They can be taught

I love training – it was always amazing to me when my dog would be running full speed in one direction only to skid to a halt at a word from me. I felt an odd sense of triumph and humility when an 800 pound piece of horseflesh would walk quietly by my side without a rope, halter or anything compelling it to remain with me except for weeks of conditioning.

How much more amazing to watch a little child who comprehended so little such a short time ago grasp complex ideas and cheerfully go along with my directions. Sometimes he would grasp my tentative efforts to impart an abstract concept so quickly I wasn’t even sure I had actually done any training but was indeed faced with a child genius.  Here’s some proof.


I started blanket training and within a few days he knew the edge of the blanket was his boundary – how he came to know this is quite beyond me because I barely knew what I was doing in the first place! We put him on there while we picked dewberries last Sat. and he never left, even when the mist turned to a slight drizzle and we were out of sight behind some bushes.


Meanwhile I’ve transferred the concept to his nap time and place his mattress all over the house so he learns to stay and go to sleep anywhere. Funny story – one nap time I put him down and moved to another room. A few minutes later I came back and he was sitting just off the edge of his mat. I told him he’d better hop back on and with a little grin he obeyed.

He’s also learned to say “please” in sign language – seems he loves dewberries. He will also grudgingly sign “drink” to get his bottle or cup at mealtimes.

And finally, we’ve been practicing picking up his toys. Yesterday he had a bunch of things out in the kitchen and I was finished with my work in there so started like I always do, saying, “it’s time to pick up.” Immediately he grabbed an item and scooted towards the drawer where it belonged and put it away. Boy was I one happy mama!

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