Saturday, October 29, 2005
I'm in love with a Pit Bull
Ok, so it is far from the first time I've been in love with a pit bull, but this is the first of our Pit Bull Hall dogs I've really fallen for. His name is Porkchop, he's the silliest looking pit in the current bunch, and he's a dream on leash. He's been in the Hall for a couple of weeks already, but yesterday was the first time I took him out. He sat and looked at me when we got to every door, and responded immediately if I stopped walking when he started to pull. We went out to the field so he could run around, and Porkchop played soccer with his head and feet. Then, D, one of BAD RAP's co-founders came out and told me Porkchop's dirty little secret: he's a mouthy, rude, pain in the butt teenager. That was when I knew I'd met the latest love of my life.
There are no dogs I enjoy training more than pushy adolescent boys. I love outstubborning them, outsmarting them, and most of all bonding with them. D and I agreed Porkchop would be my new project.
This morning the big P and I went out to work. I was warned that his recall is a little on the "yeah right" side, so I armed myself with a long line (a skinny, cheap leash that comes in lengths from 10-50 feet) and took him out to run. Porkchop wowed me with his soccer skills again, and when it was time to go, I stood on the long line and called him. PC gave me one look and ran the other way, but didn't get far thanks to that trusty line. Ha! Foiled! I called him again and he bounded over to me. He once again showed off how nicely he can walk on leash as we headed into the building to do some training.
Porkchop wasn't responding real quickly to his name as we walked, so we worked on getting a quicker response with a handful of treats. He was so well behaved - could this perfect boy really have bad manners when given the chance? I let up on his lead a bit and sat down. Porkchop sat by my feet, wiggled, mouthed my hand and headbutted me, fat pitbull forehead to wimpy human chin. Ah, there's the dog I heard about.
Cue the Nothing Exercise. One of the greatest training methods ever invented, and all I have to do is, well, Nothing. I sit, hold PC's leash so that he's only got about 4 inches of freedom, and ignore him. If he sits or lies down, I pet him. If he stands up or starts mouthing me I stop and ignore him. He'd jump on me, I'd pretend he wasn't there, he'd whine, I'd pretend he wasn't there, he'd paw at me, I'd pretend he wasn't there. His attempts to annoy me failed, and he sat down, enjoying a few good minutes of petting and down time. It was nice. We got up, and took and easy walk back to his kennel. I closed the door as he gave me his big old bully grin. I can't wait for our next session.