Just thinking!

Just thinking!

Ray is fascinating! One aspect that I find admirable, and so many of us could learn from it, is the ability to see a positive in pretty much anything. Ray responded really well to “clicker” training using treats as the motivator but my concern was how would he react when the treats were reduced?

His reaction was no surprise to the Oakville & Milton Humane Society trainers who we were in regular contact with, but did surprise me. His level of cooperation did not change at all. Apparently his perspective was simply “I didn’t get a treat this time. Oh well …. I’ll probably get one next time.”

While we cannot know what happened in Ray’s past life, we do know that he either wandered away from home and got lost; escaped from an unhappy situation, or was taken somewhere and abandoned. From what we do know about him, I think it reasonable to conclude that he was not taken care of by his previous owners. The initial OHMS assessment of him presented a picture of a dog with many issues, particularly with people.

Given that picture, I am still in awe that he was so trusting and affectionate with us. Even at our initial meetings when Ray and I were basically assessing each other, he was certainly giving me the benefit of the doubt in that while he was quite distant, he was not anti-social. Again it would appear that his thought process was based heavily on a positive attitude.

Then there are treats! Not unlike us, he really appreciates treats however, unlike many of us, he doesn’t necessarily want the biggest. Give him a large biscuit and he will enjoy it, but he will just as happily have a piece off that same biscuit or a smaller treat entirely. Getting his treats is certainly important to him, but the size of the treat is quite irrelevant.

His attitude towards doors is fascinating in that he does not seem able to rationalize that both the front and back doors of our home can lead to the same place outside! He is relatively comfortable if I leave the house for a short time without him as long as I go through the back door. If I go through the front door, then his stress level rises.

A similar reaction occurs when one of us goes into an unfamiliar store. He is most certainly a “creature of habit” and can slowly accept that one of us has to go into Store A. The acceptance ends however when Store B comes into the picture!

Leaving him in the car while I fill the gas tank is really interesting because, even though he can see me, he is very vocal and clearly not happy!

I would expect that over time, he will become more comfortable with these situations by simply accepting the repetition however ……………. when I do something different? When I have to go into Store C? Living with a very insecure dog makes you ….. well ……….. think!

Just thinking!

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12 thoughts on “Just thinking!

  1. I’ve had a similar experience with Kali who is HIGHLY motivated by food. She is a rescue, was a stray that some one found on the streets of Taiwan and turned into a shelter. A local rescue group there took her in a readied her for adoption in the US (to me!). So I don’t know her history either but can only guess from how motivated by food she is that she may have been a stray for some time fighting for food and going hungry for long periods of time. Having said that she is very respectful of other’s food – including her brother Smokey who is ten pounds. They eat side by side and she doesn’t approach his dish until he is finished and she will then go over to sniff and lick it. Kali is not particular either about the size of the treat – anything smaller than the size of a golf ball she seems to swallow hole and be grateful. Except carrots and apples which she seem to like to crunch around before swallowing.
    I’ve really enjoyed your posts and following you and Ray.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nice having you coming along with us! It is interesting hear about the similarities between Ray and Kali. His eating habits are much the same re carrots and apples, but he also loves (stress LOVES) rutabaga! It was recommended by our vet and helps keep his teeth clean. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dogs and doors are funny aren’t they. One of my previous dogs would lie on the mat in front of the door I’d just left from and wouldn’t move until I came back.
    Hubby’s training tool for Maggie was a little box of Cheerios breakfast cereal. Gradually, the treats were replaced with more fuss and praise, so she didn’t always expect one. She is a creature of habit and routine, so moving from a house to a boat has been a learning curve for all of us!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hubby amended her harness so that there is a sufficient loop to hook her in if necessary, but we are surprised she hasn’t fallen/jumped in the marina yet. Neither has she chased the ducks sitting on the pontoon or banks behind us. Guess it’s a sign of her old age as she chases the rabbits here on her terms (yeah, been there, done that, bored now) haha!

        Liked by 1 person

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