Monday, May 26, 2014

Queenie the Foster Dog, NTD

Today Queenie finished the requirements to qualify for her Novice Trick Dog title: she learned 15 beginner tricks (well, 14 beginner tricks and one slightly more difficult one, since according to the Trick Dog scale, the file-your-nails scratch board trick counts as "Advanced") to a reasonable degree of proficiency. She did this in just under four weeks, start to finish, with absolutely no prior training as far as I could discern.

Here's the video I made to showcase her achievement:

I've been so busy that I haven't had time to blog about her much, but the more I see of her, the more convinced I become that Queenie is a really special little dog. Just about every one of those tricks took her five minutes or less to learn; rarely did she need more than a couple of repetitions to grasp an idea.

Queenie is the first foster dog that I've had long enough to train up to a title (and, honestly, one of the few where I genuinely wanted to put the time in, because not all foster dogs are that much fun to train). Granted, the NTD is a very easy title in the grand scheme of things: it's a beginner title in a sport that you can do at home with super flexible requirements. But the process of getting it tells you some things about your dog.

For example, the seemingly trivial "dunking for hot dogs" trick told me that Queenie has no problem dunking her face into a bucket of water to grab some weenie slices, as opposed to Pongu, for whom hot dogs were nowhere near worth the trouble, or poor Crookytail, whose completely unsuccessful strategy for getting the weenie bits was to try drinking the bucket dry. And she had no problem jumping up on a windy bench outside to do it. That's a focused, clever, highly motivated, and environmentally steady dog.

Training the Tug/Out sequence told me that she's a dog who enjoys playing tug and for whom that is a useful motivator and relationship builder, but who also has enough impulse control (today, not three weeks ago) to release the tug instantly on cue. That's another really valuable combination of traits.

She's just a fun, happy, willing little dog. I really don't have anything bad to say about her at this point. She doesn't steal my socks anymore (she knows which toys are dog-approved), she doesn't bite my kneecaps, she jumps only on cue (which we do a lot, because she likes it), her garbage-snarfling is getting much better, and all in all she's more than ready to go on to a real home.

1 comment:

  1. I love Queenie, I love that you put in the time and got her her NTD and I love how you mention the things that you learned during your little mini journey to that title with her. Very cool!