Clever should have been in her name…

So a lot of thought went into Luna’s name… none of the adjectives, personality, appearance words I looked up to help find a name for her seemed quite right.  Just when I gave up and thought I would never come up with a good name I ran across “Luna” and it just worked ( my brain works in weird ways, I realize it means “moon” ). Anyway I’m starting to think I might have left out an adjective in my original search… “clever”. (and why is it that I can’t think of a good rhyme word for that one to tag onto the end and make into a nickname)

f/10 ; 1/250 ; ISO 400

Sometimes I think Luna acts goofy/dramatic/silly just to cover up how clever she really is.  When I’m trying to teach her a new trick she often gets all dramatic on me barking etc rather than being quiet and thinking it out, which is often cute but sometimes frustrating.  She also will throw herself on the floor and pout when she is not getting something. I’m serious, she does that.  That’s why it was rather easy to teach her to “play dead” I just targeted the pouting she already did often.  Granted she does not like to pout on command (AKA play dead) so she will fight even that and bark and whine at me on her way down, which sometimes actually works out well as it’s the right sort of  drama for a dying dog. Right?  Anyway she is not fooling anyone around here, I’ve been on to her from the get go.  That does not mean I have learned any sure fire ways around it when asking her to do something, I’m still learning all that.  But she is not fooling anyone with how clever she is.

Case in point, and the motivation for this post, she gave me a blatant example of it today when she was playing with a juice bottle I put treats in.  It’s been raining off and on all day here and the dogs got antsy towards hour 8 or so of laying around.  So I grabbed up the treat puzzle ball and an empty big juice jug.  I broke up some treats and kibble and set them on the floor for the pups.  This really does not entertain them long, but the bottle being as big as it was challenged Luna a little bit.  She knows she has to toss and kick it around to get treats out, but she wanted to make sure she couldn’t chew her way into it, so up onto the dog chair she went.  Her plastic airline crate is wedged between the arm of the dog chair and the arm of the couch and the grates on the side line up just above the arms of each. Anyway she took the bottle up there and was throwing it around and must have knocked treats into her crate.  Most dogs would have stayed at that side of the crate and tried to paw their way in (or just whined)… but not Luna. She hopped off the chair, and went around to the front of the crate and pawed at the crate door.  I didn’t think any treats had fallen through the grates, but sure enough when I opened the door she found 3 inside. Clever clever girl…

Anyway just wanted to share as it was a highlight of this rainy day.  Another highlight, I finished up my website (for now anyway) and I actually like the end results.

Do your pets know any cool tricks/tasks? I need to make a list of ones I want to teach Luna, rainy days are good for that. I saw a really neat one here, on Shiva’s blog.

About Anna

I am a native of Virginia but recently relocated to Maryland I often feel I am simply a visitor... here to take note of little things people often pass by... I enjoy photography, family, the outdoors, reading, my vizsla... etc etc
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7 Responses to Clever should have been in her name…

  1. Kristine says:

    Your descriptions of Luna’s antics are hilarious! I can totally picture her throwing herself on the ground in a tantrum. Dogs can be so stubborn. Maybe the trick is to teach her the trick in a way that she thinks it is her own idea. It’s all about finding the right motivation… Perhaps you just haven’t found what drives Luna yet. I have no doubt she is highly intelligent. She has shaped you to write this post, after all! 😉

    • Anna says:

      I’m glad I could amuse you Kristine, I will try and get it on video sometime, not that I ever get around to posting videos. Any ideas on how to get her to think tricks are all her idea? It’s kinda more like finding the middle ground for both of us. Like when I let her go from nosing the doors to pawing the doors (the latter of which she much prefers to do as she is very into using her paws) to shut them. She is highly motivated by chicken/roast beef and the like, but I save that for photo sessions. She is just as likely to throw herself on the floor to get a cheerio as any of that. Like I said, still learning with her, but I know she is very smart, just doesn’t always care to comply 😉 which is why I always say in many ways dumb dogs are easier. Doesn’t take nearly as much brain power to create a good dog out of them. Thanks for stopping by and subscribing.

  2. Ettel E says:

    Haha she sounds just like my Poodle Charlie. He is the most vocal trainee EVER. He can’t do anything (even when he knows it) without complaining. And shaping is usually a barking nightmare. But he’s so darn smart it’s scary. He knows around 20 behaviors.

    What’s really worked for us is to keep criteria teeny tiny, raise it slowly, and keep the rate of reinforcement HIGH. If you’re using a clicker, when I say high rate of reinforcement I mean like clicking every second. It’s the only way to keep him quiet and engrossed – keep him eating! And make sure to keep the sessions super short – no more than a minute or two at the most. Have them frequently, but give her time to decompress between. Charlie likes to have a game of tug.

    Good luck!!

    • Anna says:

      I should record Luna sometime so people can see what it’s like. I have not done too much clicker with her, both of us would probably get better if I did more. I know she is smart she just does not like to apply it. Seems like you have quite the pickle on your hands as I can get away with more time between treats. What behaviors does he know??? I want to find/make a list of command names that others use that keep things less confusing.. Seems hard to decide on one that doesn’t end up interfering with another later on.

      Sessions are usually less than 10 minutes, just depends how it’s going. Sometimes I will just go back to something she knows well as a break for her. She always loves to touch or bow… Can’t do much tug here as she’s a bird dog too so I leave tug up to my husband or other dogs. Not that she has ever challenged me over a toy.

      Thanks for the tips, keep ’em coming sounds like you have done a lot of this

  3. Kas says:

    Luna is lovely! I’ve always admired Vizslas are just beautiful and Luna is no exception. I came across your blog from another dog blog and just love it (and your wonderful photography as well)! I just started my own blog which is focused around my dogs and will hopefully include some photography based on them as well. Anyway, just wanted to say hi! 🙂

    • Anna says:

      Thank you for the kind comments, and for stopping by. I book marked your blog looks like it shall be a good one, I like the header and the set up already 😉

  4. Ettel E says:

    OK let’s see if I can remember everything he knows:

    spin to the right
    spin to the left
    shake right paw
    shake left paw
    sit pretty
    go to bed
    go to crate
    roll yourself to bed
    back up
    hand touch
    target stick
    jump over
    jump through my arms
    come (he has a great recall)
    leave it
    don’t walk off the curb (I walk him off leash sometimes)
    get in the car

    And a lot of these can be applied to various other things (fetch can mean fetch a variety of objects, track can mean find a variety of objects, same for take, up, etc.).

    And as far as tugging goes, as long as you place rules into the game (the game starts and stop when you say so – teach take and drop – and no tooth on skin) there’s NO reason you can’t play with her. All that alpha baloney is trash. I play tug with an 80 pound GSD client and he gets all growly and nutty, but if I ask him to drop it he will. Don’t let anyone lie to you about that!!

    And yes, Charlie knows how to perch. He actually loves it quite a bit and tries to perch on everything! In the beginning get her perching solidly before you focus on getting her moving around. And make sure that what she’s on in solid so she doesn’t have to worry about her balance. I’ll post up a video soon of Charlie balancing on an exercise ball.

    Good luck!!

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