January 5, 2011 § 2 Comments
Whenever MM and I are at home, we try as often as we can to release Maple out of her crate so that she can potter with us around the apartment. As Maple is still young, however, we can’t afford to leave her completely unsupervised so one of us must keep a watchful eye on her.
Maple calmly awaits being let out and has learnt to ‘Sit’ and ‘Stay’ patiently while we open the door of her crate. Once the ‘OK’ command is given, Maple happily trots out of her crate then gives our heels a good licking (or a playful nip, depending on her mood). Sometimes Maple will follow us around like a busybody, while at other times she will split off into the opposite direction and ignore our calls. Knowing that Maple still requires substantial obedience training, we made sure to lay down the house rules on the very first day that Maple joined our family. One of the house rules is: ‘No entry permitted into the out-of-bounds areas’.
We want Maple to enjoy roaming around the apartment (unleashed) but, for her own safety, we felt that it was important to establish boundaries. The rooms that are out-of-bounds include the: kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, and balcony. We spent several continuous days teaching Maple not to trespass into these out-of-bounds areas. Fortunately, the various rooms in our apartment are differentiated by their floor textures—this makes it easy for Maple to distinguish one room from another. Our training involves a three-step approach.
First, we apply the ‘No’ command. Failing this, we then stand facing Maple (in a tall and upright posture, to evoke a sense of assertiveness, with a facial expression that means business) and shuffle calmly towards her while pointing at the door and giving the ‘Out’ command. If that doesn’t work, we then simply remove Maple from the room and return her to her crate. After a few minutes, Maple is let out again and the routine repeats itself until Maple fully comprehends the out-of-bounds areas. At the end of a successful training session, we give Maple plenty of praise!
Occasionally, Maple’s curiosity will cause her to crane her neck and stretch forward centimetre by centimetre until her two front paws fall flat on the parquet floors of our bedrooms. When we see that happening, we make a quick correction with the command ‘No’. I’m pretty sure, however, that if we leave Maple to her own devices, she will have a field day in every room of the apartment. So, for the time being, we’ll just have to be extra vigilant when she’s out-and-about at home.