Monthly Archives: February 2012

At Play.


Retrieves and drops a ball for re-throwing with instructions “Get the ball” & “Give me the ball”.

Update 26.07.11: On the 24th., in the sitting room, one of his rubber balls was lying on the carpet and I kicked it away for him. He immediately went after it and returned it to my feet unasked so I repeated the act and told him to bring it to me. This he did and again dropped it near my feet. He continued to do this even if I did not tell him anything after I had kicked away the ball.

Update 16.08.11: Having retrieved the thrown ball he is now dropping it when told to, ‘Give me the ball’ followed, at times, by ‘Leave it’ when he picks it up again. It also happens that he returns to me at such speed that, when he releases the ball a metre or so before reaching me, the ball flies well past me. When this happens I tell him to, ‘Bring me the ball’ and he does – although he seems to find it difficult to see the ball nor having followed it visually.

Balls and breathing – 16.05.12.

Elsewhere here I have mentioned Tali’s playing with a “football”. I had to stop this because I found that, because when he pushes it around he does so with his mouth open as he is growling and “barking” at it, he breathes in dust and dirt which makes him cough at the time and later. Since stopping this practice his coughing has ceased.

On leash/walks.

He sits and stays for his leash and collar to be attached.

Unless he is excited by people or other dogs he walks to heel and until fully trained I will keep him on a short leash although even now he walks to heel without restraint when calm.

He seems to respond best, when bringing him to heel, to the words “Come” and “Here” rather than “Heel”.

For a couple of months he has been responding to “Stop” “Sit” “Stay” “OK” before crossing a road. Recently, he has started sitting of his own accord when we stop at a road. Excellent; he now anticipates and acts accordingly.

c. Aug. 11. Equine hurdles: On the showgrounds, in the horse areas, are a few equine hurdles with flat tops so, in order to give Tali extra interest and/or stimulus, this is what I did. From a position from which he could not climb or jump up I asked him to ‘Get up here’ tapping the flat top of the hurdle. he tried but failed. I then repeated ‘Go round’ whilst pointing to and directing him round the hurdle to where there was a ramp he could use. I did this on two or three hurdles and in three days he did not have to be told to go round.

Update 27.10.11. I can now easily dispense with the leash and use only verbal control. There are two things preventing this and they are 1. By law dogs must be on a leash when in public spaces except in designated areas and, 2. the sudden passing of noisy vehicles or the sighting of something or someone may cause him to dart anywhere spontaneously.

Directing change of direction: When approaching, or at, an intersection or possible divergence I have starting to teach him which way I am going by indicating the direction with an extended arm. So far he seems to be cottoning on but this is not an easy lesson. [see update of 13.08.11.]

Update 05.08.11. Directing change of direction. There is every indication that he is aware of the indications I give with my arms and that he looks for them although, at times, I have to get his attention.

New: 11.08.11. Waiting outside places while I go inside:

About ten days ago I gave him the first lesson outside a small shop in town having tied him near the from door and stayed where he could see me. He was very uneasy and as soon as he could not see me he started pulling on his leash so I ended the lesson. Three days ago, at the library which is quieter, not being on the main street, I gave him lesson two and allowed the automatic doors to shut between us a few times and he watched intently but without incident. It is possible that he could see me at times but I selected a book and returned to him – and successfully. Note: I suspect that I had given him a practice dry run at the library a few days earlier. Also, at home I have taken every opportunity to train him to wait while I go into various rooms and shut the door and soon return.

Update 13.08.11. Yesterday, I took him to the library, tied him to a rail in the verandah outside the front door, as before, close to a little poodle sitting by its bed and told him to wait etc. and went inside. I made the mistake of coming out to check on him and he got very excited. Meanwhile the poodles owner had come out and was sitting with them so she said she would mind Tali. Some five minutes later when I emerged he had not been panicking (from my observations from inside) but had his attention fixed on the interior of the library and me when I was visible through the automatic doors.

