Dogs in Black and White

My dogs bark at everything. They bark at the leaves falling off the tree in autumn, a bird in the tree or the cat scratching in the litter box. They rarely bark at other dogs when we are on a walk because they are more interested in what they are smelling in the air or on the ground. But ‘OH’ should they see one walk past our house it is a federal crime! But then there is Lassie, the dog in black and white.

Every weekday morning at 9:00 am. my dogs and I anticipate the series ‘Lassie’, that I grew up watching on TV in the 1950’s. Dickens will be in bed or on the sofa, Eddie will be directly in front of the TV, as we wait for the tell-tale Collie bark that is in the opening title and tells us it is time for ‘Lassie’ to begin.  This is the only dog show that, Eddie my younger dog, will not bark during. But it was something that had to be trained out of him as his instinct told him to tell Lassie off!

‘Leave it’ is a powerful cue when a dog knows what it means, and this is the cue that I used in teaching Eddie not to bark at the Lassie. Many were tried before like; friend… TV…. quiet…. that’s enough… and these sometimes escalated in tone but to no avail! Having used ‘leave it’ and ‘friend’ in the past, the former proved to be the most effective. Yea! So now if a dog barks on TV, I say ‘Lassie’ and Eddie stops barking. Funny how that works! Dog training is fun.


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