Dog Training/Training Dog

I always teach my dogs a “trade” command, which means whatever they have, they give to me in exchange for something else. Do this right, and a puppy will hand you your expensive leather glove instead of shredding it to bits. It can be quite useful. My previous dog, the late, great, Nimbus, would drop a dead squirrel in exchange for dog biscuits (four, never less).

It ‘s not only humans who can use this to their advantage. My husband leaves his slippers inside by the porch door when he goes out to care for the chickens. Lily, my border collie/rat terrier mix, waits for him to leave and then she hides them. When he comes back, he says, “Where’s my slippers?” Lily gleefully drops one at his feet. “And where’s the other?” he says. She brings the second one and waits by the canister that holds the treats. She thought this up all by herself and it never fails to amuse all of us.

Lily has also learned to take my rubber boots and put them in the center of a mud puddle. Of course, she knows that I’ll need her help. I say, “Fetch the boots,” and she does. The “fetch” command is something that I taught her. The rest of it all comes from her inventive mind.

She is a dog, and a good trainer. Does that make her a “dog trainer?”

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