much longer.

That's okay. I think I need her to go away soon anyhow so I don't get too attached. I already make her wear the orange Vest of Shame not so much because she needs the extra exposure out on the street (she doesn't; she's been on Petfinder a whole 12 hours and has gotten multiple inquiries) as for a visual reminder to myself that this is Not My Dog.

I don't have any serious desire to keep Foozie, of course. If I ever had another dog it would be a Schutzhund prospect, which is a roundabout way of saying "I won't have another dog for hopefully a really long time," because Pongu would never tolerate having a rival for his Important Job as a competition dog, and I don't have time to get involved in Schutzhund right now anyway.

But the dogs I'm drawn to are the big working/guardian breeds, and if they're not outright hostile to all other living things (Pongu), they are at least possessed of a certain solemn reserve (Crookytail, most of the time, except when he's doing the foster-socializing gig). Foozie is small and semi-fluffy and a lovable cuddly lapdog, i.e., not my kind of dog.

She sure is cute though.

We still haven't done any formal training. Foozie turned out to be sound-sensitive enough that the unmuffled clicker was frightening to her, so next time I'll try priming a verbal marker instead. She remains reluctant to take treats and is only eager to take them when Dog Mob is around to steal things from lollygaggers, which is not super helpful when I'm trying to teach a totally new behavior to a dog who hasn't yet learned how to learn.

I can tell that training will go very quickly once Foozie grasps the concept -- when she's in the mood to take a treat, she'll follow lures with lightning speed -- but we still haven't broken through that initial barrier in communication.

So even though I was able to get a moderately impressive picture of what looks like a nice lined-up group Stay, in actuality it's a bit of an illusion. Dog Mob is holding a nice lined-up Sit-Stay, that's true. Foozie got lured into a very temporary position between them, further lured into a Sit, and then subjected to a rapid-fire barrage of praise and liver treats to keep her smiling while I snapped some pictures.

Here's where we started:

...and here's how it ended:

...but in reality that dog in the middle doesn't know how to Sit or Stay on cue, it just looks like that because she's sandwiched between between two other posed dogs and then I bribed her a bunch.

In another week or two she might actually be able to do that on cue without me having to rely on chicanery and liver treats to get her into position, but I don't think I'm likely to have her in a week or two.

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