Thursday, January 24, 2013

19 Weeks: Training - Day 24

Emma is busy and enjoys playing with toys during
her down time between lessons.
Today is the first day in over a week I woke with only a low grade headache.  I am used to having daily headaches, but the ones I've had for the past week were far above my normal.  Emma, having seen barking and bouncing to the door didn't work the morning before, exited her crate without a peep and went to the front door quietly today.  The cat, Dieter and Max were all quiet.  It was a huge change from the past few days of riots in the morning.

I also woke today in less pain than I ended the day before in.  My back had been on fire and my joints screaming the night before when I headed to bed.  This morning they ached, but weren't burning.  This lent to an increased level of energy which could quickly be used if I didn't plot my day properly.

I had planned to take Max for a bath while Emma napped, but when her nap time arrived I had company and decided instead to use the quiet time I was granted during her nap to clean my house.  I haven't actually properly cleaned my house since I started training Emma.  I don't know about others, but when my house if out of order, so am I.  My friend, who stayed for about 30 minutes, had left and Emma was sleeping, so I dusted and cleaned my kitchen. When she woke I continued and finished the floors and cleared out the fridge.  I felt more energized as a result and enjoyed my evening training with the dogs without the "I have to clean my house" back burner nagging at me.

Emma is clearly feeling better today.  She was full of it, playing with toys and starting play sessions with Max.  She kept trying to play with the cat by chasing her or cornering her and poking her with her nose.  I finally turned to her and said, "Leave the cat alone" and Emma turned, looked at me and walked away from the cat.  She's starting to apply Zen to life situations.

I again only focused on two formal lessons today, which does not mean her entire day isn't some learning experience.  Level 2 Communication asks that the dog give space to the humans around her by moving out of their way.  Emma has been learning this all along, I just haven't accessed where she is on the steps.  Level 2 Zen asks she learn self control with dropped items and items that are not hers.  She's been learning that slowly over time by my continued monitoring of her behavior.  Level 2 Sit and Down ask she use these skills to gain life rewards, such as going outside, getting a reward such as a toy or greeting a person.  These two are things we apply to her life when she's not formally training.  Level 2 Handling asks that she allow people to handler her feet, ears, mouth and body without fussing.  I have been doing tiny bits of this in the morning when we snuggle, when I groom her and whenever I handle her.  She's had me medicating her ears daily this week and I play with her gums and rub my fingers on them to prepare her for tooth brushing.  I also play with her face, feet and body when we cuddle.  Though you may only see two formal training items listed, her day is full of lessons because I can't ask her to turn off her brain when I don't have a clicker in my hands.

Since she can no longer join the cheese line in my house, she is getting Garbanzo beans when I medicate Attitude.  I use Easy Cheese to give Attitude her tiny pills.  I bit of Easy Cheese on the pills allows her to lick them from my finger tips and swallow them, so when I pull the can down I give each of the animals a small squirt of it from the can.  Emma may be allergic cheese, so she can no longer have any when I dole out the morning treat.  Instead, I give her one of the Garbanzo beans from the open can in the fridge.  She loves them!  I also use them as a reward for medicating her ears.

Today's Lessons:


Emma is working on Level 2: Step 2 Focus.  In Step 1 Focus Emma was asked to locate and glance into my eyes.  She's finally started offering this behavior as one of the items in her toolbox, so I am not asking for longer glances before I click.  I actually started on this step last week, but wanted to ensure I wasn't rushing her.  Today she gave me regular 1 second eye contact and occasional 2 second eye contact.

Emma needs more practice with eye contact with more people.  She's still throwing her head and offering other behaviors for eye contact, which means she's not figured out all I am asking of her is eye contact just yet.  This morning I was getting a lot of head movement and body movement when working on Focus.  This evening she settled down and started to give me meaningful eye contact on a regular basis.  The more she practices this behavior the better she'll become at it.


Emma is working on Level 2: Step 2 Down.  This step asks that Emma remain in a down for 1 minute before a click.  I laddered her up to 10 seconds several times and then began a random click pattern between 1 and 10 seconds.  She was able to do up to 10 seconds five times in the morning.  In the evening she was able to ladder up to 10 seconds 10 separate times.  I was able to also work just beyond 10 seconds a few times.  I got up to 14 seconds before she broke her down.

Emma needs to remain on Step 2 until she can calmly and without fuss remain in a down before moving to Step 3, which asks that she remain in a down while the handler walks away ten feet.  Until she can remain in a down without fussing.

Special Events

Today Redd dropped by to use my internet and brought her 5 month old great grand-daughter with her.  Emma was very excited, but learned she had to remain calm when meeting new babies.  Max, who loves babies, was very gentle with her and at one point when Emma was too excited sat between the baby and Emma.

Emma began to bark at the baby when I had her standing in my lap.  For Emma, this strange tiny human was frightening.  We talked to Emma softly and she finally moved in and sniffed the baby.  The moment she did her tail began wagging and she kissed the baby and nuzzled her.

At one point Emma became to excited and began clawing at the baby with her paws and Max started to tell her to knock it off, while Attitude barked at her and nipped her ribs.  I decided it was time to end Emma's visit with the baby and scooped her up and put her down for her nap.

Emma is uncertain about young children.  In the vet office she barked at a 5 to 6 year old child and today at the baby.  I think the Boy Scout meeting she'll attend next week will help her with her reactions to children.  I will have each child give her a treat while petting her to help socialize her to children.

Emma will be going to her owners tomorrow night to spend the weekend.  She's had a busy week, though a bit slow with my not feeling well and her having an ear infection.  Hopefully next week she'll get a bit more work in on her other Level 2 skills.

Level 1
Zen Target Come Sit Down
Step CompletedCompletedCompletedCompletedCompleted
Level 2
Zen Come Sit Down Target
Step 5 1 2 2 4
Focus Lazy Leash Go To Mat Crate Distance
Step 2 1 1 1 1
Jump Relax Handling Tricks Communication
Step 1 1 1 1 1

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