People have dogs for the following reasons: protection, hunting, gathering sheep, leading the blind, or sled dogs in parts of the world where there is a lot of snow. Some people have dogs for their children, and some people who are sing, have dogs for companionship. Dogs are easily trained to do the job they are required to perform.
In 1980, I wanted to have a dog for a companion because I was single. I bought Lucky, my Boston Terrier, when he was almost five-months-old, from couple in Topeka who raised Boston Terriers.
The first night, I put a small bed with a mattress, a pillow, and a blanket beside my bed. I put Lucky in the bed and covered him up. I talked to him and tried to show him that he was to sleep in his bed, and I was to sleep in my bed. I rolled over and tried to sleep. Suddenly, I heard something, and I rolled over and saw Lucky walking along the side of the bed and pawing it. I picked him up and put him on my bed. He walked all over the bed and then licked my face. I put him back in his bed, talked to him, and then rolled over and tried to sleep.
Shortly, the same thing happened. As the night passed, I kept trying to get him to sleep in his bed, but I gave up and put him in my bed so I could sleep. I finally got one hour’s sleep that night.
Since Lucky’s previous owners started to paper-train him, I continued to train him. I would put the newspapers in front of the back door and if he went on the papers, he received a treat. If he went on the carpet, I spanked him and put him on the papers. He learned quickly to go on the papers. Whenever I went somewhere, I put newspapers down, and when I stayed home, I took him outside. Every time he wanted to go outside, he let me know by scratching on the back door or by pawing me. When I asked him if he wanted to go outside, he turned and dashed for the back door.
Three months after I bought Lucky, I bought Toby, my Terrier-Chihuahua, from the Humane Society in Lawrence so that Lucky could have a playmate. Toby was three-months-old when I bought him. Since Lucky was paper-trained, it was easy to train Toby. However, when I took Toby outside, he tried to play with Lucky, but as time passed, he knew what “going outside” meant. Every time Toby wanted to go outside, he stared at me or barked once or twice. After I said “What’s Toby want?”, he ran to the back door.
Besides training them to go outside, I taught them to obey my commands by using Behavior Modification. I would say “Sit,” and if they didn’t, I would take my hand and push their rear down and say “Good Boy.” They both learned quickly to sit.
After that, I taught them to shake hands using the same procedure. I’ve also taught them to roll over and lie down. Every time they obeyed, they received a treat, and when they disobeyed, they didn’t receive a treat.
I also taught Lucky to respond to words such as: ball, pillow, bye bye, Grandpa, protein, Mommy, blanket, and love Mommy. He knew me as “Mommy.” If I said, “Love Mommy,” Lucky came to me and liked me. He also came to me and liked me when I was lying on the floor pretending to be hurt. He probably thought that I was hurt or not feeling good. I wanted to teach them to help me in case I was hurt.
Lucky also knew a few spelling words such as: cheese, eat, and treat. If I spelled these words, he became excited and went to the kitchen or wanted me to get him something to eat.
Toby knew the following words: bye bye, cheese, go outside, eat, treat, play, get up, where’s Mommy, protein, Grandpa, Dr. Steve (their veterinarian), and Grandma. He also knew the following spelling words: treat, cheese, eat, Grandma, and Grandpa. Sometimes, when I said someone’s name, he went to them and licked them. I continued to increase their vocabulary, such as the word “stay.”
I also saw them work as a team against “Mommy.” If I was eating something, Lucky would get on one side of me and Toby would get on the other side. As a result, I gave them a rawhide stick or some of their own food so they wouldn’t eat mine.
Besides learning my commands and spelling words, I’ve seen certain characteristics in Toby and Lucky. When I was holding Toby and someone near me held out their hands to get Toby to come to them, he would come to them like a baby would. Lucky also learned that trick. Toby also whined when he wanted something and when I was in bed, he tried to get my attention to take him outside, and if I didn’t respond, he would lie down and kick my side until I got up. They would also come to me if I was crying. This showed me they were affectionate. They seemed to know that I was hurting and wanted to help me.
Most of the time, they got along. However, I had seen jealousy in Lucky because I had him three months before I bought Toby. When I first brought Toby home, Lucky always wanted to be near me and didn’t want Toby around, so I hd to show Lucky that Toby needed my attention, too, and that he could be a friend to Toby. However, it took awhile. When Toby came up on my lap, Lucky lay down on the floor in front of my chair and looked up at me. When Toby wanted down, Lucky got up and tried to get Toby. As soon as Toby went off my himself, Lucky got up on my lap.
There were times when Lucky didn’t want Toby around me, but he learned to wait until Toby got down so he could get up. Sometimes, both of them sat on my lap. Every time Toby came up to me, Lucky came, too.
I also saw jealousy in Toby because he would come to me if Lucky got my attention. Even though they were jealous of each other, I felt love by them.
It was exciting to watch Lucky and Toby’s personalities develop. If I hadn’t trained them, they wouldn’t have been like my “children.”