Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Labradors like jobs

Tallulah decided helping me do poop patrol should be one of her jobs. She carries the shovel for me as I scan the yard. I always enjoy letting my Labradors help with the chores. Tallulah offered to carry the shovel one day, so I let her have it, praised her for carrying it, called her to me when I needed it and gave her a click and treat for delivering. It was that easy. Now she helps out everyday. I can just drop the shovel anywhere and she will get it for me or I hand it to her between "uses". I love to teach my dogs tricks and jobs by capturing behaviors they offer and turning them into something useful or silly. Teaching anything makes them smarter and better learners and they are never too young or too old to learn. Tallulah has been doing this since she was 10 or 11 months old. My yellow Labrador, Marius, began carrying his puppy bowl around when he was 5 weeks old. I clicked and treated that and turned it into delivering to hand and he has been collecting all of the empty bowls after meals for me for the last 10 years! He loves that job and insists on doing it (and knows not to approach any other dog's bowl until they have finished and left it). I have had 2 other dogs decide they could do that job too once they saw Marius get clicked and treated for it. The others taught themselves. Have fun with your dog and give them a job today!

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