That afternoon I decided to try him at the supermarket where I had to get a bottle of milk and a carrot – yes a carrot, and it was for him! Yesterday he tucked into a small piece of celery and a small piece of carrot so I thought I would try him on a chunk of carrot today (he is teething too). Anyway, although he was not calm outside the supermarket hitched to the Fido Hook, from where he could not see me, he was accepting of the situation and waited for me silently. His greeting of me was exuberant as usual but not excessive as can sometimes be the case after such a separation.

Update 16.08.11. Yesterday, I was told by a prominent Malenyite that people steal dogs from outside establishments and that he was aware of two instances. I had this fear at the back of my mind and, since I cannot be a party to Tali being emotionally traumatized I have decided, sadly, not to ties him outside places where there is any chance of his being stolen. It is better that he protests at being left at home than be removed from his comfort zone.

 On verbal leash: 16.05.12.

He knows the following [either as a command or just speech]:

  1. “Wait”, “Wait for me”, “Come”, “Come with me”, “Don’t go there”, “Not to go”,
  2. “No” which he will respond to even if it is just spoken.
  3. “Left”, “Right” or “Going left”, “Going right”.
  4. “Careful – car coming!”
  5. Hand signals for #3 above and “Come”, “keep away”,

Most often he will respond or do so without giving the slightest indication that he has heard, whilst at times he genuinely seems to not understand. Of course, I always maintain a dialogue with him although not incessant!

Achievements in the first 3 months & updates:

Achievements in the first 3 months in italics & at 4 months in bold.
Mastered the pet door in 12 hours.

Toilet trained in a week of arrival but prone to making the small, involuntary mistakes of the usual first three months. Fully trained.

22.09.11. Chewing of household items.

The only such damage he has caused is a couple of bites on the end of the handle of the Jason recliner. When I first noticed that he had had a little chew I hid the handle in an old sock and he did no further damage until, one day, the sock had fallen off The damage was again only slight.

Note: From the start I have made it a point to keep things he was likely to chew just out of temptations way but not out of reach and, if ever I noticed or suspected his interest in an item, I promptly gave him a firm ‘NO!’ which as I have stated before he always seemed to understand even if no said with emphasis.

Update 16.05.12. A few days ago he had undone and chewed a lace with which I had tied his bedding into a frame for winter. I told him that he was naughty and knew that he should not chew things – and he looked very guilty. I told him that he was not to touch things like “this” whilst showing the pieces to him and he has not touched them since.

NEW: 26.07.11.


A few weeks ago I noticed that, if he were hovering around expecting me to play or give him something and I went to where my computer is, he would check to see if I had sat down and then go outside to play.

NEW: 02.08.11.


Tali used to frequently, and now infrequently, bring into the house bits and pieces of rubbish and I discouraged him by explaining that rubbish (shown to him) was for “outside”. He learned this pretty well. Update 24.02.12: Since learned completely.

Yesterday in the garden, I found, and gave him, a piece of rawhide chew he had left around and he was chewing this when I went inside. He made to follow me with this but, when I turned to him as I entered the house, he went away with it. So I went outside and said to him, ‘It is OK, that is not rubbish, you can bring that inside.’ and he followed me and stood outside, near his door, apparently seeking confirmation of what I had told him. I said, ‘Yes, that is alright, you can bring that in.’ and in he came in, happily.

Update 11.08.11. No longer brings rubbish in from outside. I have seen him drop it a metre way from his door before entering.


Understands and responds to:

“Come”, “Tali come” and “Come here” – Increasing levels of command.

“Go outside”  Update: 16.08.11: Now a simple “Outside” or “Inside”, or the inclusion of the word in a sentence, giving the suggestion or command, suffices.


“Get down” or “Down”

“Go away” or “Away”

“Go on” and “Off you go” – words of encouragement.

“Get down” off something.

“Go to bed” or “Go to your bed”

“Go, drink your water” which he does instead of drinking from a flower pot.

“No!” The word somehow understood from day one.

“No jumping” “Don’t jump” . Does not respond when excited.

