Monday, July 12, 2010

You're getting warmer!

So.  You know that game where you hide something--either something physical or something intangible like the answer to a question--and then lead a person to it by allowing him or her to ask questions to which you respond "you're getting warmer" or "you're getting colder"?

Well, I think (noticed I said "think") that Darby and I play that game.

When we're out playing fetch, sometimes she doesn't see where the ball lands, especially when I am throwing two balls--one in one direction for Bonnie and the other in another direction for Darby.

She will head out after the ball and do a crazy zig-zag search for it guided, from what I understand from a couple of dog books I've read, more by her nose and the lingering scent of that particular ball, than by sight. 

One day several months ago, I started trying to guide her toward the ball by saying "yes" when she zigged toward it or "no" when she zagged away.   As she heads toward the ball and gets closer and closer, I say "yes, yes, yes, YES!"  (not unlike, I just realized, Meg Ryan in the infamous restaurant scene in "When Harry Met Sally") and when she swerves away from it I say "no" with varying degrees of sadness. 

I SWEAR that she has picked up what I am doing and she listens to what I am saying!  She starts to run past the ball that is off to her right or left and when I say "no," she turns on a dime to her right or left and heads off in a new direction with me saying "yes...." or "no..."

I'm not saying it works every time, but I SWEAR she listens more often than not and changes her direction based on what I say.

I'm going to try to get a video of our game in action.  In the meantime, here a few photos from the girls'  morning tussle. 


Play it Again Sam said...

What you are seeing is the herding instinct at work. If you have a chance to watch a herding trial, you will see that the handler calls out various commands--more complex than yes and no, but along the same lines. The dog knows what each command means, i.e, move them left, move them right, move them toward the gate, etc.

So see, you are training her to be a herding dog!

Sammy's human

That corgi :) said...

I believe corgis are very smart so I can imagine she is learning and picking up cues from you; can't wait to see the video!