Wednesday, March 13, 2013

6 Months, 3 Weeks: Training - Day 56

See that, she's plotting to eat something she shouldn't!
Emma has learned to enter the crate on her own, though she still does a bit of hide and seek when it is bed time, my removing the statement that it is bed time out of my routine has greatly improved her willingness to come to bed.  I need to purchase a couple of crates though.  With Jack in the house during the day and Emma in the house over night poor Dieter is spending half of his week displaced from his crate and it is actually starting to stress him a bit.

Last night when I got the bed time routine started Dieter happily trotted to his crate and stood waiting to go in.  I had to coax him onto my bed and then he was nervous and worried.  Mornings are his bed snuggle times and sleeping in my bed, after a year of sleeping in the crate, feels foreign to him.  Emma, who had hidden during the whole shutdown routine finally came into the bedroom while I was cleaning the cat box.  I talked to her quietly and then went and gated the bedroom off.  It was then I coaxed Dieter into the bed, opened the crate and Emma came around the door of the crate and walked into it and laid down.

She makes no fuss in the wire crate.  She laid quiet and watched me as I brushed my teeth and finished getting ready for bed and stayed quiet clear to morning.  Last week she whined when she heard me wake, but my not letting her out until she was quiet has sunk in.  What a wonderful change to our morning chaos.

I got up early and let everyone out, since I had a new arrival coming today. Jack, a black  Standard Poodle, has joined our family during the days.  He will also be training to become a service dog and though he has a lot of wonderful skills already, he needs some basics.  Jack will be working on Level 1 behaviors this week.

Emma is so happy Jack has joined the family.  She was uncertain of him yesterday, but after a rousing game of chase and a lovely game of wrestling in the house, she has decided he's her new best friend.  Unlike Max, who plays rough German Shepherd games, Jack plays the softer Poodle games that Emma enjoys.  Jack engages her in play and the two can spend up to 30 minutes just relaxing and playing together.

This addition to our home is fantastic.  Jack will give Emma the play time she needed with other dogs and his lovely body language and polite manners is rubbing off on her.  She's less pushy with the Dachshunds and has actually stopped riling up Max when she's wanting a play session.  Instead, she and Jack play quietly in the living room or kitchen or outside and I have calmer adult dogs in the house.

I believe the continued exposure to Jack will be very healthy for her and she'll learn how to play politely and with properly body language with other dogs from him.

Today's Lessons:


Emma is working on Level 2: Step 2 Focus.  With the addition of Jack into the home I have lowered my criteria and am working her making eye contact without duration when we start the lesson.  Again I stood in the kitchen today, but it didn't seem to throw her off like it had before; instead she sat and would experiment with her head a bit and then make full eye contact.  Once I clicked for that she gave me the "I know this game" look and fell right into the game.

Jack, who has no Zen behavior currently, was right in the mix and trying to take the food from my hand when I offered it.  Max had laid down out of the way, after many long lessons of going to a spot and settling, and Attitude, The Ever Present, was standing beside Emma waiting for kibble fallout.  Emma ignored them, but was watching Jack a lot.

I held the treats out away from my body and waited for Emma to turn and look at me instead before I clicked.  At first she was stuck and couldn't think of what to do to make me click, then she glanced at me as if to say, "Did you die?" and I clicked.  It went very well after that.  She would quickly look at my hand with the treat and then me and get her click; Jack on the other hand was mugging my hand and then in trying to get the treats I was offering her.

I instead body blocked him, knowing his gentle and sensitive Poodle personality would lend to him settling in behind me.  This is exactly what happened, but if Emma, in her excitement to play the game shifted her position, Jack would get up and try to help with kibble removal.

At one point Emma was so in the game that she walked around Jack and pointedly made eye contact with me.  I am very impressed with this.  This shows she knows the goal of the game and is willing to play it.  We'll continue working on this step until she is solid with 2 second eye contact.


Emma is working on Level 2: Step 3 Sit.  In this step Emma is asked to sit and wait for the click for 30 seconds.  Today I worked on motion and standing at varying angles to Emma while she sat.  I didn't add duration with this new behavior, but instead began setting her up to wait for me no matter what orientation I am to her when I ask her to sit.

