Is it possible to teach a dog how to down-stay in just one evening, you might ask?
Yes, we would tell you, it is possible. As long as that dog is Lollie the foster wonderdog.
On the recommendation of Vicktory dog Handsome Dan’s mom, I have been reading an incredible dog behavior book, Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson. I don’t want to overstate the importance of this book to my perceived understanding of dog learning and behavior, so let’s just say it’s rocking my face off in a big way.
Inspired by yesterday’s segment, I decided it was time for Lollie to learn to not be under foot while I’m cooking dinner (a pit bull drooling over dinner prep in a vegan kitchen? seriously?). I had been avoiding the down-stay since the beginning because although Lollie is a total genius, she is also somewhat distractable (I have heard that this is very common in dogs who were understimulated early in life). But, I resolved, tonight is the night we begin. So I armed myself with a bowl of kibble and set to work. Within a couple of minutes, she was calmly laying down as long as I kept the treats coming. Over the course of 15 minutes, I was able to progress to 30 second intervals with the treats. After a few more minutes, I was able to briefly leave the kitchen and come back, and she would still be on the designated rug. I dropped a piece of kibble on the floor, out of reach. No movement. I jumped up and down. Nothing. Incredible. The work is not done and hurdles lay ahead, but this is a much more solid start than I could have even hoped for.
Of course, we already knew that Lollie was a wicked-fast learner, and I’m sure that many, many other dogs are able to learn as quickly as her. But I really get blown away when I think about the larger context, and how in November when she came to us, she was full of fear, suspicion, and a complete inability to concentrate. We think her “wonderdog” title is very well deserved.
A few more photos of the wonderdog in her new down-stay are below.
For more info on adopting Lollie, contact us at DCpetographer@gmail.com or 301-520-7123.