Wednesday, December 26, 2012

15 Weeks: Training - Day 4

Attitude peers at the interloper in my lap.
Emma returned today for training.  She spent the last four days with her owners and had a busy weekend, which will be updated and added to the blog once they send me the information.

Shortly after arriving and getting over the excitement of returning to my home, my son Walter and I started a round of two person Come Game.  She's not too certain about the game yet, but she's starting to get the idea.  Walter is spending the night again and we agreed to work on the Come Game with her again in the morning.

Attitude and Emma help me update Emma's blog.
We stayed about 2 feet apart and worked on making noises and calling "puppy puppy" to her in an excited voice to get her to turn and return.  She quickly came to me, but would sit between my feet and wait for Walter to place the treat between his feet before going to him.  I could see her thinking, "Is it worth my time to leave the one person I know feeds me treats?"  and then she'd bound over and eat the treat and turn right to me and return for her reward.  It's happening and soon she'll love the Come Game as much as my three dogs do.

I have to say the owners did a fantastic job of keeping up on her training.  She has Sit down nicely and is even showing signs of understanding it from a standing position.  Her down has improved by 100%.  She's doing a nice down and no longer needs to be lured.  Though I am only using hand cues currently, her latency is decreasing markedly and she's clearly understanding and offering the behaviors with joy. I love her tiny head jerk of excitement when I click. She's cued into the clicker and when she sees it and the food bowl come out she's very excited about training.

Do you think Attitude and Emma care how
hard it is to type like this?
The owner said she got up to 5 seconds holding her hand out during Zen and I was very pleased to hear this.  I started Zen and saw the very cleaver bop and pull away chain many dogs develop when they first learn Zen.  What a fantastic thing to see!  She's figured out that if she touches your hand and then pulls away she'll get a reward.  The chain is easy to fix and I can clearly define what she's being paid for, but I loved seeing she was getting the idea and thinking.

I have a friend in town and we setup to meet.  For Max this meant he could get out of the house for a bit without the puppy and work.  It seems to help him to work at least a little without the puppy to reassure him he's not been replaced by the attention sucking monster that comes into the house.  He has been very good with her and very patient, but I have also been very careful to give him rewards for letting me work with her and plenty of one on one time where he gets training or play with me without her.  Today it was work and he was good with that.

Honestly, Attitude and Emma are just sleeping.
Walter stayed with her while Max and I went to a restaurant to meet my friend.  He stayed with her the entire two hours I was gone and he reported she was fine and didn't have any issues while I was away.  She was excited when I came home and happy to meet my friend who came with me.  She got to practice Four on the Floor with her and got plenty of attention when she had all four feet on the floor. She's learned when I give the stop sign to her that she is to sit and wait for affection.  It's harder when people are first coming in, but she's learning and I am glad to see that.

I took my friend out to let her two dogs play in the yard alone and we chatted for a while.  We then put up her older, dog reactive dog and kept her younger, dog friendly dog in the yard and let Emma meet him. Meli was a perfect gentleman and was very gentle with her while she got over her surprise of meeting a new dog.  They wandered the yard together for about fifteen minutes and by the end she was checking him and very confident and relaxed.  We plan to have a daytime romp session with the two of them and see if Emma can't enjoy a good play run with a dog.

After a bit of tether time on the floor by my feet she is now curled up in my lap resting.  I have a mini Dachshund (Attitude) draped over my left arm and Emma draped over my right.  It's really very cute and warm.

Emma's Lessons Today:

Come Game

Walter and I worked on the Come Game with Emma today.  Since all of my dogs are very into the Come Game the trick was to keep Emma involved without being overshadowed.  We did this by having Max do a down and get off and on rewards for staying and both Dieter and Attitude sitting on either side of Walter and getting off and on rewards for not interfering.  It worked well and Emma started to move between us at a distance of 2 feet.

She is very comfortable coming to me when we do this game and not so much going to Walter.  She would quickly turn to me and look between my feet, but would turn and sit between my feet and wait for Walter to set a treat down before leaving me.  Tomorrow I am going to ask Walter to not show her the reward before her leaving me, but put the treat down when she makes the first movement toward him.  She'll need to be worked up to thinking that both people playing have a reward for coming, but she's starting to think that already.