Jack followed me around while I worked Emma.  She was solid enough on sitting while I changed positions, circled her and even stood behind her while Jack played velcro dog with me that she never broke her sit during the first training session.

I had taken duration out of the first session with her because Jack was so new in the house and she's now smitten with him.  Emma is developing a work ethic and when I was focused on her and training her she remained focused on me and in the game, even with her new best friend wandering about and even poking her in the nose with his nose.

On our second session I added duration and worked up to 15 seconds again while Jack paced and circled Emma and tried to engage me.  Emma is becoming a very focused little girl.  We'll keep working on this step until Emma can manage 30 seconds.


Emma is working on Level 3: Step 3 Zen.  I tested Emma on Steps 1 & 2 and she passed without breaking a sweat.  Since Emma arrived I have implemented a sit or down and wait for release to exit the door.  If you remember, I used to talk about the black bullet that shot out my front door whenever it opened.  This frightens me since I cannot ensure every door she'll see open to the great outdoors will be secured with a fully fenced yard.  This lesson also makes it possible for her to sit and wait for release from the car and other locations which may pose danger to her if she didn't have a solid Zen behavior.

Because of these lessons for the past few weeks she was able to sit without cue and wait when I opened the front door.  She also was able to sit with an open door for 30 seconds without leaving it, without a cue.  The next step asks for Emma to wait 1 minute while I carry things in and out of the house.

This step I have been working on also.  I open the door to crush cans or throw garbage away or toss recycling into the bin.  I leave the door open for this and over time Emma has learned that even though the door is open and I have stepped out, she does not have permission to bolt out the door.   I will now work on duration beyond the 20 seconds I have her to the 1 minute required for this step.

I ask that the family work on re-teaching Level 3: Step 1 & 2 Zen at their home over the weekend to ensure she understands the rules apply to any door.

Lazy Leash

Emma is working on Level 2: Step 2 Lazy Leash.  In this step Emma is asked to take five steps in position beside me and then wait five seconds in position beside me without having a leash on.

I have been just wandering and clicking for her to catching up to me and being in the correct position.  The problem I am facing is that Max and Attitude and now Jack all pace with us and Emma is getting a muddled picture of the lesson.  I will need to work out how to having just Emma follow me and get her treats when I drop them after the click.

I will get this figured out and update you on how I solved the problem.


Today was stressful for Emma in regards to focusing on training.  Jack has thrown a bit of chaos into our schedule and thus I will be spending the end of the week getting Jack on the same page as everyone else.  It had taken me some time to convince Max that when I was working Emma he was to settle nearby and wait for me to call him over for a training session.  Emma learned the same lesson regarding my training Max.  Jack now needs to learn to wait his turn and allow me to focus on one dog at a time when I am training.

But Jack is not all bad.  He has brought into her life a playmate who enjoys the same games and jokes as her. She's smitten with him and spent her off time rough housing with him and pestering the crap out of him.  She enjoyed tug games with him and mouth wrestling and wrestling games.  She was such a pest that at one point Jack simply put his foot on her to tell her to knock it off, but he's so very very patient with her and does enjoy playing with her.

Outside they enjoy fast romps in the yard.  He loves playing chase and even got Max into a real chase game where they were having way too much fun running in parallel.  It's amazing how patient he is.

Emma was tired after a busy day and didn't seek other activities that could lead to trouble after playing with him.  When they stopped playing she would curl up close to him and rest.  Since Jack's arrival she's not trying to destroy the house or pester Attitude and Dieter to death.  She's even become gentler with them when she does engage them after seeing how polite and gentle Jack is with them.

She is, for the first time, content and tired after plenty of play.  What Max and my dogs couldn't provide was the endless patience and proper play style she needed to truly enjoy herself.  She's calmer and more focused because of her time with Jack.

Emma has a dog friend and she's happy to see him each day.  Jack will be a huge benefit to her learning process and she to his as she models behavior for him!

Level 1

Level 2
FocusLazy LeashGo To MatCrateDistance

Level 3
FocusLazy LeashGo To MatCrateDistance

Level 4
FocusLazy LeashGo To MatCrateDistance


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