Thursday 29 March 2007

Educating Groucho

A few months after The Rescue and after Groucho's take over of our home, we decided it was time that Groucho learnt some manners. Westies are very energetic terriers and, if allowed, will rule the lives of everyone around them! So, we decided that Groucho the Wonder Westie needed to use his super canine powers to learn some manners and some fun tricks as well! Fortunately, we had a very lovely person come to our home to teach us how to channel those super canine powers - Julie from tagnrye. Please visit Julie here.

At first, Groucho strongly resisted being told what to do by Julie - after all, with his cute little face and wonderful personality, Groucho was quite used to getting his own way all the time! But, after a period of extended sulking behind the couch (we never realised that one of Groucho's super canine powers was an ability to sulk, without let up, for over 30 minutes!), Groucho finally realised that if he learnt some manners and tricks, he would be rewarded with a treat and Groucho never says no to a treat! After a little while, Groucho caught on to this whole tricks and manners malarky and really started to enjoy himself!

'Sit' was a bit of a doddle but 'Deck', 'Paw', 'Up' and 'Settle' took longer! We had homework every day and after a few months, Groucho was really into his homework routine and learning more and more tricks. The next time Julie visited, Groucho was more than happy to show off his new skills and learn some more! We are very happy that Julie helped us out and Groucho still enjoys some homework now and then, learning some new tricks, brushing up on his old ones so many thanks to Julie for all her help and hard work (oh yes, and patience with both Groucho and us!). What we have to constantly remember is that, while Groucho is very clever, he doesn't really understand human talk so we had to teach Groucho what certain words mean and reward him when he did the right thing! And Groucho is just so proud of himself when he works it out!!

We were very proud of Groucho when he worked out that he had to sit down at the traffic signals and wait for the little green man to signal it was ok to cross the street! Of course, at the other side of the street, the first thing Groucho did was demand his treat for being such a clever dog! And Grouch, with is super canine powers, quickly worked out that if he did 'roll over' when he was told, not only did he receive a treat but also a big rub on the tummy which of course, Groucho thinks is just the best thing. Tummy rubs are Groucho's favourite!

Groucho is currently putting his super canine powers towards learning some new tricks - 'Wait', 'High Five', 'Stand' (now, this is not as simple as it sounds!) and 'Gentle' and, oh yes, 'Enough' which we use when we want Groucho to just stop being bold! All in all, educating Groucho is great fun - both for him and us and it certainly makes life easier for us all. It is better for everyone if Groucho can understand what we want him to do and it is very important for Groucho to know how to behave when he's out and about on his travels and when he's socialsing with all his friends! And being such a clever little Westie, teaching Groucho to channel his super canine powers into learning tricks and manners is something he enjoys!

No comments: