The behavior that we triple-quadruple-extra reinforce with Ray is “go to your mat.”  We use it to calm him down, deliver treats, kongs and anything else.  We use a variety of mats as well, one of them actually being in his crate.  The crate used to be called night-night, but after the short lived time period when Ray was no longer crated, “night-night” became a not happy word and “mat” replaced it.

We’ve used “go to your mat” so much that if Ray is really interested in scoring whatever tasty tidbit we may be possessing, he will sometimes run to his mat as an offering in exchage for the coveted treat.  Yeah, it’s that good.

As good as he is at offering behaviors, I think we become used to stretching his abilities as I recently heard Asia, the new mama, saying to Ray as she was eating a cookie, “Do you want a bite?  Where might you go if you want a bite?”  I turned to her, astonished, saying  that Ray couldn’t reason like that…just as Ray rushed past me to hop on his mat.

As much as I would like to believe my boy is a genius who can reason, I know it was just one of those times where he offered up the behavior that he thought we wanted, because the next time she tried that line, he jumped up and nearly took the cookie from her hand.  Genius?  Maybe.  Cookie monster?  Absolutely.

We would like to sincerely thank everyone who graciously joined our Gotcha Day Blog Hop.  We loved reading your Gotcha Day story.  Thank you for sharing.

What is your best trick/behavior?

13 thoughts on “Reason-a-Bull

  1. Way to go Ray! Athena practices “bed” for laying on any mat we want her to and she's really good at it. She's also been practicing going to her crate from another room (at first she would only respond to the cue if we were in the same room as the crate…now she will do it from one or two rooms away).

    Athena also goes to her “bed” when people have food. B actually trained this and it's AMAZING because Athena used to be the worssstttt begger. Now she just runs to her crate or mat when we have food and waits there. We always give her a little something for being so good (usually one of her hip action or skin and coat treats since we have to give them to her sometime during the day anyway!).

    Athena's best trip is actually “leave it.” We practice it often and Athena will leave a piece of food on the ground for as long as we want until we say “ok.” I can drop food from the counter (on purpose) and say “leave it” and she will stare at it until she's free to take it. This command also comes in handy because Athena can sometimes be fussy when it's time to put her coat on (she will squirm around and try to not let us put it on her). So, we've started doing a leave-it command during coat time with a treat on the ground and Athena turns into a princess!!

  2. I love that she runs to her crate for treats! Ray usually stops outside and will go if we say, “all the way.”

    Thanks for the feedback, I had a background that I loved but I deleted it this morning because I think it was causing the blog to load really slow. I just keep changing things back and forth. :-/

  3. That's so good! We kind of slacked with training Nola to do some of these things because she is just so well behaved and we always have to focus so much on our fosters' behavior issues. My goal for this year is to teach Nola to go to her 'bed' instead of sitting one inch from our faces when we eat. 🙂 Great job with Ray!

  4. Good for Ray! I use “go lie down” which doesn't specify where, but just that it's time to settle down somewhere. Though if I say it with a raised voice, Kaya will go to her dog bed…and Norman just wags his tail:/ It has been a huge help.

  5. We are the king and queen of saying complex statements to our dogs. We also give them pep talks, share stories with them… let's just not even go into too much detail here. 🙂
    I like that you called the crate night-night. That's so cute!

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