Thursday, April 11, 2013

7 Months, 2 Weeks: Training - Day 77

Jack and Emma Play

What a day!  Today I felt like the Pied Piper of Dogs with six of them in my house.  Jack's German Shepherd sister Deva came to stay with us today.  She is very sick and needed some extra TLC while her Mom was at work.  She has Pancreatitis and hasn't eaten anything since Sunday when it started.  Ronda, her Mom, took her to the vet Monday to be diagnosed and she was placed on medication for it and given a special diet to eat, but Deva has had no appetite since it started.  Ronda and I talked the night before and I offered to watch her today and try to get her to eat.  I spent the day offering her food every 30 minutes, but Deva would either turn her head or get up and walk away.  She's not feeling well and spent most of the day laying behind my glide rocker sleeping.

Each time I took all of the dogs out I was surrounded by six dogs who all wanted my attention and when I called for them to come in I had six dogs trailing me like a string of ducklings into the house.  It was really quite odd to have such a trail of dog behind me.

Hall Monitor Max

Jack and Emma today had a few rousing games of catch me if you can and bitey face.  I filmed a couple of their indoor games - note in one video we have Hall Monitor Max pitching in and stopping all of the fun.  Between Max having fun playing with Emma and Jack and Emma playing and all the dogs barking at Josh, who came to work on my yard, whenever he entered the house it was a noisy, stressful and tiring day.

Emma was not up to training much today, but when she did join my games she was focused and ready to participate.  It wasn't the new dog that dropped her out of the game, but Josh pounding on the cement he's removing so I can build a better dog yard for the pups - she's not comfortable with sledge hammer and chisel sounds just yet.  Instead of pushing training, I decided to let her build positive associations with the sounds by playing with Jack.  It worked, by the end of the day she was back in the game and ready to participate in training.

Today's Lessons:


Emma is working on Level 3: Step 1 Target.  In this step Emma is asked to target a flat surface with her feet - in this case a horizontal surface.  Today I brought out the stool Max uses to turn on and off the light in my bedroom for Emma to target.  She has been doing this type of targeting on a book, if you remember, for her pivot lessons, but today I decided to shape her front feet onto the stool.  Once I can get non-skid rubber feet for it I'll shape her to sitting on the stool.

At first Emma just nosed and pawed at the stool.  She went quickly from nose targeting to paw targeting now that she knows she can use her feet to get clicks also.  She was soon putting on foot gently on the stool and looking up to ask if I wanted her to step on it.  I would click and wait for her to do a little bit more.  In short order Emma stood on the stood with her front feet.

Later, we reviewed closing a cabinet door, which Emma had down and did with gusto!


Emma is working on Level 2: Step 2 Focus.  In this step Emma is asked to hold eye contact for two seconds.  Today Emma found the lesson hard to do and couldn't get up to 2 seconds.  With a new dog in the house she was too busy looking about herself and trying to figure out what the dog was doing.  I kept at eye flicks and finally solid eye contact, but didn't build up any duration.  Emma was able to finally give me solid eye contact repeatedly, even with Deva exploring my house.


Like Jack, I am working on building Emma's positive associations with her Crate.  I was exhausted after Jack and Deva left, so I didn't train with her dinner.  Instead, I put it in the crate and put her in the crate with it.  I am using Jack's crate, which is a solid plastic crate and bigger than her plastic crate at her home, and shut the door while she ate.  When she finished I let her out after she gave me a sit.  I will continue to feet Emma from her bowl in the crate at least once a day when she's here to build up positive associations with her crate.


Emma can get this wild, almost evil look on her face when she gets wound up with Jack.  She snaps her jaws at him with such force I hear teeth click and she gets so bitey with him he has to put his feet on her and pin her to the floor to stop her.  Sometimes he gets up and walks away.  She's growing into a young dog and soon will loose her puppy license with him - he's been very patient with her, but I expect him to tell her she's being overly rude in a clearer manner soon.

She does not play this way with Max.  She doesn't tug or snap in his face like she does Jack, but instead paws a bit at him and rolls onto her back.  Her relationship with Jack is much different and I suspect she's able to get away with much more with Jack because he spent so much time living with his mother before coming to Ronda.  He's got a very gentle and soft nature about him and is tolerant of a lot more than any dog I have ever seen before.  When he becomes overloaded by her behavior he'll come to me and place his face against me and just rest there for several minutes.

I hope soon Jack clearly tells her what is and isn't okay play - otherwise, I will have to teach Emma that the snapping she's doing is not okay myself so she doesn't do it to the wrong dog and get hurt.

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

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