Thursday, April 27, 2017

Wait for It...

Bristol and Sami, practicing their simultaneous SIT, two days after we brought them home. (8 & 10 weeks old.)
They say you teach best what you most need to learn. How about patience? I am not a patient person. Especially when it comes to eating. Ask Chuck. When dinner is on the table, I don't want anyone dilly-dallying, delaying our dinner. 

The first day we brought Bristol and Sami home, I started to teach them SIT. Within a couple days, they mastered doing sit at the same time. A double sit? I was ecstatic. 

The next step has been trickier. I am trying to teach them some manners; I want them to stay where they are until I release them.  WAIT is my command for STAY. I expect them to wait while sitting until I release them to eat from their bowls. I expect them to wait at the bottom of the steps when I go upstairs to get something. I am hoping it will help them hold a sitting position when meeting new people, too, instead of leaping up on unsuspecting visitors. 

Waiting to meet visiting guests.

Inspired by a video of a young girl feeding a room full of pit bulldogs, I figured I would start with teaching the puppies to wait their turn to eat. After they've waited, I release one, and then the other. To be fair, I rotate who goes first. 

Here's that cute little spitfire feeding six pit bulls. 

To begin our training, I had the puppies sit while I held their dishes, and had them wait a couple seconds before putting their food on the floor. Then I had them sit, and said WAIT after I put the bowls down. We slowly added seconds until now they wait about 30 seconds before I release them. 

Sometimes, we practice waiting when it isn't meal time. After they sit, I will tell them to wait, and slowly back away from them. At first, I would only back a few steps, and then release them. Next, I was able to move out of their sight into the hallway before calling them to come.

People have asked how I am able to get pictures of the two of them together, facing the camera. This practice of sitting and waiting has helped immensely. 

To challenge the puppies, and to make a game of waiting, we play Hide and Seek. I have them sit in the kitchen, and I slowly back away, until I'm out of sight. Then I scurry to hide behind the bathroom door, or somewhere in the living room, or in the stairwell. When I call, "Here! Here! Here!" they run to find me. They seem to like it, and I love that they are getting so good at waiting.

Now if I could just find a game for myself that would help make waiting more fun. Maybe if the doctor's office, or the grocery store clerk, offered me a treat after I've successfully waited my turn without losing my cool, I would try harder. Patience is a virtue I have waited to master all my life. 

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