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Ace is a good boy

A herd of daycare kids walks by our back patio every morning if it’s warm. The kids walk within 15 feet of our door, linked together in a line. My dog is often napping in the morning sunlight as they pass.

Ace likes to growl quietly from the window, or he’ll announce two, little “woofs.” It’s natural for any dog to do this, but I don’t tolerate barking or growling. One growl or one woof to alert me is fine, but no more. This is the agreement between Ace and I.

Today I was reading as the kids went by. My dog watched them, thumped his tail, and let out one soft growl. Almost like silent growling.

“What a good boy you are, Ace,” I said. He looked at me, calm and cool, like it was no big deal. But his tail thumped and thumped. I think he was proud of himself.

We have to remember to reward our good dogs. Some of us have these easy, non-reactive dogs like Ace. Sometimes we expect too much from them. Sometimes they are so good, we don’t even notice unless they screw up.

You’re a good boy, Ace.

Ace the black lab mix


Friday 10th of May 2013

Loved this read! We have two dogs; two polar opposite dogs to be exact. One is an incredibly smart and hard working dog, but is very reactive to other dogs and territorial. The other doesn't really like to work and doesn't have much interest in learning unless there's a treat involved, but he's so calm and chill; he doesn't care if someone walks through the door or by our yard. It reminds me of when we were little and we hated the idea of our parents "wishing we were more like our sibling" or that we have animals that are our "kids" it's hard not to compare one to the other and get upset when one isn't as smart as the other or one isn't as calm as the other. We forget to praise them for who they are and for what they DO know. They're good "kids" and sometimes the parents forget that and just focus on what they still need to work on. Thanks for this reminder! :)


Friday 10th of May 2013

You're so right. I frequently forget how good Tarski is. I have such high standards for his behaviour, and I've been spoiled in a way, because he actually lives up to them most of the time. When he doesn't, I get angrier than I should, because I tend to think, "You *know* what I expect from you!" But I look at other dogs around, and I remember that most people would kill to have a dog as well trained and as well behaved as mine.

Good boy, Ace!


Wednesday 8th of May 2013

Oh Lindsay - teach my dog that one growl/bark policy please!! :P

We are fostering a dog- an older puppy actually - who I'm certain was abused - and any type of correction does not work for her because as soon as you even hint that you're angry she goes into 'fear freeze' mode and cognitively can't learn anything. So praise has been so important for us in teaching her how to be a good dog! Praise goes such a long way in teaching and building trust.


Wednesday 8th of May 2013

You're right! Praise goes a long way. It's more effective than getting mad at them when they do wrong. That's what we are doing to work on Pierson's dog aggression. He gets praise when he sees another dog and doesn't react. And we back off until he calms down when he does react. Praise when he calms down.


Wednesday 8th of May 2013

Good point! I always ask Norman, "are you a good boy?" and he gets so excited. The same thing goes for if you correct them for doing something wrong, as soon as they stop or do something else, they have to know it's good!