November 1, 2011

Human Training

Tessa has had me as her human for a few years now and she finally has me broken in.  She has her routine and is pretty good about keeping me to it.

In the morning when I am awake she jumps halfway on the bed so I can pet her.  She gets several false starts when she thinks I'm getting up.  She'll rise from her bed on the floor beside my bed, stick her nose over the bed and give a good sniff.  Often she'll do that thing where she puffs out some air to get things moving for a good sniff.  If that doesn't get me moving, she twirl around and lay back down for a quick nap, often with a loud "hrrumpf".

All these things wake me up in the morning, but I'm learned to ignore most anything she does except those times she gets a cold nose or a well-placed lick in.

Once I'm deemed "awake" and she gets here hello in, we get up out of bed and stagger into the kitchen where I make sure she has feed and water.  I might putter around a bit, but if I don't give her some extra petting in right off the bat she'll usually wander back into the bedroom and either go to sleep in her bed, or if my wife is still in bed, she'll jump up and lay down there.  She generally will not jump up if I'm in bed, unless I just got home from being out and she didn't get enough attention when I returned.

Once my morning ablutions are finished, she wants to go to the park.  In the summer I'll take her in the morning, but the other seasons I prefer to take her in the afternoon.  Tessa thinks that she is a working dog and being part black lab, she's partially right.  Her "job" is to fetch the ball.  In the winter I'll swap the ball out for a cloth training dummy.  Tessa usually gets to walk to and from the park off-leash, as long as she behaves and doesn't walk too far ahead.  She is great about not crossing the streets until she is told to.  At the park she gets to stay as long as she likes, usually only about 10 minutes.  When we get home she gets a treat if she behaved well, which is most every day.  It doesn't matter what she gets as a treat, as long as she gets one.  Sometimes she gets a bit of rawhide, or she might get a biscuit.  Tessa generally will not accept treats unless she has earned it.  Well, technically that isn't true.  When we go to the pet store and they offer her a treat she will take it, but she won't eat it.  She'll either dump it on the floor right then and there or she'll take it outside and then dump it.

Most of the rest of the day is spent sleeping, annoying the cats, running outside to crap in the backyard, or just trying to get some more petting in.  She's allowed to eat all day, but meal times are roughly 9 AM and 7 PM.  She snacks on her food all day, bringing in a mouthful at a time and dumping it on the floor far away from her bowl to eat a single piece of kibble at a time.  I don't get it and I've given up trying to change her behavior.  If she ignores one of her dump piles I'll tap my foot next to it.  She'll come over an clean it up pretty quickly.

She has a second bed in the living room, next to the loveseat.  She spends most of her day there and tries to stay up as long as we do, but sometimes she just decides it is time for bed and wanders off to her "real" bed in the bedroom.  If I'm staying up and my wife goes to bed early, Tessa goes with her in the bedroom and my wife's cat comes to spend time by me.

When I do go to bed, Tessa has to say goodnight.  She'll jump up so her front paws are one me and she'll just lay into me and let me pet her for as long as I like.  When I'm done she just gets down.  Sometimes I'll let her jump on the bed so I can be lazy and pet her more easily with both hands, but the second I stop petting her, she jumps down.  She does the normal turn or two before laying down and quickly drifts off to sleep.  If she has little doggie nightmares (about once a week) I'll wake her up by petting her and telling her it's ok.  She calms down quickly and goes back to a calm sleep.

Tessa has me trained well.

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