Monday, October 10, 2011

Up, Up, and Away!

Kaytee has class Wednesday nights, so Wednesdays are now Max 'n Orent bonding time. And boy did we have a great Wednesday. The little guy has really hit a new phase in maturity and learning.

Right now, he's working on "Up." He's not a very physically energetic guy, so our initial attempts were met with deep skepticism. Even with a tasty lure he would try sit, down, roll, and shake, then look at us dolefully while we tried to lure him into an "Up."

Finally last night I had the brilliant idea to try him on the easiest possible "Up" I could find. There's a 4-inch high wall around a lot of the yards in the neighborhood, so we went over to one. I sat on the wall and gave the "Up" command while luring his nose up and forward. He immediately stepped up and I gave him a whole handful of kibble while showering him with praise. Finally, his tail was up and wagging and his ears relaxed. Next I tried up on my right side. He was back to sitting and staring with his tail down. So we did it a few more times in the exact spot he'd been successful once. There, he could happily put his front paws up and receive lots of treats. After 3 more ups in the good spot, I stood up and tried a whole new section of wall. He leaped to put his paws up for more treats and praise. Yes!

We ended up walking 3 blocks, stopping at every low wall or step. He was loving it, tail wagging, eager for his treats and new trick.

The clincher was the slanty wall on Chester Ave. I got him to do "Up" on the 4-inch high part, then moved down to the 6-inch high part. Then the 1-foot, then 2-foot. He barely noticed he was doing an up at a height he'd been scared to try just 15 minutes ago.

By the time we got back home, he was happily doing an "Up" on walls that came up to his armpits when he's fully upright. He's a quick learner!

Orent can do up's just about anywhere now!
Then, he got free range of the house while I had dinner. He sniffed but did not chase the cat, and collected all his toys and brought them first to her, then to me. I tried not to feel slighted. After dinner I rolled the tennis ball down the hall until his tongue threatened to hit the floor with each step (granted, for our lazy guy that's less than 10 minutes).

He lay down in the hall right by the doors to both the outside and bedroom where his water is. I assumed he wanted water but he wouldn't come into the bedroom... he was signaling he had to "hurry" by waiting by the door. He let me put his Gentle Leader on with no kibble lure and went easily down the stairs (both signs that he's really got to "hurry"). Sure enough, as soon as we hit the ground he was ready!

Then, he wanted to go for a walk. He never wants to go for a walk, but he pranced eagerly around the block and even consented to run part of the way. He also met his friend from when he was a baby, a toddler in the neighborhood. She wanted to pet him and admire his feet and "hold his hand." We weren't sure what that meant but it didn't seem like it would work too well. When we passed her house again on the way home, he sat down on their sidewalk and clearly communicated, "hey, let's go visit that toddler again!" So maybe he wanted to have his hand held!

The evening ended with two amazing miracles. The cat sat on the floor and let me pet her while Orent got to sniff her all over. He just lay down right behind her and she stayed put and didn't even hiss. Then Orent actually fell asleep... on top of his bed! Not under, not beside, but on it.

Orent meets the cat and she doesn't run away!
Well done, little guy!

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