|Emma, 14 weeks, playing shy. Little did she|
know what she'd know only four weeks later!
Max is unable to properly express his own anal glands and thus needs them expressed every two months. I generally know this needs to be done by his acting jumpy, flighty and nervous when working. It clearly makes him uncomfortable and a weekend training trip with him resulted in my realizing he was in desperate need for them to be cleaned.
Emma was excited to see me and settled in her crate in the van and rode quietly all the way home. Once home I offloaded Max and then took everything else I had for Emma into the house before getting her. As I left the van I heard one lone bark telling me to not forget her.
I let her play in the yard for a bit before bringing her into the house. She was excited to see all of the dogs and ran about the house in pure joy of breathing. I had already fed Attitude, Dieter, Victoria and Max, so I quickly got her morning meal (3/4 cup of food) and set about testing her.
She remembered her Sit, Down, Target, Zen and Focus lessons from last week. Very pleased I decided to finish her breakfast with a shaping lesson. Some of her upcoming lessons will require her trying to figure out what I am clicking for and shaping her to a new behavior. Shaping is a method where the trainer clicks for close approximations of the final outcome. In this case, I was going to shape her to step into a box with all four feet and then cue her to sit in the box.
I have played box games with all of my dogs and when they saw I was hunting for and found a box to train Emma with they became excited. Dieter, the least likely to interact with a box, jumped up on the chair and watched. Attitude, who'd only just started thinking boxes may have secret ways of dispensing treats, put her nose in it and stood for a long time staring at the box. Max, who has had a lot of box experience, put his feet on it, nudged it with his nose, put his feet in it, picked it up and finally was leashed and put into a down beside me.
I moved Attitude to my chair and then began working on Ms. Stares A Lot. Emma sat before me vibrating and staring a hole into my nose as she waited for the click. After several seconds she looked over her shoulder, nose nudged my knee and threw herself into a down. This is excellent! She was thinking "What is it you want?"
A second later she looked at the box and I clicked. It went uphill from there. I had to move a couple of times to really get the box into the picture, but she started putting her nose in it and purposefully putting her foot on it and then finally her feet into it. It was less than five minutes later I had a Labordoodle puppy standing in the box with all four feet and when I cued Sit she did!
What an exciting event! Emma is a smart girl who is learning shaping behaviors and learning to offer behaviors when she realizes I am expecting something from her. We well continue to play shaping games to increase her willingness to try new behaviors.
Special EventsToday Emma was visited by both Redd and Ronda. My son Walter is here also and will watch Emma in the morning when I am out with my Mom and in the evening will watch Max when I take Emma to class.
Emma is learning self control when visitors come. Since I knew Redd was headed to my house I put her on lead and greeted Redd at the door that way. Each time Emma attempted to jump on Redd she was stopped by the lead and only got affection after she regained her self control and had all four feet on the floor.
Ronda arrived before I could put a lead on her, but managed to keep her feet on the floor. Ronda gave her affection when she had all four feet on the floor.
MilestoneEmma passed Level 1! Congratulations Emma!
The last item in Level 1 for Emma was Come. Emma needed to demostrated, when tested cold, that she could play the come game between two people at 20 feet. Tonight Ronda, whom Emma has only played the game with once before, helped test Emma. Emma gleefully ran between us, was turning to return to the next person while still chewing and even ran past the other dogs without hesitation during the 10 round game.
Emma is now working on Level 2 behaviors!
ObservationsEmma is a very intelligent dog who enjoys learning. She is completely in the game and eager to try new things. She's a joy to train.
Emma has recently discovered people and things are outside of my fence line. Today she was outside when the kids got off the bus and was standing against my gate barking at them. When my God Daughter Tiffy came to the gate to talk to me and offered her hand to Emma to sniff, Emma bolted away and barked even harder. She's uncertain of the world outside of my fence and the people there.
I picked her up and let her meet Tiffy over the fence. Redd, who was standing with me, stepped out of the gate and let Emma check her. Emma relaxed and started wagging her tail and then happily ran around the yard when I set her down. I will need to sit outside with her when the kids get off the bus and feed her treats. I may even take her to meet the bus and kids and let her see they are friends and don't need to be barked at.
Emma is expanding her world and will soon realize not everyone is her friend or family. It happens for all dogs and she'll be a bit leery of new people for a bit. I will find more new people for Emma to meet and learn the people, even strangers, are okay.