Wednesday, February 20, 2013

23 Weeks: Training - Day 40

Emma is learning to relax when I work on the computer.
This is Tuesday's blog post.  I am running behind due to a busy week myself.  We left off last week with Emma going home to her owner's on Thursday and spending the weekend there.  They decided on Friday morning they wanted her to stay for the holiday on Monday and so she didn't return to me until Tuesday.

Over the weekend I learned that the family suffered the loss of a loved one.  I am truly sorry for their loss and hope they find the support they need for recovery.  As a result, Emma's owner's schedule was seriously disrupted and she received no training over the weekend.  I truly understand this (read Day 5 of Emma's training blog and you'll see much the same happened when I suffered the loss of a long time friend).  I woke early on Tuesday, expecting Emma to arrive at her normal time and not taking into account that they may not be running on any schedule at all.  Her owner called me around the time she would normally drop off Emma and informed me that she wasn't ready to start her day yet - I understood completely.  The result was, Emma didn't arrive at my home until between Noon and 1 PM.

They mentioned that Emma didn't eat well over the weekend.  I wasn't truly surprised.  Since Emma has arrived she's been trained with her food and rarely gets it in a bowl.  Just before the weekend I had been mixing a small amount of moist food with her dry to raise it's value while working on crate training and suspected she'd hold out on eating dry food if no moist was mixed in as a result.  On top of that, Emma, who is now older, felt the distress the family was in and spent most of her time cuddling and consoling her owners; something she didn't do when I faced my grief  because of her age at the time.

Once Emma stopped bouncing around the house greeting the dogs and cat after her owner left I got her lunch ready (a bowl of dry with a small amount of wet mixed in) and put it in her crate.  She is still convinced the crate is evil and I want to give her a lot of positive feelings with her crate.  She started by eating her lunch with her butt outside of the crate, but finished by stepping in and eating. I never touched the door to the crate and praised her when she finished her lunch.

After that, knowing she had class later, I just let her settle in and played with her a bit.  This week is a bit disrupted, so I don't have any high plans for her, but just want to work on known behaviors in daily living and give her a bit of rest and recoup after a weekend of sadness.  She's in high spirits and playful, which is wonderful to see.

There were no formal lessons today.

Prep Class

Emma and I arrived a few minutes before class arrived.  She rides nicely in the car now and for the first time didn't bark back at other dogs when she heard them barking at her.  She was a bit excited when we exited the car, but was able to focus enough to walk back and urinate behind the building.

In class she showed me she was more than ready to train.  She gladly laid before me on her mat and worked for each morsel I offered her for good behavior.  We had worked the week before on putting her chin on the ground by shaping it and she started offering that behavior as we worked.  Later we worked on a drop down (no cue, but her guessing what I wanted for the click) and she was one of the only dogs in the room able to do a down without my needing to give her any hints, such as bending, nodding my head, or lowering my hand.  She quickly offered downs for clicks, even with other dogs near her.

After that we worked on "Go To Mat" behaviors.  She quickly got the idea to go to the mat and lay on it and once I could see she was offering the behavior I labeled it "Hit the Rack".  She was a rock star and didn't loose interest in training or become so overly distracted she couldn't train until near the end.


Next week Emma will be six months old.  Her cousin, who is in class with her now, just hit the hyper busy, strange fears stage in life Emma has just gone through and I was pleasantly pleased to see that Emma's focus and willingness to train had returned.  I can see the young puppy leave and the young teen appear and she's a lovely dog who has a playful and sweet temperament.

The changes that happen with her from one week to the next astound me.  She's gone from playful and pouncing on treats and dogs to fearful and shy to bold and boundary testing with me and the dogs and cat.  It's like a new dog arrives each week for training - something I never saw when raising my own puppies, though I am certain each of them did this same rapid change in personality as they grew.

This week I am seeing a level of maturity and calm focus I haven't seen before.  She's still trying boundaries and rushing through my house playing, but she's clearly also maturing into a young lady.  Officially, she's not a puppy, but an adolescent with all of the moodiness and rapid fire changes in attitude that come with it, but she's not a terrible teen, just a smart girl who wants nothing more than to play.

I went shopping right before class and bought knee bones for the dogs (Max got a knuckle bone) and when bedtime came she didn't hide behind my recliner, but instead followed me around as I fussed and tugged at Max's knuckle bone to unwrap it.  Once she saw I was giving out goodies, she waited for hers to be delivered in her crate and happily went in and chewed on it.  The only fussing I got was after she tired of chewing on her bone.  This too is a change; she's no longer seeing bedtime as the end of her fun, but the beginning of new fun.

Here's hoping her crate eventually will be a good place to rest and not the jail she's decided it is.

Level 1
StepCompletedCompleted CompletedCompletedCompleted
Level 2
FocusLazy LeashGo To MatCrateDistance

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