All Clear To You!

We have a couple of large black labs that the kids have a love/hate relationship with. The “hate” part of that relationship comes in because the dogs used to have no compulsions about knocking them over to steal their food.

We’ve mostly remedied that situation, but the kids still get nervous. I don’t blame them. Each dog weighs in excess of 70lbs, and they fill that weight with a whole lot of barely suppressed energy.

One of the techniques we’ve been using to get the dogs to obey is “stay” and “release”. Once they’ve been told to stay, they have to stay there until one of us says release. That’s pretty traditional. However, whenever possible, we have the kids say release. I’m hoping that this is reinforcing with the dogs that the kids are to be obeyed.

This morning, J was feeding the dogs. They have to sit while their food is prepared, of course, waiting for someone to say release. This is the hardest time for them. They sit, but their tails can’t stop wagging. They lick their lips and whine, and try to keep their wagging backsides on the floor.

After the food was ready, N carried it to their dishes. Once that was done, the dogs were just about going crazy. N had been walking really slowly. Finally, he turned around to face them and said in a loud clear voice “All Clear to you, Driver!”

The dogs started to get up, then stopped, then looked at each other, then looked at us. They backed up to where they had been sitting, but couldn’t quite bring themselves to sit back down.

As J and I burst out laughing, the little guy shouted “Release!” – and then jumped out of the way so he wouldn’t get run over by the dogs.

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