Monday, December 3, 2007

Training Challenge: Laundry Poaching

Here's a post where we need your input, dear readers.

Kuvasz are intelligent, silly and a delight to be with. The problem is that if you don't find good games to play with them, they will invent a game and train YOU. This is Biggie's new game (developed in the last 2 days) if he is loose in the apartment and I'm trying to do work or something else that doesn't involve food:

Ignore readily available chew and squeak toys.
Wander quietly into bedroom, rummage in laundry basket.
Appear silently in front of Mommy with dirty sock or underwear in mouth.
Stand just out of reach.
Wait for Mommy to notice.
Trot away.
Make Mommy chase. Run only as fast enough to keep Mommy close, but not close enough to grab.

If Mommy doesn't see right away, approach again, letting sock or underwear dangle more.

Shake head vigorously from side to side, or pretend to eat the clothing.

Repeat as needed.

While he's an equal opportunity sock stealer, he only takes Mommy's underwear. That was probably TMI.

Yes, I could confine him while I am doing other things, or keep him on a leash. But Biggie's in his pen or crate during the day when I am at work, and sleeps in his crate at night. So it would be nice to have him out of the pen/crate for a while.

Any suggestions? (I will post my current strategy in a later post.)


HP said...

Buy Biggie his own "mommy panties" and stash them in the basket and let him have at it. LOL.

And ANSWER MY QUESTIONS. NOW!!! I need to post the interview. :)

Jackson's mom said...

I have trained my lab mix to NEVER step over the threshold of my bedroom. the laundry is usually in the bathroom beyond that and inexcessible. When the laundry makes it to the laundry room or visitors leave their socks (laundry of choice for Jackson) on the floor he will find them. I have managed to train him to not chew the socks when he brings them in the living room, so he jsut goes and gets more to bring to the living room. my strategy now is to bait him (when I have time to watch him) with an especially sweaty sock and follow him around the corner and after the initial smelling if he goes for it I make my signature loud-barkish NO!! In two attempts at this he has managed to be faster and stealther than me, but I am still determined.

Nanook and Pooka's Mama said...

There are a couple of issues here -

The first is that he's playing a "look at the treasure" game with you - and in doing so he's putting you in a beta position - you are chasing him for the treasure which isn't how it should play out at all - so you have to one-up him.

When he appears with your laundry, ignore him COMPLETELY and go find one of his toys. Then make a HUGE FUSS over the toy. Throw it in the air, and then when it hits the floor jump on it making happy excited noises. Be so much more interesting than the boring old sock or undies that he comes running to see what YOU are doing, instead of the other way around. All of a sudden he's on YOUR turf - YOU have the treasure. When he clearly is interested, look at him and then grab the toy and clutch it to your chest, facing away from him like, "no, you can't have it! Mine!" He should drop the boring laundry in his desire to have the incredibly interesting toy. Then you can play a little polite tug of war with him, eventually claiming both the laundry AND the toy as your just due - you're the alpha and you get everything you want.

You also want to discourage him from messing with your laundry at all. You can try this:

You can try and teach your pup aversion to the laundry as well...not by yelling at the pup, but by scolding the laundry. I know it sounds insane, but try telling the laundry how bad it is in front of your dog and see how he looks at it afterwards. I swear it worked on Nanook with socks, and on Pooka with the cats. Scout's honor!

I read about it in Puppies for Dummies and decided to try it - it worked. Here's the exercise as she describes it:

"Correcting a puppy after the fact is ineffective and damaging to your relationship. On the flip side, correcting the thought process - and then shaming the object of interest (the laundry) - puts the negative focus outside your relationship. Set up a situation with the object your puppy is obsessed with.

1. While your puppy is resting in another room, set up the laundry in the middle of the floor somewhere.

2. Bring your dog to the object on the leash.

3. The second your dog notices the object, say "no" or whatever corrective sound you have and hold or stand on the leash so that the dog can't reach the laundry. (This is where you are interrupting the thought process).

4. Shout at the pile of laundry - without looking at your dog. Get angry at the laundry. You are doing the dog version of telling a child that the stove is hot.

5. Walk by the object again with your dog on leash. Your dog should avoid it like the plague.

Use this technique to catch your dog in the thought process. If your dog already has the object in his mouth you're too late. Remember you're correcting the object, not your dog. Don't even look at your dog as you mouth off to the naughty thing."

Huck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Huck said...

Sorry I had to repost my comment--the link I wanted to share didn't work.

Huck will go and bring an article of Tyler's clothing when he is not home. One time he drug some track pants all the way to the living room! I thought he did this because the clothing smelled like Tyler. All of the above comments have been very helpful to me!! I am def. going to try them. I hope it works for you too, Biggie.

When I read this post, I thought of these toys I wanted to buy for Huck.
go to Toys, then Plush toys, then Plush Puzzle toys.

He loves to dig into his toy basket and place each toy around the kitchen and pull the stuffing out of any plush toys I give him. I don't understand this canine game. It's like he creates puzzle/activities/challenges for himself.

Druiel said...


When I need to have a quiet moment at home what usually I do is:

I go for a good walk with my two Weimaraners and once we get home I give them a big bone from the butchery!

One hour of chewing after a good walk, gives me about 4 hours of rest!!