Friday, December 21, 2012

14 Weeks: Training Day 3

Emma watches Max while he sleeps on the treadmill.
The quiet day I planned for Emma worked and when bedtime arrived she only put up a minor protest about going to sleep for the night.  After trying to tuck her in (she kept trying to leave her crate instead) I gave up and turned on her heart beat dog and closed the crate and began the final steps of getting ready for bed.  She was quiet for a few minutes as I brushed my teeth and washed my face, but the moment I pulled back my covers she cried out and banged the crate door.  It was more of a "I hate you!" with a door slam Teenage Pout protest than the Prison Riot we'd had the night before and it only lasted for about twenty seconds before she settled with a soft whimper and promptly went to sleep.

She slept until 5:50 AM and woke me with a very clear "ah hem" sound which told me she needed to urinate.  The night before I had tethered and placed her on a mat by my chair with a toy while I played with Max by tossing his ball down the hall. It had been around 8 PM when I made her settle for a bit before bed (again, to keep her from winding up and then proclaiming foul when bedtime arrived) and tethering her satisfied two things I needed at that time.  First, it is unfair for Max to have a puppy chasing him around the house during his all time favorite game and one-on-one time with me.  Second, I needed to limit her water intake so she wouldn't be roused in the middle of the night by a full bladder.

She enjoyed the quiet time at my side and the last little bit before our last potty run she spent in my arms in the chair with the Dachshunds.  We did our potty time without any off lead playtime before bed and I let her follow me around the house while I shut down the TV and lights.  It took Max about a month to recognize that routine and begin to wind down for the night as I followed a set routine for bedtime.  She will get it soon and start thinking sleep when she sees me start the process.

She's promptly urinating when on lead and enjoys the reward of either a moment of playtime while still on lead or being released to run around the yard.  This morning, as I stood in my untied boots and pajamas, I had no desire to wait for playtime with her, so instead scooped her up and brought her into the house after she finished.  I carried her into the bedroom while praising her for urinating so quickly and placed her in the bed with me.

I was still tired and had wanted about another hour of sleep, so I curled her against me and she napped with me until we started our day.  She enjoyed the personal one-on-one snuggle as much as playing in the yard and for the remainder of the day was quick with getting her business done so she could play.

She loves racing around the yard and I try to give her two or three times where she gets about five to ten minutes of playtime in the yard without the adult dogs.  She's too rowdy for Attitude's health and Dieter's age at this time. She's jumped on Dieter a couple of times and he's not happy about it, but each time he tells her to stop she does and gently sniffs him and puts a paw softly on him.  It won't be long before she adjusts her play style to what Dieter will enjoy and the two will be able to play together.

Max on the other hand is uncertain about the racing black bullet in our yard.  He's started herding her and trying to nip her hip.  Though I agree each adult dog has a right to tell her not to jump all over them and be a pest, he does not have the right to tell her she can't play in the yard.  The solution has been to keep him on lead and feed him super high value treats when she's off lead and he's in the yard with her.  If she's on lead he is allowed off lead and I keep her from jumping on him.  It won't be long before he's adjusted to a playful running dog around him.

I believe the lessons Emma is getting about how to play with different ages, sizes and types of dogs is important.  I also believe for Max it is important for him to relax when a dog is having too much fun by running around and just let it happen.  Overall, the group is doing well together.

I keep Emma tethered to me with a hands free leash for a large part of the day. She's already learning to walk nice on lead with me when I move.  She's learned she can't cross before me and can't wrap the leash around me.  She's learned to settle by my feet when I stop to do something or sleep when I sit and work on the computer.  I give her breaks from being tethered and let her play or rest between training sessions.

In the morning, when I shower, I tether her to Dieter's crate.  The first time I did  this she protested the entire time, but the second time she saw Max enter the bathroom and collapse and wait for me to finish my shower and she did the same.  Learning to be tethered and remaining calm and quiet is important.

Today's Lessons:


Emma is truly starting to understand Zen now.  She still climbs on me, but each time it lasts a bit shorter and she's starting to focus more on the lesson.  She's at that border point of understanding she's making me click and feed her and I can see the wheels turning in her head.  She's starting to think and starting to experiment with me to see what exactly I am asking of her.  We worked on Zen for shorter periods this morning, breaking her two minute training sessions with training Max the same lesson with his breakfast.

This seemed to help her.  The more she watched him perform the same lesson the faster she got it.  When I did her second two minute lesson on Zen she was very focused and bopped my hand only half the time.  I could see the light bulb go on in her head and started to remove my hand if she bopped it with her nose first and then represent it.  It took three times of my doing that before she sat very still and then looked at the floor.  Smart girl.


Emma understands Sit, but is not fluent in it.  I use Sit for a lot of things in the house.  Since she is a jumper and paws and bounces off of people who visit, we are working on Sit as a default when greeting people.  She is required to Sit and wait until released before going outside.  She is asked to Sit off and on throughout the day. Sit is one of the most used skills when working and I want Sit to be on her brain when she falls asleep.

Since she learned Sit when I was sitting, I removed the verbal cue and started again when I was standing.  Since my back hurts when I bend over, I wanted to remove the mighty lean required to get her to sit when cued by hand, so I started capturing a sit, giving the hand cue and treating her.

In short order she learned two separate hand cues for the same behavior.  If I put out my hand in a stop sign motion, she recognizes this means to sit and calm down.  If I give the standard hand cue for sit she thinks on it and half the time right now does it.  That's okay, we'll get there.

I also started taking Sit from the living room to the office, kitchen and bedroom to improve her understanding.  What this means is I am working on Come Afters and long before she has the verbal cue in all situations she'll have seen it in 20 or 30 different positions.


