Honey’s Owner’s Manual

In Pets by Steve SliwaLeave a Comment

Feeding & Going Outside

We keep her food and water bowls filled and she eats principally Nutro Max Premium. Nutro is a rice-based food that features lamb and poultry which is best for her coat and skin condition. She gets her vitamins in the morning. She currently gets two multiplex vitamins each morning and one heartworm pill each month. She is not allowed to eat or beg for people food or snacks. On special occasions, we will mix sardines, tuna, bacon grease or cooked eggs into her food bowl. Sometimes we microwave beef neck parts, wait for them to cool and then give them to her outside. It keeps her busy for about an hour. We make a big effort to only give her human treats (which we keep to a minimum) in her food bowl.

We currently take her out at the following times: (1) in the morning at approximately 7:00 AM; (2) approximately 3 or 4 PM; and, (3) approximately 10 PM. We leave her outside in California whenever we are expecting to be away for more than 2 hours. She goes stir crazy if inside longer alone and will sometimes chew up the papers for you in your garbage cans. If you need her to take care of things you need to go with her and watch her, using the Quickie and Hurry-Up commands.

Treat Balancing

On of our favorite tricks is getting her to balance treats on her nose.  The best are milkbones.  To tell her to sit and stay.  The place a treat on her nose length-wise centered just inside the leather of her nose with the end hanging over a bit.  Her head should be about 5 degrees tipped nose up.  If not, use your hand to adjust.  Tell her to stay.  Whey you want her to throw it up and catch, say OK! and snap your fingers.  If she eats it too early (before the command), do not praise her.  When she does it on command and especially when she catches it, praise her.  Chasing sticks outside, chewing bones, and playing tug of war are some of her favorite past-times.  Her absolute favorite game, at this point, is playing with a Frisbee.

Playing Frisbee

She is starting to get quite good at Frisbee. First, you make her sit along side you so you aren’t throwing it over her head. If you say “stay” she should not run after the Frisbee when you throw it. As you throw it, you release her by saying OK, Go Get It! She will run after it. It takes time for her to learn each individual throwing patterns and the day’s wind, but she gets pretty accurate for good throws fairly quickly. She should bring it right to you. If you point at the ground in front of you (as in a come) she will sit. Then you say Drop It! She should let go. Then tell her to sit over there and point where you want her. She should wait there for the next throw. Repeat over and over.

She also plays Frisbee off the deck. She brings you to the edge of the deck. You say drop it. For some reason she lets go very slowly (she savors hanging on to it). You throw it off the deck into the yard below and she chases it and brings it back. She loves to jump into trees and bushes to get it, if its 6 feet or lower. Try not to throw it into the road, otherwise she will go around through the gate and get it. The concern is that with her intensity she may not see cars coming. When in the house, she is always trying to lure you to take her out and play Frisbee. If you just say “Frisbee” you will see her jump into an alert pose and then usually she’ll start searching for it.

Miscellaneous Handling Information

All commands can be emphasized with a clap.  The proper procedure is to say, “Honey … <command>!”  If she doesn’t do it by the second time with a clap, she should be made aware of the fact t hat you are disappointed in her.  Sometimes while trying to get her to come, she appears she is afraid of being punished (as if that really happens) and will resist.  If you squat and point at the ground calling her in a friendly voice she generally will come directly.

Honey is not allowed to jump up on people or bite people. She is allowed on three pieces of furniture. The den couch and the two beds. She must “ask for permission” by placing her chin on it and looking at you. If you decide to give her permission, say OK! We work hard trying to keep her from chewing things that are not hers. She will sometimes try to get de facto permission to chew something that is not hers by gradually working into it in front of strangers. An occasional no will put her back on track. We have extra chewers in the pantry closet. We give her a chewer once or twice a week She will start chewing on new people to see if they like it, so it’s important that guests do not permit it.

She loves to play tug-of-war with her pull toy and will even growl at you to get interested. She still doesn’t speak on command but Nancy used to growl at her when she played when she was 7 weeks old and thinks this is how you get someone interested. She loves to cuddle with you when you get down on the ground, but she is not allowed to chew. Apparently, puppies jump up to bring their head to your level, so coming down to their level helps them “relate.”

Her biggest temptations are: (1) getting into the garbage in the kitchen or outside; and, (2) finding paper, tissues and etc. to chew and/or to eat. We are trying to firmly tell her no and give her substitutes (her toys).

We attempt to praise her after successfully obeying each command. The biggest challenge is when admonishing or scolding her and she listens to make sure that she doesn’t feel as if she is being punished for obeying the subsequent commands being used to gain control. Now that she is getting older, if she does something wrong we scold her and say how disappointed we are and etc., which serves as sufficient punishment.

Her biggest pluses are that she is very affectionate, tries constantly to please, is very intelligent and is exceptionally beautiful. We pet and hug her all the time so she knows she is loved and she seems to return it.

Command Vocabulary & Hand Signals

All commands are usually given by saying Honey’s name first, followed by the command. It is usually best to give the commands in conjunction with the proper hand signals. Honey is capable of executing almost all commands by either voice or hand commands. She should be rewarded if she does comply and sternly scolded [or, occasionally, lightly spanked if she doesn’t comply]. Rewarding usually involves rubbing her ears, scratching her neck or patting her chest. If you are using a string of commands, release her with an OK! before praising her.


