Thursday, April 4, 2013

7 Months, 1 Week: Training - Day 73

This will be my last blog post for this week, since Emma is scheduled for a grooming first thing tomorrow morning.  I will be waking her in the morning and running her to the groomer by 9 AM.  Next week though will be much more exciting for Emma; she's starting Finishing School on Monday Evening.

Today started nicely with Emma waiting for me to release her from the crate and all of us enjoying the warmer than normal morning as she played in the yard.  She's gotten to the point of chewing on a bone or laying on my bed when I shower in the morning and next week I'll leave the gate down when I shower to add some freedom for the ten minutes I am unable to watch her.

Today my son Wayne visited and I was pleased to see Emma's normal door behavior has improved.  She was still very happy and wiggly to see him, but she didn't jump on him or paw at him when he came into the house.  Later Josh came over and she barked a little, but came to me to see if she was safe and seeing I wasn't concerned by Josh's presence relaxed and ignored him.  She's not certain about Josh, but is learning he's part of the group of people who come to my home.

The interesting thing about Josh and Wayne is neither want to engage the dogs, so ignore them.  This is not normal behavior for people in Emma's mind, since she's one of those dogs people seem to melt over and find too adorable to ignore - even when she's being rude and jumping on them.

We are working on solid door manners and greeting people in the home here to ensure she doesn't become the jumping and annoying dog that people dread to see when the door opens.  Having her on lead and insisting on a sit before meeting a new person, pulling her back so she can't jump on them she her front feet come off the floor and keeping her on lead until she's calm has made a huge difference in her behavior and today I saw a lot of that when Wayne walked through the door.

This weekend I would like the family to work on Level 1 Behaviors in new locations and the Hide and Seek Game with her.

Today's Lessons:


Emma is working on Level 2: Step 4 Down.  In this step Emma is asked to hold a Down for 1 minute while I stand 20 feet away from her.  Today I had a phone call when training her, so I spent the phone call rewarding her randomly while she held a down in the living room.  I was unable to time her, but she kept her down for almost 10 minutes total while I worked with her and randomly treated her for her down.  I am very pleased with this level of control she's showing.


Emma is still working on her targeting on a book so she can learn to pivot beside a handler or a wheelchair when working. I have been working for the past two days to get Emma to stand on a book and begin to pivot with her hind legs to follow me as I circle her.  I don't want her front legs to move, just her hind legs, and for her to keep facing me as I circle her - this will eventually work into a full pivot at my side, but until then, she needs to learn she can turn without moving her front feet.

Today she promptly stepped onto the book while I was seated, so I stood and worked the lesson again.  She again quickly stepped onto the book and for the first time started to move her back feet and turn with me.  Though we don't have a full turn or a full understanding of what I am asking, she is figuring it out and I am very pleased with her progress.

I will continue to work this lesson until she's doing a solid pivot beside me.  Please watch the attached YouTube video that shows where I am working toward with Emma in regards to turning with me when I am working with her on a book.


What a change in this little dog lately.  She's not giving me the Wilting Willow behavior as often, though I still expect to see it from time to time as she matures.  It's a stress behavior and a clear sign she and I need to take a break when it happens.  I have learned to read her stress signs better and kept her just below that threshold, while building it up for her as she matures.

Her ability to contain herself is increasing each day and I am seeing improved play and social behavior with her overall.  I am very pleased with this phase of her maturity.

With the addition of warmer weather and her being able to play in the yard with kids riding bikes by the house and playing down the street, her barking fits over stimulating things has all but left for the most part.  She still has her moments, but overall, she's learning to come to me when something is frightening or over stimulating and thus her need to bark at the world is decreasing.

Next week should be exciting as we enter her next class and work on her advanced leash skills.

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

Level 2
Zen Come Sit Down Target
Step 5 2 5 4 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 2 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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