Emma is so funny when she does a down.  She rears up like a pony, paws the air and then throws herself to the ground.  Sometimes she cocks her head to one side and then paws out with one hand and flops on the ground.  The most common thing I see right now with the Down cue is a small head staring at my hand and then interest fading and her turning to wander off.

I just don't have the bend to convince her to do a down by crouching near her, so I decided to use mentoring to achieve my goal.  Calling Max over, I pulled out his breakfast and started Puppy Push Ups with him.  Sit and Down repeatedly with lots of rewards.  Normally Max hates Puppy Push Ups, but this morning every part of the process was clicked and he was soon fully evolved in the game.  The great part was, next to him was a puppy doing the same thing with the same cues!

After a moment I pulled out everyone's breakfast and had a line of dogs doing Puppy Push Ups.  Attitude, who isn't feeling well due to failing health, wasn't really into the game and each time I cued her Emma would throw herself to the ground.  I clicked every time Emma threw herself down and treated both Attitude and Emma.  In the end, Emma was starting to look at the hand cue and I could see wheel turning in her head.


Emma enjoys this lesson.  I put my hand out and she slammed her nose into my palm!  What a smart girl.  She hasn't had more than three Target lessons and yet here she was telling me she's got the idea.  I was able to start using the verbal cue Touch for this lesson and got in ten Touch cues before she spotted herself in my floor to ceiling mirrors and froze.

The evil black puppy was being rude and staring at her and our lesson ended with her barking at the rude puppy.  I laughed and she looked at me, so I tossed her a treat.  Each time she looked at the evil puppy I tossed a treat at her feet, which she promptly picked up and ate.  After three kibbles she relaxed and started trying to get the puppy to play; funny thing, that puppy was trying to get her to play too.  A lot of laughter was had by all.

Name Game

Emma is starting to whiplash turn when I say her name, as long as she's not highly distracted.  She looks up when I say her name and has started moving to me when I speak to her.  She's gained so much confidence in the past three days and I love watching it happen.  I will continue to pair fun things, such as affection, play and treats with her name.

Her name will never be used as a correction.  Her name should always mean something good, so when I caught her feet up on my end table I just said, "Ah ah" and then gently removed her and praised her.


My son Wayne came to visit today.  He is not a dog person and didn't want to interact with her.  I appreciate I have one person in her life that doesn't want to be mugged by cuteness and so tethered to me and kept her from jumping on him, though he allowed her a sniff of his shoes and then went to sit and talk to me.  She stayed at my side and watched him with interest, her body relaxed and calm.  I praised her for being so good and was very happy when she curled up at my feet and fell asleep during our visit.

I had to drive my brother to pick up our mother's Christmas gift tonight, so I asked my God Daughter, Tiffy, to watch Emma while I was away.  Emma loves Tiffy and lost her mind when Tiffy came over.  She jumped all over her and couldn't contain herself.  We took the time to calm her and finally settled her in Tiffy's lap before I left.

I gave Tiffy instructions on her care; this was Tiffy's first "babysitting" job and a very important one.  Emma is not ready for a trip to the mall, especially right before a holiday.  She is not ready to wait for an hour in my van while we shop and she certainly isn't ready to be left alone at home for 3 hours in her crate.  In the past week she left her known home at the breeders to stay for two days at her owners to spend three days at my home.  That is a lot of upset in only a few days and I didn't want to add to it by leaving her alone in my home for a long period.

I told Tiffy to keep her on lead, to keep her from mugging the Dachshunds and to enjoy watching TV.  I told Tiffy what to expect when her mom calls on my phone (my TV says one name, my phone's caller ID says another) and that the only number to answer was her mother's.  I said if I needed to relay a message to her I would call her mother.

Tiffy was only three houses from her own, her mother called her every 10 to 15 minutes to check on her and she only had one dog she really needed to watch.  When I returned Tiff was in a serious babysitter mood telling me how she did, that she took Emma out but Emma didn't potty and the one time she left Emma's sight to use the bathroom that Emma ran to her when she called her name after she got out of the bathroom!  What a great babysitter Ms. Tiffy was!

According to Tiffy, Emma was a bit worried when I first left (remember, I have been her security and life for 3 days), but that she relaxed quickly and enjoyed her time with Tiffy by sleeping in her lap for a while and then getting down to play with a toy in the living room.  What a wonderful report to hear.

Emma was excited to see me return and was in high spirits.  I took her out and she promptly urinated.  I thank Tiffy and paid her for her job - which I told her would be regular when I couldn't take Emma with me and needed her watched.

After Tiffy left I tried to do some training with Emma, but she wasn't focused enough.  Instead, I decided to use this final meal of the day to hand feed her.  It is something I did with Max and it seemed to improve his bond and food orientation.  She enjoyed eating from my hand and finished all but a few kibbles of her final meal.

In all, this past three days has managed to start the communication between Emma and I.  She's learning how to communicate with humans and I with her.  She's learning she must wait to get something, be it food or playtime outside.  She's learning she can do something with her body and make me click and feed her.  She's learning to think and I can see the little wheels grinding behind those brown eyes.

This first three days have been a pure joy and I look forward to next weeks training sessions.

I sent her home with instructions to start Level 1 all over from the beginning in the home.  Even though she achieved a lot here, she hasn't there and the new location and new people will add a new dimension to her learning.  She doesn't know she can communicate with them like she can with me and this next four days in their home will result in her learning the same things she learned here.

I asked that she not get attention or affection until all four feet are on the floor and they continue her door training of waiting for her to sit and get released before exiting any outside door.  I would also suggest they use the tether method to help her learn to pay attention to them and keep track of her.  She's busy and I turned around many times to find her taste testing something, be it a leaf or a a bit of fluff, and know that on busy moments one cannot pay enough attention to an infant dog.

Emma - Level 1


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