In My Own Voice #32: Tips for Training Your Human: The “2-P” Approach

Training your human can be a frustrating and discouraging endeavor, but, I assure you that you will have success if you follow my plan and never forget the two Ps: Perseverance and Patience.

Whether you are teaching a new skill, or merely refreshing a skill that has been lost, it is best to start small, you can always ramp up.

Below I offer a recent example from my own home.

My humans seem to have forgotten their prior training around meal times. They have become absent minded and forgetful.

In my experience, it is most useful to link my reminders with times when they are either preparing or eating food themselves. Without this direct, contextual link, they get confused and engage in other well meaning, but misdirected behaviors including going with me on a walk and rubbing my belly.

While there is a time and a place for these alternate behaviors, I stay focused on refreshing their skills around providing sustaining meals.

The sit and gaze is usually a sufficient reminder.

First, I immediately move into the kitchen when I observe any of the following behaviors: opening and closing kitchen cabinets or the fridge, or food-scented aromas in the air. This careful observation of their actions, allows me to target my training for the times when they are most receptive.

Step two is to position my body in a central location and to fix my gaze unwaveringly on them.

I regret to share that they can be a bit obtuse and I have been forced to move into steps three and four.

Step three involves bodily throwing myself against their legs.

Step four, which can only be used occasionally or else it loses its effectiveness, is to engage in a series of loud, staccato barks.

It is discouraging that after over a decade living together, they still need to be retrained on basic tasks.

But, with Perseverance and Patience, I am seeing real progress and trust that they will be soon be able to provide timely meals without my having to prompt them.

After I eat and drink, I make a point of going over and licking their legs. It’s important to reward them when they finally get it right.

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