Django the dog ‘leaves it’

It has only taken 12 years but finally, the dog training for Django has kicked in. #weekendcoffeeshare

Clickbait

He listened to the “leave it” command this morning and I am ready to give him a gold star, a graduation certificate AND start looking for doggy colleges. He resisted grabbing the cheese. This go-to treat is only a little bit higher on the preference scale than organic peanut butter. Django is a very spoiled Portuguese Water Dog.

Resisting the cheese wasn’t Django’s only big accomplishment today. Two hours ago, a barky white retriever walked by us pulling on his leash. Did Django growl and pronk up and down with his feet stiff like a gazelle? He did not. He just sat next to me politely and looked with longing at the kibble treat in my hand. (I am not above bribery when it comes to good behavior.) Dog trainers call this “positive reinforcement”.

Earlier in his doggie life, Django and I spent many hours in training. The trainers pretended they were training Django. They told me he was highly intelligent and good-natured. The unspoken reality was they were training me on how to best train my dog. And I was a terrible student. I didn’t read his signals correctly and dragged him by the leash too much. I was inattentive and impatient. When I handled him it was a disaster. When the trainer did it, he was an angel.

Life with Django was challenging until 2019 when Keith and I decided that we were going to RV in our retirement. Intuitively I knew that I had to get Django’s fear of big dogs under control. I remembered clicker training where the trainer marks the command with a little clicker that sounds like a cricket. The idea is that the clicker is very precise so the intelligent, wanting-to-please dog (Django) knows exactly what’s expected of him. On the other hand, when I learned clicker training I was a mess. I clicked at the wrong time, forgot to give the command and generally screwed it up.)

Turns out I got to this behavior just in time. RVing is 50% about dogs. Most RVers have one or more dogs accompanying them on their travels. Some are trained. Some aren’t, but they are all supposed to be leashed.

More often than not, Django is the better behaved. So proud.

WHERE DID WE GET THE NAME DJANGO?

Django is named after Django Reinhart, the absolutely fabulous French gypsy swing guitar player with limited use of his fretting hand. (I am not kidding.)

Become an admirer like we are. Check him out on YouTube. My favorite videos are when he teams up with swing fiddler Stephane Grappelli.

Here Django Reinhardt is performing live. Awesome. Stephane is also featured.

How are things going with your dog training? What are his/her favorite treats? What is your pet’s naming story?

Here is a great interview with clicker training developer Karen Pryor on the podcast Hidden Brain. Pryor developed Clicker Training for sea mammals and then applied it to dogs, chickens and other animals. She talks about how she developed the technique and connects it to Freud, Skinner and Pavlov.

#weekendcoffeeshare

This is my first experience with a WordPress community like #weekendcoffeeshare. I look forward to meeting you. Please let me know if I am sharing the kinds of posts that are of interest. My email is lauramalisharvey at gmail.com.  And thank you Rowena of Beyond the Flow for inviting me to take part.

24 comments

  1. I never tried clicker training. I just know I will forget to take the clicker 80% of the time. It occurred to me I could just make that clicking sound with my tongue instead, but I don’t even remember to do that at the right time. So I just say ‘Good dogs’ and wave the treat bag over their heads.
    As long as I remember the treats bag…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I get that. Now I have a bag for the poop bags/clicker/treats. Actually I have two bags cause I keep forgetting bag number one.
      So I keep one in the car. Think of how rich I would be if I didn’t need duplicates. (PS. It has gotten worse.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good job, Django! He deserves that piece of cheese. It’s funny, I also use the term pronk for when my dog is barking and jumping up and down on the end of a leash. I’m hoping one of these days, we can stop her leash aggression for good.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, this is such a lovely post and important reminder for me as I am *struggling with our Pug pup. She is wildly strong willed and it’s driving me nuts and it’s my own fault. Thank you for the inspiration 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Pfiddlergal,
    Welcome to our little community. Here you have a mix of interests, I’m one of the story creators and tellers, but have not pursued being published. Perhaps after I actually retire because trying to get published looks worse than a full time job to me. But I do have lots of stories on my blog to share.
    I love you dog’s name – at first I was trying to make it sound like the song / person, Mr. Bojangles.
    I think you’ll find this group very friendly and hardly ever a negative word or comment. This group avoids conflict which in our world today is both rare and precious.
    Glad you’re here and hope you come back.
    Blessings

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So glad you’ve tried out the Weekend Coffee Share. It’s been a long weekend here, and once again the deadline slipped by, and since we’ve been out on a few walks, I’ll write about them instead and pop back next week.
    Walking our three dogs has become problematic with two dogs getting aggressive towards other dogs and the other one running away. I might look into the clicker and some treats and see if I can reform them.
    Hope you have a reat week.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

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