Friday, March 22, 2013

6 Months, 4 Weeks: Training - Day 64

Little trooper is making great progress.
Yesterday after I transferred Jack to Ronda I put Emma up in the crate so Max and I could get needed supplies for the house.  One of those supplies was a new chew for Emma and the other a nail clipper for the dogs.  I did the Dachshund's nails last night and Max, Emma and Jack's today.  With the long fur on Emma's little paws, I accidently misjudged where I was clipping and clipped a nail too short.  It was like the Great Blood Letting in my house all of a sudden!

Emma was racing about the house, ecstatic I had finished her nails while leaving blood footprints everywhere.  It looked like I had murdered someone in my living room.  I caught her up and put Quick Stop on it, but she licked it off and added to the murder scene by leaving a trail of bloody footprints throughout my house.  To say the least, it took me a bit of time to get her nail to stop bleeding and her to stop licking it and restarting the Blood Letting.

The wonderful thing out of all of this is that Emma didn't hold the incident against me.  She happily joined our training when the time came - even though I had to first vacuum and then steam mop the living room before someone came by and reported me for murder.

Emma is advancing so nicely on her training and her confidence is growing in spades.  I am truly enjoying watching her move out of the bratty teenage stage into the bouncy and happy teenage stage.

Today's Lessons:


Emma is working on Level 2: Step 3 Focus.  In this step Emma is asked to hold eye contact for 6 seconds.  Emma is still working from Step 1 to Step 3, but she's holding 2 second eye contact 40% of the time when working with distractions, which is wonderful.  I can now get up to 4 seconds of eye contact before I need to ladder back down and restart the count.  Emma is progressing nicely on her eye contact and I believe it is time to start getting eye contact to ensure she's listening before asking for a cue or a behavior the family wants.

I would also recommend rewarding any eye contact she offers with praise, affection or food.


Emma is working on Level 2: Step 3 Sit.  In this step Emma is asked to sit for 1 minute before the click while the handler stands 10 feet away.  I know I have mentioned that Emma is on Level 2: Step 4 Sit and she is - but she is still working Level 2: Step 3 Sit until she can do one minute without breaking her sit.  Step 4 asks that Emma allow someone to walk in a circle around her and if you remember, I had started that behavior from the very beginning - Emma now can and does allow me to walk around her, but not over here.  She becomes fearful and moves out of the way when I lift my leg to go over here and I am working on that part of moving around Emma while she remains in a sit or a down.

Why is it important for Emma to allow me to step over here (which is something I can't personally do with both feet, but can with one)?  It may be important that one day in her job she stay in a down or sit while someone steps over her - and if she can't do it she could cause that person to fall.

I know it may happen, and most likely will happen, because it happens to Max all the time.  At one point Max attended court with me while a family member was on trial.  He was in a down between the front wall of the audience section and a bench and an expert for the court wanted to get past us and to the far inside of the bench seating so he could be closer to my family member, who was sitting at the defense table.  In order to do this without disrupting the court, Max had to allow this person to step over him from tail to head without standing or moving when the man did it.  Max didn't move each time this happened multiple times over the course of four days.

Emma may need to stay in a down when someone steps over here in a restaurant or a movie theater and therefore I must teach her this vital skill.  She is working on that part of Step 4 right now while still working on Duration in Step 3 - I just alternate walking around or over her and having her sit for long boring seconds waiting for her click to keep her involved in the game.

Emma is up to a solid 30 seconds of sitting and waiting for a click.  I am ten feet away and she's able to wait for my return without breaking her sit for 2 to 3 30 second time periods.  I will build up the remainder of the minute in five second increments.


Emma and Jack have settled into a routine of play, sleep and training without disrupting the household now.  Every dog in the house is on the same schedule now; each napping at the same time and each up and willing to train around the same time.  With Jack's gentle nature and not dive bombing the Dachshunds Emma has learned to be gentler with them also.

The relationship between Jack and Emma has been mutually beneficial.  Jack is modeling some of Emma's learning - he's seen her give Max space when working and offer behaviors I reward and he's learning from that.  Emma is modeling Jack, who is respectful of other dogs and gentle with small dogs.  I am so glad the two are working together on the same lessons and gaining the benefits of their friendship.

Level 1
Zen Target Come Sit Down
Step Completed Completed Completed Completed Completed

Level 2
Zen Come Sit Down Target
Step 5 2 4 3 Completed
Focus Lazy Leash Go To Mat Crate Distance
Step 2 2 2 1 1
Jump Relax Handling Tricks Communication
Step 1 1 1 Completed 1

Level 3
Zen Come Sit Down Target
Step 3 0 0 0 1
Focus Lazy Leash Go To Mat Crate Distance
Step 0 0 0 0 0
Jump Relax Handling Retrieve Communication
Step 0 0 0 1 0

Level 4
Zen Come Retrieve Target Relax
Step 0 0 0 0 0
Focus Lazy Leash Go To Mat Crate Distance
Step 0 0 0 0 0
Handling Communication

Step 0 0

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