We did touch her collar each time she came to us to begin the process of call and capture without her shying away.  I waited to touch her collar until she picked up her treat, which added value to the contact of my hand to her collar.  She is very relaxed and calm when we touch her collar.

Emma is not ready for a long distance Come Game, but she is starting to learn the basics of the game and should soon be ready to increase distance.


Emma understands the basic concepts of Hand Zen, though she hasn't gained a lot of out of the training environment experience and control, she is starting to show self control in other areas of her life.  She has developed the bop the hand and pull back behavior chain, which is a first inkling of learning process and good to see.  I can see the wheels turning in her little head and she's very proud of herself as she masters a new nuance of the lesson.

Tonight I tried removing and representing my hand, but she kept touching my hand, forcefully, with her nose.  I changed to curling my hand away as she moved to touch it and she started to turn her head or drop her chin as I offered my hand.  I offered it both curled fingers up and curled fingers down.  I offered it with both sides and with my thumb sticking out a bit.  Each time I change the orientation of my hand she went back to licking and/or sucking on my thumb or fingers, but quickly got the idea the position of my hand made no difference to the lesson.

She will soon work up to the five seconds wait between my presenting my hand and then the click like she has with her owner.  Tonight we made it up to 2 seconds in each presentation position of my hand.  I am quit pleased with her progress.

We are working on group lessons as well, though Emma does not have the self control for them untethered currently.  When I was training her this evening I would train the other three dogs between her sessions.  She was all over my hands, in their faces and even on my end table sniffing the bowls of food, so I had my son tether her to him and release her only when it was her turn.  She quickly started to settle and wait quietly for her turn while the others worked.

On her last Zen session she was so close to Max that they could touch noses and they were touching paws.  Both dogs were so involved in learning they didn't mind sharing the same space and did very well working so close.  I will continue to work the two of them like this to improve their "other dogs in my space" tolerance by making the situation a chance at treats and good things happening.


Emma's sit has zero latency 80% of the time.  I am still not certain what she is cuing in on, so I am working on minimalizing the cue to help her better understand it.  Tonight I worked on Sit while I was sitting and tomorrow I'll work on Sit while I am standing.  I have asked her randomly for Sit for affection, which she enjoys and offers willingly.

I have not fully attached the verbal cue, but tonight when I told Max Sit before letting him out, she also sat without hesitation.  I want to work on Sit while I am sitting and Sit while I am standing while facing me and next to me before adding the verbal cue.  I will also begin taking her into different rooms to teach her this week.

Emma understands Sit and uses it as a tool out of her toolbox to gain affection, food and life rewards.


Emma's down has improved 100%.  It is clear her owners worked very hard with her over the four days they had her.  She does Down now with a hand cue while I am sitting without little hesitation or latency.  She still has to think about it, but she's now just laying down and not doing her little pony paw and body slam to the floor she was doing last week.  I can see she has to think about the cue, but her latency is shortening each time we work the lesson and she's beginning to offer Downs for food, affection and life rewards.

I will work on Down while I sit and stand this week and will work in different rooms to increase her understanding of the cue.  I have no plans to attach the verbal cue to the behavior this week.


My son Walter is visiting for two days and Emma is enjoying her time visiting and training with him.  I had a friend come into town and we met at a local restaurant to visit.  I asked Walter to baby sit Emma while I was out.  Emma was relaxed and calm during my abscense and excited to see me when I returned with my friend.

My friend Cherie stopped in to visit Emma and my other dogs.  Like Walter, she helped Emma practice Four on the Floor for attention.  Emma was very happy and confident when she met my friend and enjoyed the affection she received.  She was very excited when she first met my friend and we had to use the leash to stop her from jumping until she got control of herself.

Cherie had both of her dogs, Sam and Meli, with her and after letting them play in my yard by themselves we put up Sam so Emma could meet Meli.  Sam is a dog aggressive dog and we don't want Emma afraid of other dogs, so Sam went back to his crate in Cherie's car and Meli remained in the yard.

Meli is very good with other dogs and was a perfect gentleman when he met her.  He was gentle and gave her time to get used to him.  At first she came to Cherie and I for reassurance Meli was okay and after a while relaxed and wandered the yard with him.  Cherie and I both agreed Emma should have a second meeting so she can relax and learn to play with new dogs and so Meli is returning tomorrow for a mid-day play date.

Emma - Level 1


No comments:

Post a Comment