Monday, April 8, 2013

7 Months, 2 Weeks: Training - Day 74

Emma looks amazing!  Thanks Puppy Pad!
Monday already?  Emma looks amazing!  She was groomed on Friday and the groomer, Puppy Pad, did an amazing job.  Thank you so much for making her look professional and cute at the same time.

Emma arrived with a full blast of energy and pounced on Dieter while I was talking with her owner.  We'll need to work some more on small dog manners with Emma.  She then bounced and played a bit with Max and Jack before sauntering off to find a bone to chew on.  She's so at home here now that she just walks in with "Hi, I had a great weekend" attitude.

Jack was excited to see Emma and did some play pounces at her and tried to get a good game of bitey face started.  It took a few minutes to let everyone settle before I could start this mornings lessons.

This week Emma starts Finishing School.  I am looking forward to seeing how well she'll do in a new class of new dogs and how well she'll focus on the lessons presented.  I'll keep everyone updated - but since her classes are on Monday's I may have to wait to post her posts on Tuesday if I am too tired to work on them after her class.

Today's Lessons:


Emma is working on Level 2: Step 2 Focus.  In this step Emma is asked to hold eye contact for 2 seconds.  It's been a while since we worked on Focus, so I walked back to "making eye contact" to remind her what I was paying for today.  We spent one session on just making eye contact.  At first she was a bit flighty about making eye contact, but shortly got the idea that was paying and started to give me more meaningful eye contact.  I will continue to work this step until she can give solid 2 second eye contact.


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 Emma held her down for 30 seconds while I stood 20 feet away from her.  I'll continue to build up her duration on a down by 5 second increments.

On our second session Emma was able to do a 35 second down while I stood 20 feet to her right. Emma was relaxed and didn't fidget while waiting. She's figured out the beep of the microwave ends the behavior, so I am guiding her back to the spot I placed in the down and ask for another down before treating her.

On our third session Emma did a 40 second down with me standing 20 feet away from her.

On our fourth session Emma did a 45 second down with me standing 20 feet away from her.

Emma is progressing nicely with this behavior.


I set the book down for Emma to stand on and she stepped onto it automatically.  I am very happy to see this.  She also remembered she needed to move her back feet and keep her front feet on the book.  She was able to pivot both left and right and did a full pivot all the way around the book to the left.  Emma is progressing nicely with this training.

Finishing School

Emma is taking Finishing School this month.  It is a six week course in which Emma will learn how to work with duration, distance and distraction.  Since Emma has already been working on these behaviors here, it will be wonderful for her to practice them there.

This class has two German Shepherds, a Labrador, an Australian Shepherd and a Pitbull in the class.  Only the Pitbull has been in a class with Emma previously.  This is a dog who needs help dealing with high stress and working around other dogs, and thus is behind gates and blankets to block her view of the other dogs in the classroom.  One of the German Shepherds, a 3 year old, is a fearful dog who is afraid of his own shadow.  Emma's focus on me and not on him has truly aided in his ability to sit in a new location within the building.  The other German Shepherd, a 12 month old, is well socialized and friendly.  The Australian Shepherd is also friendly, but very active and the Labrador is a 5 month old boy who loves everything he meets.

Emma was highly focused on me during class and able to do the Zen and Level 1 Behaviors asked of her without hesitation.  She stayed at my feet and though curious about the other dogs, didn't loose her mind or ability to focus and train.

The only time she lost her mind was when her owner stopped in to pay for the class.  We'll need to begin working on greeting known people calmly and without throwing herself into a frenzy.

Next week we are to bring a list of cues Emma knows.  This list includes context cues.  Emma knows when I hold her leash she is to sit and let me put it on and when we go outside she is to sit and wait to be released - these are elements of her vocabulary and communication with people.  I will write up Emma's vocabulary and share it on this blog.

She is also to practice this week on Sit for Petting.  This means that when someone goes to pet her she is to remain seated and not jump up or move unless cued to do so.  She is to build distance with her sit and down, which she's been working on and start working on a long line out in a park or other open area to build her recall with distractions.  I'm going to have a busy week with Emma.

The other reason for the long line is to build her loose leash walking by giving her a choice to walk with me.  The goal is to walk with the dog on a long line without talking and/or encouraging the dog to join me and walk to a set focal point. If the dog passes me I turn 180 degrees and go to a new focal point.  We continue forward as long as the dog is behind or beside me.  Each time we reach a focal point the dog gets a reward and allowed to sniff and we do it again.  Over time the dog realizes that it's their job to pay attention to where I am.

This is going to be a very long week.  I have three dogs who'll enjoy this game and not enough energy for all of them.  I guess each dog gets a day of the week this week.

This class should polish known skills for Emma and prep her for the harder work of going into new public locations.  I am looking forward to Emma's progress!


Emma has gained a lot of confidence and bravery.  She is bold and ready to try and learn new things, even if sometimes they look a bit scary.  I am happy to see her confidence build each month.

She is teething again - I can't see which teeth she's bringing in, but I can tell by the amount of chewing I have seen all day long.  Given any free time, even playing in the yard, and Emma finds something to chew on to bring in those teeth.  Emma may slow down on her training if her jaw starts to bother her while bringing in the new teeth.

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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