Wednesday, February 13, 2013

22 Weeks: Training - Day 38

Emma after she visited the groomers the first time.
She's now learning humans get groomed also.
What a long night!  Emma fussed and whined all night long in her crate.  She didn't claw, scream or throw a fit, but would do a soft whine at me every half hour all night long.  It was exhausting, but I knew she was trying very hard to convince me I was torturing her by keeping her crated when the rest of the world was out.

I had set my alarm for 6:30 AM and it went off when I finally gave in and got up and let her out at 6:25 AM.  I was letting her and Dieter and Max out when I heard my alarm sound.  Exhausted and grumpy I went to my room and shut off the alarm and promptly made myself a cup of coffee.

Once the crew was in I sat up in bed and enjoyed my coffee while Emma tackled the toy I had purchased for her the night before and Max tried to become one with me - butt first.  I knew then it must be Wednesday!

I had a hair appointment today and permission to bring Ms. Emma with me.  Walter would watch her while I was unable to during the appointment.  I want to give a special thanks to Quincy McDonald, owner of Strandz Off Broadway, for her continued support in training Service Dogs by allowing both Max and Emma learn how to be in a hair salon during their training.

Today was a great day for Emma.  Her personality is bold and bright and she was nothing but happy all day.  Below is our great field trip to a hair appointment!

Today's Training:


Emma is working on Level 2: Step 1 Crate.  In this step Emma is to enter her crate without being lured.  I have decided to shape this behavior.  Since she's not enjoying her crate at night, I decided that I would need higher level rewards than her plain kibble.  I mixed in Duck & Chicken Grill from Blue Buffalo moist food into her kibble.  The added moist food spiked her desire to work for her breakfast and she quickly began working around the crate, which I had left in the bedroom.

In a few clicks she was looking at, touching with her nose and paws and even sticking her head into the crate.  Since I had taken up time with snuggling on the bed and then showering before her breakfast, I realized I would be late if we worked for her full meal - so I simply placed her bowl with her spiked kibble into the crate after a few clicks. She looked a bit confused for a second and then went into her crate and age her breakfast.

This evening I worked through all but the last 1/4 of her dinner on crate.  She walked around, poked it with her nose, put her feet on it, laid down by it, put her head in it and anything else she could think of, but go into it.  That's fine, I planned on spending the last two days working on crate and tomorrow I'll put her mat in front of it and slowly work to putting her mat into it and turn "going into the crate" to "go to mat" as a game.

Her crate was in the kitchen for the dinner meal.  I had once again mixed moist food into the kibble, understanding that crate work requires higher payment.  The reason her crate was in the kitchen was because today Max had a TTouch appointment and I crated her where she could see me and gave her a Kong with moist food and kibble stuffed in it.  She was very good in her crate with her Kong and watched us in silence.

Tonight, since I planned on writing two blogs, I did the bedtime routine early and brought my laptop into the bedroom.  She once again hid behind my chair, but soon realized I wasn't gathering her up for bed.  She joined me in the bed and cuddle until she fell asleep while I worked.  Shortly I'll pack another Kong and put her to bed, but I have to careful to not give her predictors to bedtime that are associated with negative feelings with her crate.  Once she's realized she gets a Kong nightly for bed, I'll begin the nightly Kong packing for all the dogs and make bedtime a happy experience for Emma.

Field Trip

Emma came with me to my hair appointment at Strandz Off Broadway.  Walter attended to watch her while I had my hair cut.  Hair salons are scary places for dogs; there are strong chemical smells and the sound of buzz clippers and hair dryers.  Emma was excited to meet Quincy, who said she was a very pretty girl, and gladly explored the salon with Walter in tow.  I told Walter to let her explore, something Quincy and I expected, and he did great.

Max, on the other hand, was not up to form.  He normally lays by me while I have my hair done, but today was jumping up and wandering around, so I asked Walter to take him to the van and leave him there.  Max could see me through the windows and sat quietly in the front seat watching me during my appointment.

My hair appointment lasted approximately 30 minutes, in which point Emma went from excited to be in a new place to calm and quiet watching us chat as I paid.  She waited, in a sit, at the door and exited on lead when I gave her a release cue.

Her first visit to a hair salon was excellent.  It was just Quincy, Walter and I in the salon with her.  She was worried when she saw Quincy sweeping up my hair, but moved in and checked the broom after Quincy stopped so she could explore it.  Once she sniffed the broom she ignored it and went back to Walter and relaxed.  I am very happy with this extended outing.


Walter told me that both times he babysat her she whined while I was gone.  He said the first time, on Tuesday, she whined the entire time and he feared she was developing separation anxiety.  I don't believe that's the case.  She's just hit the age that she's aware of Us and Them.  I am part of Us and the world is part of Them.  That is her reason for barking at people with hats and children right now. It's also the reason why she whined; part of that awareness is that she knows Walter is not her normal care giver and thus my absence concerned her.

Today, when I took Max out for a walk for about an hour, she again whined, but not as long as yesterday. Walter was happy to see that, but said she spent the time I was away laying by the front door.  I must schedule times for her to be away from me when she's here so she doesn't become dependent on me, but can handle being alone or with other people.

I made the mistake of not teaching Max how to be alone and am now struggling with the seperation anxiety that he's developed because of it.  When I take Emma to class I have Walter watch him, but like Emma, I need to leave him for short periods alone until he can be okay with longer periods of time with me absent.

Instead of teaching how to be okay alone after she's developed separation anxiety, I am working on skipping it totally and teaching her now, when she's young, how to be separate from me or her handlers and be okay with it.

After Max's appointment I packed Kongs for all the dogs and sent them off to happily work on them.  Emma enjoys Kongs and is up to a tightly stuffed Kong.  I am seeing the first signs of her bouncing and tossing the Kong to empty it, after watching Max do the same to empty his, and her happily chew and play with it long after it's given her its contents.  A Kong, when she's busy and her owners are tired, is a great way to occupy her.  It is also a wonderful item to give her at bedtime to calm her in her crate.  For her crate, I would suggest finding as supper high value Kong stuffing to make bedtime a thrilling experience.

Tomorrow we'll continue Go To Mat and Crate work.

Level 1
StepCompletedCompleted CompletedCompletedCompleted
Level 2
FocusLazy LeashGo To MatCrateDistance

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