Recently we learned a new skill on the boat. As with most things, it got me thinking about dogs. And how important it is for us to use the right words to talk to them.
What question are we asked most often about living with a big dog on a small sailboat? It’s “does Honey go potty on the boat?”. We’re working on it. But it isn’t easy. I’m starting to wonder if it’s just harder to get a big dog to “go” on a boat. Here’s why.
There are two kinds of people in this world: people who think nothing bad will ever happen and people like me. You know, waiting for a disaster to occur any minute. Luckily, I’ve taught my dog Honey the emergency word every dog needs to learn. Just in case.
For training Honey, we have a clicker, loads of treats, and some fun toys. We have leashes. Before we moved onto the boat, we had several books. But our most powerful training tool is something we rarely hear anyone talking about. Can you guess what it is?
My dog Honey isn’t perfect. But she has a very reliable recall. Most of the time. But there are three “must knows” for helping Honey to have a perfect recall. And I bet they’re the same three thing you must know to keep your dog’s recall strong.
I could count this as a dog training failure on many levels: I moved too quickly, didn’t test the behavior in a high distraction environment, and didn’t have a back up plan. But I think my biggest problem was forgetting that in dog training, feelings count too.
Honey has surprised me by learning some amazing things–walking on a moving ramp, climbing steep stairs with open treads, and even staying balanced on a heeling sailboat. But this year we have a new trick for her to learn. We’re going to teach our dog how to fly.
My dog Honey gives us so much—affection, companionship, amusement. But the greatest way she has given back to our family might surprise you. It has to do with training her. And training ourselves.