Friday, March 5, 2010

The friendly strangers

Yesterday, the sun finally came out and it was such a relief. After a few quirks in our schedule, I decided to take Stella over to Radnor Lake. Walking there hasn't been a great experience in the past although it's beautiful, there are lots of deer and other critters and I suspect that the smells are overwhelming to a young dog. Stella has a way of forgetting everything she ever knew about manners and walking in general when we go there. It's one of a few situations where I am nothing more to her than an anchor.

Yesterday was a little different, with one exception. We've been working on the portion of the CGC test where we greet a friendly stranger. While we've been doing this unsuccessfully for some time, often our difficulties come when the stranger is too friendly. You wouldn't think that would be a problem but it sends Stella to the moon. I haven't been able to direct this interaction as much as I'd like to since I know these are really nice people who just want to pet the dog. I refuse to start off by lecturing them about their approach. Not only that, I've learned these last months that the world is filled with exuberant baby-talking dog lovers and that's never going to change. People coo at her from open car windows until her butt starts wagging and she just about pees herself. I'm not complaining at all, really - there are worse things.

Anyway, it always seems to end with her trying her best to decorate them with her muddy paw prints. This scene repeated itself yesterday. I said "sit". She ignored me completely. I said "sit" again, she didn't. I showed her a piece of a hot dog I had in my hand and said "sit". Nothing. She just wanted to meet the new person who was busy telling her how beautiful she was. Beyond that one incident, I have to say she was much improved over last time we came here. There were dogs and bicycles and photographers (seemingly) hiding in the woods. The only thing she got locked onto was a family of peacocks and who could blame her for that? I would've taken a photo except that um... I was attached to a big nutball dog.


Schwang said...

This totally sounds like Miss M. She is so excited to meet people she wiggles and acts like she's going to explode. On our walks if she hears someone's voice she assumes they're talking to her and will stop and try to meet them, even if we're in the middle of crossing a busy street. And the worst is when she's jumping and going crazy, and people say it's ok, but we know it's not ok because it's just reinforcing her behavior. She is a bit better. I don't know if it's age or routine. It always takes pitties so much longer to act mature.

Anonymous said...

lol! it's so hard not to reward our baby's super-friendly nature! But I think you forgot that the strongest lesson uses the reward the dog really really wants. So no, she didn't want the hotdog.. she wanted to greet the person. But she got the reward without obeying the command so you've actually taught her she doesn't have to listen to you. I bet if you had waited her out (and NOT given a second command) she would have sat, even if just momentarily and only if just a halfcrouch. Then you could have rewarded her with the visit.

Susan Rose said...

Stella will be sooooo socialized when she graduates. Y'all will be ready for anything. I can see the headlines now: "Pit Bull passes rigorous behavior exam with flying colors!"