Saturday, June 26, 2010

From farm house to screaming madhouse

I don’t spend the day waiting by the front door with leash, clicker and treats in case someone stops by so that the dogs and I can practice greeting visitors calmly. When I know someone is coming, rarely am I organized enough to get one dog confined and the other at the door. Then there’s the hard part—training the visitor to ignore the dog and wait for me to finish clicking and treating, all of which has to be explained in the space of a nano-second over the din of one dog setting off the other, even if the other is outside, which sets off the parrots screaming like six teenagers being tortured by having their iphones snatched away.

It just doesn’t work very well.

Alanis is the culprit who starts barking and won’t stop. Miró will bark a couple of times but he prefers to stand up on his back legs and give big aire-waves. If you happen to be within reach of the paws, so much the better. It is not easy to practice “sit” when you have to shout over the noise of barking and parrot-screaming, especially when your goal is to sound calm.

Being a dutiful student, I try. Today my son came home with two friends. Naturally they headed for the kitchen where treats and clicker happened to be still on the counter after the morning’s class, along with objects too numerous to name. I hustled Alanis outside and attempted to capture Miró’s attention.

Trainers tell you that you have to be more interesting than whatever else the dog is looking at. I am not very interesting, even with cheese in my hand. In the midst of screaming chaos and three young men investigating a food cupboard, I sustained new scratches on my arms and Miró managed one sit and one bow. Is that success or what?
If you turn the volume to max, you'll get the merest glimmer of the real noise.


  1. Can parrots be trained with clickers and cheese?
    We are laughing with you, cuz we discovered our Airedales don't follow Cesar's Way or Victoria's Way....they are Airedales!


  2. Ciao miei amici!

    As soon as la mia ragazza clicked on your video, I, Lucia -- who was snoozing on the floor at her feet -- instantly jumped up and began tilting my large and adorable Aire-head back and forth (in that charming way that terriers will do) as I tried to figure out what the parrot sound was. I was quite intrigued!!

    Tanti baci!

  3. Noisy parrots!
    Happy Saturday!
    Kisses and hugs

  4. Wonder what the bird on the right was saying, It sure irritated the one on the left. Loved your attempt at clicker training the dog. That was hysterical. I totally agree with you. It is hard thing to do to train the dog not to bark when someone comes. I think the bow and sit was a huge accomplishment.
    Have a great Sunday

  5. Mom says that your house sounds rather chaotic just with the birds. Add barking excited Airedales to the mix and YIKES!

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch

  6. We can get noisy too but we dont have the parrots to go with it. Dont ya just love a madhouse hehe.

  7. Those parrots are beautiful! Do the pooches interact with them at all---besides helping to add to the madhouse affect that is?? The greeting is still pretty much chaotic here...even with 2 courses of Obedience School...Your mama's description sounded like deja vu to us. BOL!!

  8. Isn't a mad house a normal house?

    Thought we'd drop and say mad house to another so to speak! LOL

    Big Nose Pokes
    The Thuglets