Peace has returned at last. Cleo is back home again and there were no major disasters before she left. As a bonus, Scrawny Mike found the dead possum in his backyard before Cleo had a chance to roll in it, so life is good.
It turns out that it wasn't me yelling at Cleo to leave the cats alone that taught her to scan the room for small animals when I said the word "cat". She already knew the word "cat". She also knows "squirrel". She stares up in the nearest tree if you say the latter. She also has a better sit, down, and stay than either of my dogs, which I'd like to chalk up to her higher intelligence, but is most likely due to the fact that I suck at training my dogs to do anything.
I did teach deaf Molly the hand signal for sit, but when it came time for "down", I kept getting confused and it's hard to reward consistent behavior when the request comes out as random hand flapping. Ginger already knew how to sit when she arrived. Sometimes she even stays there although she gets excited pretty easily and is prone to jumping up and licking your face if you lean over.
My lack of dog training competency is somewhat ironic considering that I taught my younger sister to sit, stay, and roll over on command when she was little. (That's a true story. What can I say? I wanted a dog.)
Anyhow, if you want your dogs to do something other than bark at the delivery truck (Ginger) or sigh in their sleep (Molly), you should probably find someone else...
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