Wednesday, January 23, 2013

19 Weeks: Training - Day 22

Emma, 14 weeks old, didn't know that night
she would be having so much fun learning.
I woke before Emma this morning at 7 AM.  I sat up to find her just stirring in her crate and Max just rising to stretch and meet the day.  I let out the dogs and then returned for our morning cup of coffee and snuggle in the bed.  Emma enjoys this morning routine and settled close against me.  Max joined us and laid touching her.  He's grown used to the new dog in the house and doesn't mind her physical contact now like he did when she first arrived.

After our cuddle we did a quick training session on Zen and Target with Emma.  Max worked on Zen and his new trick.  With Attitude's health declining I spend a bit of extra time feeding her before the other dogs so I know she's eaten.  For Emma the time Attitude is eating is very hard, but she's accepted that she can't put her nose in Attitude's bowl and try to steal her food.  It's the beginning of Food Bowl Zen and she's showing a lot of self control when Attitude is eating a high value food such as canned Salmon and Garbanzo beans with crumbled freeze dried food mixed together.

I just crated her for nap time and she's scratching and screaming in her crate in protest.  When I shower she is quiet in her crate and when we go to bed she is quiet in her crate, but nap time is a different story.  It's a long protest about being jailed when the rest of the household is up.  It will take time for her to adjust to this new routine, but her nap time is when I can get her blog started and worked on, do some housework and give my dogs a break from the busy puppy.

Today for the first time Max goes to her crate when she is protesting and sits with her for a bit to quiet her.  It works.  With him present she quiets and settles until he leaves her sight.  I've never seen him check on her before and I find it a good sign he's considering her part of the family now.

I decided, since Max kept coming out to tell me the puppy was upset, to drag her and the crate out into my kitchen and after watching her for a moment realized the problem wasn't that she was in the crate as much as it wasn't "night" time and thus dark.  When I had Dieter crated when the kitten was first coming out and he wasn't ready to be loose with her at night, I had to cover his crate so he couldn't see her because he'd start to claw and whine when he saw the kitten.  I went and found a heavy blanket and laid it over Emma's crate and low and behold she went silent and fell promptly asleep!  Okay, so sometimes the human can be a bit slow!

Today's Lessons:


Emma is working on Level 2: Step 4 Zen.  I want to build up her ability to wait for a treat and eventually to not get the treat on the floor.  To do this I am also doing a bit of Step 5 Zen which is dropping treats on the floor and giving her a different treat.  Emma has been backing away from dropping treats for a week now and so I knew she could handle this.  I worked on it first while sitting in the chair and dropping treats around my feet and hers.  Each time I clicked she didn't get the newly dropped treat on the floor, but the one from my hand.  When I had dropped all the treats from my hand (about half, since she ate the other half as rewards) I would pick them up and continue to drop one and treat with one from my hand until I was out of treats.

She was a master of the Dropped Treat Zen while I was sitting so I changed the picture.  I stood and took her into the kitchen.  We had to start from the beginning again, which was fine.  I dropped the treat at my feet, she went to get it and I covered it with my foot.  She worked and fussed at the treat under my foot and finally moved back and got clicked and I slid the treat to her letting her know I was giving it to her.  We worked on this until she had earned 1/4 of her morning meal.

By the time I finished I was able to rain treats around her and she just laid there and looked at me.  I was also able to build back up to 10 seconds before the click and giving her the treat.  She is learning quickly and adjusting when I change the picture for her.


Emma is working on Level 2: Step 4 Target.  Latent learning, something dogs use to figure out what you are trying to teach them, means the dog, during a break, nap or a overnight, mulls over the lesson they've been introduced to and generally come back further ahead than when the lesson ended.  Emma slept on our targeting lessons last night and returned today with a stronger understanding of what I wanted.

I placed the post it note on the edge of my chair first and she immediately targeted it with her nose.  After a few quick successes I moved the post it note to the side of my end table and again she quickly targeted the note.

I started attaching the cue as her nose moved to touch the post it note.  A couple of times she got stuck and would sit and stare at me, so I would say, "Touch" and she'd turn and poke the note with her nose.