“No biting” He understands but finds it very difficult to obey when excited. Does not respond when excited  and he does get very excited with his great effort! He will be OK when he matures.

“Leave it” e.g. On the show grounds were he is exercised there is horse dung. When he first came across some fresh dung he decided to eat some and I noticed this after he had had his first sample. I said, “Leave it alone! Come! Leave it!” and he obeyed; and has done since. Showing signs of disobedience where horse dung is concerned.


“Say please” He now gives a single bark for “please” for his food or a bone or anything for that matter. For the food or the bone he sits and stays until told it is OK to move. He gets too eager and makes a few little mistakes but with maturity will be fine. More self-control apparent. Excellent progress.

Update 16.05.12. As alternatives add to “Say please!”, “Would you like a bone?” or “Would you like some meat?” [I do not use the word food in this context because food has come to mean anything edible and now refers mainly to casual eating (his obsession) outside the house and garden.]

“Stay” for staying still in one place. Excellent progress.

“Take it outside”. Responds well.

“Wait” for waiting in a place, room etc. Learning but response is limited to the short term.

“No biting” He understands this but finds it very difficult to obey when excited and he does get very excited with his great effort! He will be OK when he matures.

Update 23.07.11: This morning, after our walk, he looked towards me for his usual “bone” (a piece of chicken neck) and I told him a few times, ‘No bone.’ When he persisted in sitting and looking at me imploringly I said to him, ‘No bone today, I’m sorry.’ and off he went outside!
Off his own bat he has learned that when I go to the computer area and sit down he is not going to get attention and goes off to do his own thing with, sometimes, a little whine as a grumble. On one occasion he waited by his door until he was sure I was going to sit in my chair and then darted outside to amuse himself.

“Enough” and “finished” Update 27.10.11. He now understands and responds to these words. In the case of food, for instance, when, after eating, he is still trying to lick the last smell off the bowl with much clatter the word “Enough” stops it. Also as an example, if he hangs about after being fed, apparently waiting for more, the word “Finished” gets him to go off to do something else.


The Garden Gate:

Over about three occasions he learned to “Wait!”, once the gate was opened, and then “Come!” as I move to exit. He now waits unasked until the “Come!”, “OK” or “Lets go” – unless excited (when he forgets to wait!).


Barking as a demand: Having learned to say “Please” he has started barking as a demand. When told to stop he stops or persists. In the case of the latter if he does not respond to being told to stop it or be quiet I either turn my back on him or, if that does not work, put him out of the room and shut the door for a few minutes. That works!

Update 10.09.11. When told to stop he is now learning to do so. He is also learning that a raised finger means ‘Desist!’

Update 09.09.11. He has recently started barking to protect his territory and/or me and, consequently, barks at almost any outside, nearby noise. As soon as he started this, which he did from the safety of the house, I started to tell him, ‘Go outside and look.’ Because previously, when playing with ball or toy, I have told him to ‘Look for it.’ if he lost sight of the plaything, and he understood this in no time, he immediately understood the new “command” and acted accordingly.

Update 25.02.12. He is very sound sensitive and reacts in direct proportion to the volume. He recently even barked at a grass hopper that flew into the house.

He is understanding my telling him that certain things and people are friends – a word he now understands.

“Ball”, “Toy”. Update 24.02.12. Knows “Ball” for squeaky plastic ball and “toy” for squeaky plastic bone.
“Toys” and “Play with your toys”. Understands

“Push” and “Push it!” He has a plastic football in the garden which he can only push around by his nose and by trying to bite it and learned in a few minutes to push it around on command.

Update 04.12.12.

Somewhere here I must have mentioned that he started to bat a rubber ball with his “toy”. This he has been doing more efficiently for some months but, recently, I noticed that he was also batting the ball with his paws – either one – as well as his nose and the “toy”.