Sample Usage / [Hand Signal] / Description
Honey Back Up! [Hitchhiker’s motion backward.] Used to get her to back away from something, for example, a door when you are about to go outside and she wants to join you. Can also be used to encourage her to back up when throwing toys at her.
Honey, Bath! Honey will run and jump into the bath tub so she can get her bath. She will lay down in the tub, if desired.
Honey, Play Catch! Make her sit about 6 feet from you and throw a small, soft object (e.g., nerf ball, foam wrap-around coaster, etc..) up about 4 feet over her head. She will bat at it and it will come back to you. She has made as many as 12 in a row. Sometimes she will user her paws. Sometimes it lands in her mouth. She enjoys it quite a bit. She will get closer and closer with each throw, so occasionally you need to get her to “Back-Up.”
Honey Come! [Pointing at your feet]. She should come and sit in front of you. Sometimes, if she knows she has irked you, she will come and lay down and roll over showing her tummy (hoping you will rub it rather than scold or spank her). If she is out of sight, we clap loudly three times and call her. She will usually come running from quite a distance a way, expecting to be praised upon arrival. We usually oblige her.
Honey, Dive! Used to get her to dive into the water from a dock and swim around. She will usually try to find a stick to retrieve for you.
Honey Down! [Show palm of hand down and pushing down]. Used to make her lie down. Down command should not be confused with Off command (i.e., do not say “Get Down” when you want her off the couch or off of you)
Drop It
Honey Drop It! [Usually say with open hand under mouth]. Drop a fetched object or an improper object which is in her mouth. She will not respond to Give It or Open, as some dogs are taught.
Honey’s plastic dumb-bell toy Honey’s plastic dumb-bell toy that she picked out during her visit to the toy store.
Honey Fetch! Fetch a thrown Honey Fetch! Fetch a thrown object then get it and bring it back! Or sometimes, a sentence can be constructed such as, Honey Fetch Your Dumb-Bell!
Honey Fireplace! [Pointing at fireplace hearth]. Go to the hearth and lay down on it. Usually used to gain control of her or to make her settle down. We never punish her or scold her any more once she goes to the hearth and lies down. Praise for listening to your command is best.
Honey, Fetch Your Frisbee! Her absolute favorite toy is her Frisbee. She has a play Frisbee that we discourage her from chewing but will play with her around the house. She has throwing Frisbees that we use at parks. Since its her favorite game, mentioning the word Frisbee is guaranteed to get a response no matter what her mood or level of energy.
Honey Good! -or- Honey is a Good Puppy! [Usually say while patting front of her chest]. This command is used to praise her.
Honey Go! [Point in direction you want her to go!] Usually used to get her out of the way or out of trouble.
Go Out?
Honey, Do you want to Go Out? Go to side door to go outside, to go for a ride or to play.
Honey Heel! [Slap left leg]. Walk at left side and sit when handler is standing still. This is very strict command and can only be released by an OK command. Can be used from sitting in front position or from previous heel.
Honey, Hurry-Up! -or- Go On, Hurry-Up! Used to get her to go number 2 (poop).
Honey, Jeep! [Point at the Jeep Cherokee]. Honey should jump into the back. She is not allowed on the seats.
Honey, Jump! [Clap hands with upward symbol motion]. Used to get Honey to Jump while in front of you. She should jump so her head is about 6 feet in the air. She likes to do this. However, we are concerned about her hind legs being weakened as result of carelessness. This is typical problem for retrievers. Should be used sparingly and only if she has room and composure to complete the jump.
Honey Kennel! Honey should get into her travel kennel.
Honey, Ladder! Used while she is swimming at the lake. We have built a ladder and she will swim to the ladder and climb up it.
Honey, Leash! -or- Get your Leash! This when we take her for a walk around the block. She should go get her leash and take it to the side door.?
Honey, Mouse! -or- Where’s your Mouse? Tells her to go and find her mouse toy. She is expected to treat this toy gently.
Honey, No! [Finger pointing up and shaking in a scolding manner]. Stop doing what you are doing.
Honey, Off! [Sweeping arm motion gesturing off]. Get down off of someone or something.
Honey OK! Releases her from any previous command. This usually signifies a time for praise and reward.
Other Paw
Honey, Other Paw! Used while shaking to get her to switch paws.
Honey, Fetch Your Pull-Toy! -or- Get Your Pull-Toy -or- Where’s Your Pull-Toy? One of Honey’s toys. This is a rough house toy. We teach her to not get too rough and we let her win sometimes. She will invariably keep bringing it back until you tire of the game.
Honey Room! [Point upstairs or pound foot on ground]. Go to your room upstairs. She is definitely being punished, but never spank her or severely scold her once she has reached her isolation sanctuary.
Honey, Quickie! Used to get her to do #1 (urinate).
Honey Shake! [Hold your hand out while she is sitting]. Shake hands. First have her sit in front of you. Open own hand and shake for 2 or 3 shakes before praising.
Show Me Your Scar
Honey, Show Me Your Scar! [Put both hands on your knees and stoop over]. Honey should lay down and roll over on her side to expose her tummy. Typical reward is to rub her tummy.
Honey Sit! [Open hand down with motion of finger tips as if to push her rear end down with half moon motion]. Can be used anytime to gain control.
Honey, Stay! [Open hand finger tips down motioning toward her to stay] Stay where you are until given permission to leave.
Honey, Switch! [Point at right side with a circling motion so she faces front]. Works like heel, but means heel on the right side, rather than the left. It is useful during walks. If vehicles come, yelling switch will put her at your right side out of harms way. Release her by saying OK. She can move there either from a heel or a come.
Honey, Where’s Your Toucan? -or- Fetch your Toucan? A favorite squeeze toy. She is expected to be gentle with this one and is not allowed to play tug-of-war with it.
Honey Upstairs! Go up into room over garage via back staircase.

Here .pdf version of the user’s manual:  Honey_Manual

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Share this Post

Leave a Comment