Friday, March 15, 2013

6 Months, 3 Weeks: Training - Day 59

Emma tends to hide or shutdown when she doesn't want
to do something.
I woke before my alarm this morning, but was so tired I needed another hour of sleep before I could start my day.  I used the facilities and heard Emma whine at me.  I ignored her and she quickly settled again.  When my alarm when off I once again rose and again heard Emma whine.  I waited for her to quiet and then let her out.  She was happy and ready to start the day without barking at me.

When Jack arrived she was ecstatic and began play bowing at him and trying to engage him in a game of chase.  After letting all of the dogs do their business, I put my three up and left Jack and Emma out with me so they could play.  Jack finally joined the game for a few chases and then went to the front door.

After getting the dishes done I then started their morning with feeding the two Dachshunds.  Emma has learned she is not allowed to eat out of the Dachshund's bowls and she is not allowed to hover over Attitude while she eats.  She went to her spot and waited for the dogs to finish eating.  Meanwhile, I was keeping Jack away from Attitude's bowl.  Soon Jack will know the rules about food dishes in my home also.

When it was Emma's turn to train she once again held out and refused to eat her kibble.  It took a moment, but she finally decided to eat it, but when I returned to her for a second round of training she completely refused to eat her kibble.  I may have to put some parmesan cheese on her kibble to spike it up slightly and get her eating dry kibble again.

At this point, Emma has not had a lot of training because I felt myself get upset and angry she wasn't accepting her kibble and stopped my training before I lost my temper.  I suspect by mid-day she'll be hungry enough to try eating again, but today I am going to tell her owners to only give her a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of food tonight, no matter how much she's eaten, to build her appetite and return her to eating dry kibble for working in the home.

Today's Lessons:


Emma is working on Level 2: Step 2 Focus.  After a bit of a battle to get her to eat her kibble, we managed to work on Focus this morning.  She was highly distracted so I lowered the criteria for a moment and built her quickly back up to 2 seconds of eye contact.  I was able to rotate between 1 and 2 seconds of eye contact.   She is starting to get idea that I am asking for prolonged eye contact and she's getting comfortable providing it.  We'll continue to work on this step until she's solid with it.


I want to talk about Emma not wanting dry kibble and my wanting her to eat it.  Max, who was trained with chopped hot dog, cheese and other high value foods had a hard time refocusing on me in public locations for what he considered "normal" fare when  I started working on his public access work.  I had been feeding him whole meals of kibble in his bowl, which at first he was ho hum about and it took time to build up his willingness to eat.  When I realized I was giving him, for free, a bowl full of rewards for simply sitting and waiting to be released to eat, I started to use some of his breakfast each day to train him and then give him the rest of his food in his bowl for the morning.

By the time Emma came to me Max was switched over to using kibble as a reward and willing to do whatever I asked to earn his morsel.  He was eager and willing to learn in public for the higher value foods because they were, once again, high value compared to the training food used in the house.  I could even get him to work for kibble in public some days if I wanted a calmer reward when proofing behaviors.

Emma has decided that kibble, in or out of the bowl, must have moist food on it and therefore has deemed dry kibble is not of value any longer.  Like Max, who went through three meals of not getting what I had portioned off for training, she will learn to accept kibble as a reward at home because it is of higher value than no food at all.  She will not starve while I re-teach her to eat her kibble and make her easier to feed overall.

Once she learned to work for her kibble again, I will once again have a high value set of treats I can use when working in a higher distraction setting.  Until then, what she doesn't earn through training will not be given and what would normally be provided in her bowl at night will.

Emma is learning to eat - be it from my hand or a bowl - she needs this lesson.

Level 1

Level 2
FocusLazy LeashGo To MatCrateDistance

Level 3
FocusLazy LeashGo To MatCrateDistance

Level 4
FocusLazy LeashGo To MatCrateDistance


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