|Emma, 23 weeks, playing with me.|
I was about to get their training done and then take my shower when my oldest son Wayne called and asked if I would be home for a bit. He arrived in the middle of training Emma, who had been working on Sit. I gave up on morning training, which later turned out a good thing when my Mom arrived and visited for a bit also. All told, Emma had an exciting morning by ending her morning training session by eating out of her crate while a visitor was present and learning again she needed to keep her feet on the floor if she wanted attention.
At Noon I packed her up with her new Service Dog In Training placard on her back and headed off for our field trip. I left Max at home, alone, with the Dachshunds. I was told on my return that was rude by his clearly ignoring me once I came into the house. The great thing is, Max was okay after 50 minutes of being left alone in the house and hadn't torn anything up or damaged any part of my house.
When I trained Max I didn't train him to be alone - a skill I think all dogs, working or not, should have. I have been working on training Emma to be alone by leaving her behind when Max and I go out for a quick errand. As long as I know I won't be more than 1 hour or 2 at the outside, I don't arrange for a babysitter for her any longer. If I am gone longer, I arrange for my son Walter to stay with her and keep her calm. She can and does stay alone while I am away without having a meltdown. She's been, this week, staying alone in the house up to 30 minutes at a time, out of her crate.
I ensure there is nothing she shouldn't get into available to her. My bedroom, the front office and bathroom and the garbage under the counter are all closed off to dogs. The garbage by my chair is boring with no smelly wrappers or food stuffs in it and the only things left on the floor are toys she's allowed to play with and are safe for he to have when she's alone. She has Attitude and Dieter to keep her company at this time, though over time she will learn to be an only dog with no-one in the house. What she knows is, if I got out of the house without her I will return to her eventually.
Max, who developed destructive separation anxiety, has been an ongoing project in teaching him to let me leave. At first I couldn't leave the house without him slamming his body against the door or breaking windows. Now I can leave up to an hour before he's thinking I am dead and won't return. I am hoping by the time Emma and later his successor is trained, he can spend the day alone without panic.
Until then, if I am gone longer than an hour I arrange a babysitter for Max and will continue until he's able to spend longer periods of time between my exiting the door and the babysitter entering without panic.
But having learned the lesson of teaching your dog to be okay when he's alone the hard way, I am starting at the beginning with Emma and teaching her now before any separation anxiety sets in. Today was Max's turn to watch me leave and Emma's turn to go with me. There have been times when both go and I leave one or the other behind in the car, again teaching them both how to be calm when I am absent in a new location. I find though, for both, being left in the car seems to be less stressful than at home. Not sure why, but it is. Right now the weather is perfect for short stays in the car when I am gone, but soon that won't be an option when the car will be too hot for their safety.
Today, Emma enjoyed playing with my son and mother and an exciting outing to a new location for her. Though she's been to the front of the Big R, she's never been in the store. She was warmly welcomed and did a fantastic job on her field trip. I have a short video of us working in one of the aisles I placed with the full write up below.
Emma is going home for the weekend again. I know her owners won't have the time or energy to train her this weekend and I want to reassure them that is okay. She can just be a cuddle bug at their home and relax with them as they deal with the stress of their loss. I am providing a can of the moist food I normally mix into her dry kibble when I want to raise it's value for training so she'll eat for them. They said they had a hard time getting her to eat last weekend and I suspect a spoonful of moist mixed into her meals will help this weekend.
I look forward to next weeks training.
Update: Emma was supposed to go home today, but her owners schedule does not permit it with everything that is happening in their home tomorrow. I will keep her until tomorrow night and then she'll return for Sunday with the family and back to me on Monday. A third training session today and another day of lessons will be posted as a result. Sorry for the early release on this blog post - I had thought my day was done when I posted it, but I jumped the gun.
Emma will continue to work on Level 2: Step 2 of Sit and finish her meals in her crate to re-enforce positive feelings with her crate. More to come tomorrow!
|Emma 23 weeks Loose Leash Walking|
|Focus||Lazy Leash||Go To Mat||Crate||Distance|