Monday, March 11, 2013

6 Months, 2 Weeks: Training - Day 53

Don't let that face fool you, this is a master in finding trouble!
When I put Emma to bed I had her off the tether this time.  She followed as I carried her bowl with a 1/4 cup of food in it to the crate and stood about two feet away from me watching.  Both Max and Dieter had lined up at the crate in hopes I would invite them to enter and get the prize in my hands.  Instead, I called to Emma and she walked up to me.  I opened the door and set the bowl inside.  She thought for a moment to turn away, but with a gentle touch of my fingers on her shoulder she instead changed her mind and entered the crate on her own.  A moment later she decided to eat her food while I cleaned the cat box.

Once finished I again retrieved the bowl and shutdown the house she settled in for the night without complaint.  It wasn't until 7 AM that I heard a high pitched whine from the crate.  I simply waited until she went quiet and then got up.  Once she saw me she started the fussing and whining again, so I ignored her and waited for silence again.  It won't be long before she'll wait quietly in her crate for release.

She's still in The Dance with me and working on earning more freedoms in my home.  She earned more free time yesterday, but I need to find a way to tether her when I am serving food to the other dogs; not because she is stealing food, but because she becomes so excited she pounces on the Dachshunds.

Both Attitude and Dieter are finding it hard to convince her that pouncing on them is not okay.  Attitude is exhausted after even one correction and I fear Dieter will be pounced one to many times and re-injure his back.  So, today we'll work on Dachshund Zen in the house.  As she becomes good at Dachshund Zen in the house we'll take the lesson outside and teach her again that she can't pounce on them in the yard.

Emma is not being a bad, just young.  She's bigger than the Dachshunds and with their age they are not setting boundaries as well as they could.  Her youth also tends to lend to impulsive actions, such as jumping or charging in play, and I can see by her reactions when they do correct her that she just doesn't understand they aren't willing to play.  Attitude will correct her and Emma will stop for a moment and then repeat the same behavior that got the correction a second before - basically, she's not taking Attitude seriously and thus Attitude has to work twice as hard to convince her to leave her alone.

Instead of placing both Attitude and Dieter in the path of a young dog with no protections, I can prevent the pounce and bounce attacks when Emma is excited and over time train her to ignore and respect both dogs, even when she's so excited she feels like she can explode.

Today's Lessons:


Emma is working on Level 2: Step 5 Zen.  In this step Emma is asked to turn and look to me when I tell her Leave It (or Manners) when approaching something I do not want her to have.  Items in the house she is to leave are Attitude and Dieter, dropped pills and other items I feel she needs to leave alone.

To help remind her about Zen, I refreshed Level 1 Zen and Level 2 Zen with her today.  She did a very good job and has been earning rewards of freedom and affection all day for leaving items I ask her to.

Emma will continue to use this step for the remainder of her life.


Emma is working on Level 2: Step 2 Focus.  In this step Emma is asked to make eye contact for 2 seconds.  I have been working on this step while sitting in either my recliner or my glide rocker.  Emma had become comfortable with offering me eye contact and even built up several times to eye contact for up to 2 seconds when I realized I would need to take this lesson into a new room and with me standing.

I had setup the camera today to film Emma while working on a couple of lessons so I could review them later and see if there was something more I could do to explain the lesson to her in a clearer manner.  With the camera running I started the Focus lesson.

Since I hadn't done the lesson while I stood, I lowered my criteria and only asked for eye contact and again began to build slowly.  The video included in this blog shows how Emma did.

What you do see is Emma is a bit confused in the beginning and offered targeting the tripod for the camera when she didn't know what I was clicking for.  This is wonderful.  She's thinking and not tuning out and therefore wanting to learn.  What a wonderful thing to see.

Emma will continue to work on this step.

Lazy Leash

Emma is working on Level 2: Step 2 Lazy Leash.  In this step Emma is asked to walk for 5 steps beside me while in the loose leash zone and then stand and wait five seconds while in the loose leash zone.  There are several smaller steps within it that ask the handler to not use the leash, but instead walk and click and reward the dog for walking next to the handler while in the loose leash zone.

The attached video shows Emma working this step.  She has done this part of the lesson 3 previous times and is clearly understanding the lesson and enjoying it.

Emma will continue to work on Lazy Leash Step 2 in the house until she can walk with purpose in position and not drift or loose her place beside me.


When Emma joined our little family here she tried everything she had to get Max, Attitude and Dieter to play with her.  Over time she did figure out that Attitude and Dieter didn't want to play, so now she works primarily on Max.  As I watched Max move from grumpy big brother to playful cohort I told him that she was a like a drop of water.  Her persistence to get Max to play wore him down to the point he went from grouchy to playful with her.

Yesterday she actually had Max doing full fluid movements as she bound about with him.  They enjoy a bit of bitey face and butt bump as play and she'll bound into his face, bop him with her feet or nuzzle him with her nose, and then flop onto her back while he mouths her.  When he stops she'll kip up and start him all over again.  It's loud and fast and at first Max would get too serious quickly, but yesterday I could see his tail waving with pure happiness as they played like that for almost 10 minutes.

A drop of water indeed.  She has reshaped him into a dog who enjoys physical play, something I never thought I would see.  The only problem is she's using that drop of water theory on Attitude and Dieter, who have no desire or energy to play with her.  Zen will be the rain gutter that'll redirect her away from them.

Victoria is also experiencing the drop of water theory.  There are times that Emma tries to engage Victoria in play.  At first Victoria was irritated by the effort, but now I see her starting to engage in play back.  The drop of water theory has relaxed Victoria around all of the dogs and I am starting to see Victoria start play off and on.  Zen again will help with the pounce and bounce play that Victoria finds frightening and encourage a more appropriate play style with Victoria.  The other problem with pounce and bounce is it turns into gang up and chase between both Emma and Max.  This is an unfair game and one I am working on discouraging.  Victoria doesn't need 80 pounds of German Shepherd and 22 pounds of Labradoodle charging her and chasing her through the house.

Zen will help with all of these, which is why I have brought back into formal training.  Once I have devised a solid plan for the final step of Zen Level 2, we'll move steadily into Zen Level 3.

Level 1

Level 2
FocusLazy LeashGo To MatCrateDistance

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