New 11.10.11. Raw bones. About three weeks ago I started giving Tali soup bones instead of chicken neck halves because he was chewing half the half neck and swallowing the rest; all in a matter of minutes! I used to give him the chicken neck pieces through the dog door and he soon learned to eat them outside. I continued this with the soup bones and, when he first brought one into the house I had a look at it [having first asked for his permission!!] and, as it was still “wet” with meet and marrow etc., asked him to take it outside, which he did promptly. Some days later he was on his bed indoors (where it always is – bedroom at night and sitting room during the day) and, seeing a “dry” bone outside in the garden, I brought it in and gave it to him saying, ‘This is OK, it is not dirty.’ He started chewing on it. I recently suspected that he was bringing the bones indoors, to his bed initially, once they were “dry”. Today, I gave him his bone at 11 a.m. and he brought it indoors at about 5 p.m. Remarkably he does this without any signs of fear or guilt. I continue to be surprised by this dog.

Update 05.11.11. Raw bones. Having discovered a few small, dark patches on the carpet and concluded that they came from these bones in some way I decided that they could not be brought in in future so, the next time he brought his bone in (after the necessary cleaning of it!) I had to tell him that the rules were changed and that bones ha, henceforth, to be kept outside. Thereafter, when he next brought the cleaned bone indoors, I told him something like, ‘I’m sorry, son, but take it outside.’ Naturally he was puzzled by this and I had to ask for the bone and put it outside whilst emphasizing, “Not inside”, “Outside”. On that day or the next he came through his dog door, stopped immediately inside it and looked at me saying, obviously, ‘May I bring it in?’ and I told him kindly that I was sorry but he could not. Since then he has only brought a bone, a very clean and dry one at that, inside – and had it removed to where it now belonged!

Update 29.11.11. Raw bones. Some days ago he ceased bringing any bones inside although, at times, he leaves them outside but close to his dog door.

New 05.12.11. Shaking (coat) e.g. to eliminate water.

Mainly because entry to the house is directly into the sitting room and I do not want a wet dog shaking itself in the house I have been teaching Tali to relate the word “shake” with that act. I have been doing this by saying, whenever I could, the word “shake” each time he shook himself for whatever reason so that he could make the association. Yesterday, it drizzled when we were in the garden so, when we came in, I had the opportunity to test him. We stopped on the concrete apron outside the front door and I said to Tali, ‘Shake’ and did so myself, doggy fashion (yeh, funny!). He looked at me enquiringly and I did it again. Then, he gave himself a good shake . . . . . . . . . bloody marvelous!!

New 20.01.12. Chews. On days when he does not get a bone or, very occasionally as a surprise treat, I have been giving him a slim rawhide chew. These are Bono Fido chews and are about 10 mm in diameter and 120mm long. As usual with all food he takes it outside and until recently was sometimes having difficulty getting the chew through his dog door because the opening of the door is only about 15mm wider than the length of the chew help across his jaws. At these times I used to realign the chew in his mouth. Very recently, however, I noticed that on his way to the door he was “tossing” the chew a little in his mouth and centering it across his jaws and, that way, having little if any difficulty getting through the door  Just to be sure I watched him a couple of time more and, yes, this is what he has worked out!

New 04.12.12. Barking and quiet.

Tali used to bark at everything that moved until he got familiar with it and, because he was disturbing neighbours as well as getting told off by me I changed tack and started teaching him that I wanted either “No noise” or “No barking.” Since recently he seldom barks if he hears or sees anything untoward. Instead he gives a sort of bark in his mouth or just growls a little. At times he will do the subdued bark and look at me and if I tell him something like, ‘Go and have a look but no noise please.’ or ‘Go and have a look but no barking.’ he goes outside an either gives his muted bark a few times or does not bark at all.

His ability to respond to simple and unfamiliar talk has increased.

23.03.13. Update.

Takes ball to toy to bat it and vice versa.

He comes to check me from where he is if I exclaim in pain in the manner I must have done when I smashed my shoulder (04.08.12.) and had to walk home in the dark and freezing cold with only my little pup to see me the 500 m or so home. All I remember of him was him circling me and never leaving me despite his not being on the leash.

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