Right now her nose target on the post it note is just a brush by, no real pressure applied.  I will continue working on the post it note until she is making strong purposeful touches.  I may by some painters tape and use it instead.  What she really needs is a stable target on a vertical surface to touch and I believe the painters tape will work better overall for helping her learn targeting with her nose.

Puppy K

Emma is doing very well in her Puppy K class.  She got to meet two of the puppies outside of class and though a bit shy about it, she was curious and willing to engage in a bit of friendly sniffing.  The Springer and Lab puppies played together while we waited for class to start.

I worked on Level 2: Step 1 Go To Mat while waiting for Emma and I to participate in class work. Emma quickly picked up she was being paid only when she was laying on the blanket I had folded and laid next to me.  I would toss a treat off of the mat and then wait for her to return to it and lay down and tell her Yes and give her a treat.  When she chose to sit next to it or lay next to it I didn't say anything.  It didn't take her long to figure out it had to do with the mat.

At one point I looked up and noticed Emma was the only dog in the room who was turned and completely focused on her handler.  She had her back to the rest of the room and was ignoring the busy puppies around us while she focused on me.

Emma is progressing nicely and our practice on Zen and Mat work during class really helped cement the ideas for her.  She is doing well with meeting new dogs, though she hasn't had enough play time with them yet to learn how to play with other dogs.  She's enjoying working with not only myself, but Travis and Dana and she's truly enjoying going to class.

On my return Walter reported that Max, who has had separation anxiety since I adopted him, is doing better each week with my leaving.  He stated Max had whined the entire time I was gone, but this week he only whined a couple of times and nudged the door handle on the front door a couple of times.  The transfers between my home and her owner's home, having her babysat when I am not able to take her with me and having new people work with her has helped stave off a very difficult behavior for Emma, one in which I have spent the last three years working on with Max.

Next week Emma will get to meet a bunch of Boy Scouts during one of my lectures and then attend a new class with new puppies on Wednesday instead of Tuesday.  I have already signed her up for Prep Class for next month and look forward to her moving into more advanced classes as we continue her training.


Anyone who's raised a puppy will say there is a point between when a puppy is cute and sleeps as much as it is awake and the period just prior to turning into a teenager where they sleep much less than they are awake.  Emma is in that new stage.  If not forced into a nap, which she badly needs, so is busy with toys, chasing the cat, jumping on the adult dogs and getting into everything around the house.  She's between toddler and pre-adolescent and it's a difficult age for any owner or puppy raiser.

What's harder for her is she's not feeling well right now and her busy bursts of energy is taking away from her healing.  I allow her plenty of play time, an important part of any child growing, but I also know a scheduled nap right now is needed for not only her, but the rest of us in the house.

She's quiet in her crate with the blanket over it and if for a while she needs to be a parrot in order to take her naps, that's fine, as long as she does take her naps.  I have been so active and busy and going in and out in this cold that I am coming down with something myself and find I need more time to rest myself.  I hope whatever I have passes quickly - there is nothing worse than an active youngster in the house when you yourself don't have the energy to get a cup of coffee.

She has a sweet and bold nature, but she is also one of those dogs who likes to sit back and watch things before jumping in.  I saw that yesterday at the vet and many times in new situations with her.  She'll happily sit back and watch and take in what is happening around her before joining the fray.

Though Level 2 seems to take a long time, this slow down in her progress is expected and welcome.  She'll exit it with stronger and better skills than most dogs twice her age.  What she has learned has already turned her into a polite and wonderful dog.  She's recalling from outside when I whistle, call her name or call for all the dogs to come in when it's her play time outside.  She is able to sit or lay by me in a chaotic environment and remain calm and under control.  She has gained a wealth of self control and acts like a much older dog in her basic manners.  She's still a puppy and has her puppy moments where her brain falls out, but overall, she's turning into a fantastic little dog.

Level 1
Zen Target Come Sit Down
Step CompletedCompletedCompletedCompletedCompleted
Level 2
Zen Come Sit Down Target
Step 4 1 2 1 4
Focus Lazy Leash Go To Mat Crate Distance
Step 1 1 1 1 1
Jump Relax Handling Tricks Communication
Step 1 1 1 1 1

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