|Emma at 15 Weeks|
One way is taking her to the van to continue her training for Level 1. She can practice Zen, Come, Target, Sit and Down inside the van with me. Turning the van into just one more place we train will help her adjust to the van being a good thing and not the scary monster everyone picks her up and places her in.
Emma is very close to completing Level 1 and I believe now is a great time to introduce a bit of Level 2 to her training. One section of Level 2 is called Jump. It teaches the dog they can step over items, such as broom sticks and tubes on the floor and slowly builds up that idea until the dog is jumping over low items, like the jump from the ground to the inside of my van.
I have several training tools here for teaching Jump at home, but also want to take her to the Ruff House and work with some of the items they have there. I won't to do it this week, since her first class is tomorrow and we'll be trying to fit in another field trip beyond that for her public access work. This week I would like to take her to my local Safeway and have her enter a set of double sliding doors. The entry is separate from the store and a good place to get in a small amount of training without entering a store itself just yet.
The other advantage of taking her to the Safeway instead of a pet friendly location, like Pet Smart or Petco, is she won't have to deal with any strange new dogs or new dog smells like she would there. Once she's comfortable with going into both single and doubles sliding doors we'll make a special trip to Pet Smart and go in for a quick treat from the cashier and leave.
Until then, I'll work on her learning to get into a car on her own power. I have a tread mill here she's seen Max stand and sleep on. I will be using it to simulate getting onto a scale like at the vet. I did the same for Max and he loads onto the scale at the vet office without hesitation. Once the Dachshunds worked on learning to get on and off the tread mill on their own they also both loaded onto the vet scale without complaint. The last time I went to weigh Emma I ended up lifting her onto the scale and blocking her to keep her there. I think learning how to be weighed here will make our next weigh in easier. It will also aid her in learning she can jump into the van or a car without needing to be lifted. It's the same basic concept and generally this type of training transfers to other objects without much difficulty.
Today I evaluated Emma and pulled up the check list that Sue Ailsby kindly provided for tracking a dog's progress through the program. It is about now that Emma will start straying ahead on some of her lessons and lagging behind on others. Her Zen is strong so I am working on the first step of Level 2 Zen while finishing the final touches on Level 1 Zen. She's also starting some of the Level 2 behaviors as I catch them. I would like to work in order, but know better than to ignore behaviors I want to reward now as she gives them. One of the behaviors she gives readily is Relax. I started rewarding her for settling by me when I am busy. This is the first stages of Level 2 Relax and she's ready to learn it.
I also arranged for a friend she's never met before to visit with two of her dogs. Both Deva and DJ are older dogs. Deva is a bit older than Max and DJ is 8 years old. DJ is a Dachshund and has previously had a back injury. Unlike Dieter who'll only complain if he's really hurt, DJ should have been named Diva and thus she yelps foul when she's feet away from what she thinks may cause her pain. When Max first met her he put his nose on her ear and she cried like he'd murdered her for three minutes. Tonight she yelped long and loud when she realized a new big dog was around her. Emma, curious tried jumping on her and DJ went into full "I've been murdered and my leg is hanging by a thread and I have a broken nail and I can't find my makeup" scream and Emma backed up, laid down and gave her space for the rest of the night. Deva ignored her.
Emma was actually very good with both new dogs. She showed no fear, just happy curiosity and was able to figure out and read their body language with few puppy mishaps. This is an important lesson for her. She must be able to accurately read other dogs so she can play properly with them. The introduction to all of the adult dogs she's had has helped her with her basic socialization. She's learning to accept new dogs into "her" home and she's able to relax and calm around them. My next step is setting up a play date with a playful dog so she can learn to play also.
Max is trying to play with her. He never got the lessons that Emma is now, so his play style is not something most dogs see. He lowers his head, barks in a high pitched voice and grumbles while his tail is mid-line and wagging. When he thinks they understand him he turns and butt bumps them or rushes in and nose nudges them. For most dogs, this is not play and it takes time for Max to develop playmates who play back. He's had two in his life since he came to me and both played the same way at the dog park.
Emma is starting to get it. She jumps on him in her invitation to play, but that isn't Max's play style and he spins and woofs at her again. It can be an amazenly loud event when Max gets it in his mind to play with the puppy. They are able to be in the yard 90% of the time off lead together. I supervise and when Max gets too intense I tether him to me for a little bit to time him out. He can now watch her run and not constantly try to herd her.
He is accepting her touching him as she walks by and even sometimes jumping on his back when she's excited and wanting out of the door and can't contain herself. She brushes his chest when she walks by or lays right next to him without him grumping and walking off or telling her to go away. Emma is becoming part of Max's family.
Since we had a long socialization period I didn't do a lot of one-on-one formal training. She's tired and relaxed now, laying next to my chair while all the other dogs sleep. I am used to Mr. Max who is all go and no stop most times. Her ability to relax the moment I do has improved his ability to do the same. Why he didn't pick it up from the Dachshunds I don't know, but Emma is having a positive effect on Max, like he her.