Monday, March 4, 2013

6 Months 2 Weeks: Training - Day 50

Given too many freedoms when she wasn't being directly
watched was turning Emma into the
bossy teen in our home.
Monday already? I set the alarm so I would be up and have a cup of coffee in my by the time Emma arrived. Her owner was running a bit late and when I greeted her at the gate she told me she would call later and talk about how the weekend went. From what I can tell, Emma was just as busy finding trouble in their home as she had been in my the previous week.

I brought Emma into the house and kept her on lead until I could pull out my handsfree lead and tether her to me. In Sue Ailsby's book Training Levels: Steps to Suceess she talks about a process called "Leading the Dance" in which the dog is tethered to the handler to keep the dog focused on what the handler wants. It also, effectively keeps the dog out of trouble. Emma is about to spend a week in the Dance with me and I'll gauge next week if we need yet another week of being tethered to me to reset her to the polite young lady she had been prior to teenhood.

So far we've had a pretty good morning of keeping her from pouncing on Attitude, chasing the cat, jumping on furniture without permission and any other trouble she could imagine getting into. She badly wanted to run wild and play without rules, but I am raising a dog who'll eventually become a service dog and don't wish bad habits to set in.

So, today Emma will be learning, again, that I am the source of all resources and she is to follow my rules if she wishes to get any of them. If you hear a nuclear bomb go off in my area it will be Emma protesting the injustice I have imposed upon her.

Today's Lessons:


Emma is working on Level 2: Step 5 Target. In this step Emma is to shut a cabinet door with her nose. Today we started her lessons with the kitchen cabinet and did a few clicks to establish that the cabinet door was the goal. Since I removed the cue, "Push" from the lesson when I saw she was still not confident with the concept of shutting the door, I need to let her know what I want without using a cue - clicking her indicating the cabinet door is our way of communicating what the game is currently.

Today we quickly got to shutting the door and I clicked a few times when the door shut and then put the clicker down when she showed she understood the game. For a while she would move between soft glancing blows on the cabinet door and occasionally touch it hard enough to either move it or close it. I only rewarded when she heard the door close. Once she realized that the door closing was the "click" in this case, she became more confident with closing the door.

There were times she would push the door enough to move it, but not close it and she would check in with me to see if that was enough to get her reward. I would wait her out and she would push again and if that didn't close the door, yet again until the door closed. The persistence in working through the problem was a fantastic thing to see. As she realized that only closing the door would result in her getting a reward she also grew more confident in how much pressure to apply to the door. It won't be long before I see the purposeful effort to close the door in a single fluid movement of her nose.


Emma is working on Level 2: Step 3 Sit.  In this step Emma is adding Duration to Distance.  I started with rewarding her several times for just sitting and letting me walk around her.  This gave her a high rate of re-enforcement for staying in place and brought her In The Game with me.  I then moved 1 foot to her right and left and clicked for increasing amounts of time starting at 1 second and working up to 7 seconds.  Emma becomes bored and/or impatient with me around 6 seconds currently.  I will continue to work this step until she is comfortable and able to keep her sit without trying to lay down after a few seconds.

Lazy Leash

Emma is working on Level 2: Step 2 Lazy Leash.  In this step Emms is to walk a few steps with me and then stand by me for a few seconds without drifting out of her loose leash zone.  Though I didn't formally schedule any Lazy Leash work, I did have Emma on a tether with me for 90% of the day.  Emma had to walk with me and then wait with me whereever I went today.  She is doing well and starting to learn to  not tie both of us in a knot.  Tomorrow I'll work off lead in the house with Emma and give her a high re-enforcement for staying in the zone with me.


What a busy girl Emma is.  The few times I didn't tether right off from coming in the house she went right into teen dog mode.  She tackled Dieter and poked Attitude in the head and charged my plants.  She spent a lot of the day learning she could be on my chair or my bed with my permission, but was quietly removed if she just jumped into them without permission.  She learned that she couldn't go rough housing with everyone and everything in the house without my direct permission to relax and play.  She also learned that being quiet and well behaved released her from my side and let her have a raving romp in the yard while I cleaned it up and a rousing wrestling match with Max in the living room.

Overall, she did much better today than all of last week where she was a terror on four paws.  It'll be a week of resetting who is the boss in the house, but by the end of the week we should have a mutual understanding.

Tonight she'll sleep in Dieter's crate - thus freeing Dieter to enjoy a night tucked in bed with me.  From there I evaluate if I let her sleep un-crated at night by her daytime behaviors.  It'll be an interesting week.

Level 1

Level 2
FocusLazy LeashGo To MatCrateDistance

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