|The training board Redd put together for training the dogs.|
A light switch and a board on hinges helps me to work on
two key service dog skills. The board will continue to grow
and change as I work on training Emma her basic service dog
She's full of energy and testing her boundaries with me and the other animals in the house. She's begun to bound onto Dieter and poke her nose in his face when he's sleeping, thus causing him to growl and tell her to knock it off. She rarely listens at this point in her emotional growth, so I spend a lot of my day telling her to leave him be and redirecting her. She will also try to start play with Attitude or stand over here in a "tell me no if you dare" stance. Attitude has, on more than one occasion told her to knock it off, yet again she's not listening and so my day is spent telling her to get off the Dachshund, be it Dieter or Attitude. She's also decided to charge the cat and harass her whenever she can; again I am spending my day telling her to leave the cat alone. Welcome to teenage dog mode!
With this new level of activity has come a new level of destruction on her toys. I am used to having dogs who chew on, but don't rip and tear their stuffed toys. Emma loves to rip and tear the stuffed toys. If she isn't doing that she's chewing on a single point on the toy and removing eyes, noses or limbs from the stuffed toys. I have put up the stuffed toys as a result, since Max loves to just chew on them and then give them to me so I can toss them to him. These are his toys and I don't believe it's fair she destroy his playthings.
I bought toys she's allowed to chew and destroy to her hearts content. I have a friend, Ronda, whose Dachshund DJ enjoys the same type of toy destruction that Emma does. I bought for her a toy she was allowed to destroy, thus not destroying Max's toys. Emma has found that toy, found the canvas interior and has pulled it out and chewed and eaten most of it. It looks like I'll need to go to Petsmart or Walmart on payday and pick up some cheep toys for Emma to destroy.
She's also grown comfortable with the game of tug. I have been working with her for about a month to teach this game as an interactive game she can do with her owners and finally see her understand the concept of pulling and tugging on the toy. I bought a stuffless toy for her to tug with and bring it out for one-on-one play. Max also has learned to enjoy tug and tends to try to join us, so I am using myself as a bridge to teach him he can enjoy a game of tug with the puppy. It's slow going, but they are starting to tug on the toy with me as a team - I may have one arm longer than the other before this is done.
Now that she's moved into the "what are you doing now" stage of life, I am considering putting her back into Leading the Dance here at my home to prevent her from learning bad habits and improve her focus on the humans in her life. She enjoys her playtime, but lately it's been more inappropriate play, such as bullying the Dachshunds or chasing the cat, and I want to teach her proper play and in home behavior so she's welcome anywhere she goes once she's grown. If she continues with this wild child behavior, I will start tethering her when I work in the office (her prime time to annoy the other animals in the house) and if that doesn't resolve some of this, will tether her to me.
Emma now understands that the sound of the door hitting the main board is her click and when she doesn't hear it will push the door a second time and make the sound. I removed the clicker from the equation because I want her to recognize for herself when she's shut the door. Once she got the concept she began to, with control, push the door shut and ensure she got the sound of it hitting the main board.
She did test to see if just brushing her nose against the board or pushing it lightly would get her a reward. Since I had several repeated successes in a row, I withheld the treat until she pushed the door all the way shut. Emma has learned the goal of the lesson, but has not generalized it yet.
Eventually this will turn into her shutting doors for her handler when he needs her to do so. It will also, eventually morph into other skills, such as turning on/off lights, pushing his feet or arms onto his chair and more.
|Focus||Lazy Leash||Go To Mat||Crate||Distance|