Last week I started a new series on my blog about training my dog, Bob, to become my BPD emotional support dog. You can find the original posting here, to read about it: CLICK ME! I said in that post that I’d update everyone each week on Bob’s progress, and what’s been going on. So here I am, are you ready for your first update?!
Paws up/Paws down – Bob has gotten to the point where he can do this trick with a treat, or even sometimes just by me pretending I have a treat. He does look quite sad when he realises I don’t have one though. We haven’t started on trying to get him to respond to sounds of BPD distress instead of commands yet. He’s not so great at the paws down one, since once he’s on the sofa, he tends to not want to get off. He’s not quite gotten the hang of putting his paw on my shoulder yet, he does do it with enough encouragement, but it needs work still!
Cuddles – He absolutely loves this trick. He does need a treat to do it still, however he usually will stay in that position even after I’ve given him a treat. He just loves to sit there with me stroking his head, it’s so cute! Doggy cuddles definitely help with a lot of the symptoms of BPD, that’s for sure.
Speak – I have to admit, I haven’t even tried to get him to speak on command yet. I’ve not had the best week this week (yes, I probably needed an emotional support dog more than ever this week) and haven’t had the motivation nor time to teach him properly. We will work on this in the next few weeks though!
Hugs – Bob CAN do hugs. Does that mean he WANTS to do hugs? No, not all, actually. He knows how to stand up on his back paws and he does it for a good 2-3 seconds before he lets himself fall back down again, it’s just making sure that before he falls back down, his paws are on my shoulders. As I said in the original posting, this one is sort of just for fun, so I’m not too worried if he doesn’t pick up on it straight away.
DPT/Help – I tried this one with him for the first time about 3 days ago, and he did it with no issues whilst I was using a treat. It’s again, one of those things that you need to keep practising at to make sure he understands he won’t get a treat every time. I might invest in a dog training clicker or something along those lines to help with that.
Kisses – I’ve come to the conclusion that Bob hates giving kisses. He just refuses. He doesn’t like it, he doesn’t want it, and he certainly won’t kiss you if you tell him to! I’ll convince him though, I have a very kissable face!
I was actually quite surprised this week at how fast Bob has picked up on some of the tricks. He’s definitely learnt the basis of each one and what it means (apart from Speak, obviously) and I’m very proud of him! When researching this subject, I read a lot about usually only very small dogs or puppies can learn things like this effectively. Although, Bob is an adult dog and he seems to be doing just fine! I like having a dog to help me because he doesn’t even know the exact issues. He doesn’t know that I have BPD, he doesn’t know how to understand that. In a way, it’s a good thing, because I know he’s not judging me. He truly wants to help me.
I’ll keep you updated with another post next week on his progress, I’m sure that by then we may have started to get into some more of the automatic learning of BPD distress sounds and things like that. I feel that the more the weeks go on, I’ll be able to identify the problems with each trick and be able to work on them. Once we have them nearly mastered I can take little videos to insert and show you guys!
Thanks for keeping up with our BPD journey, watch this space!
– Chaz and Bob x