Tuesday, May 14, 2013

8 Months, 1 Week: Training - Day 96

Emma adores my son Walter.
Emma was groomed on Friday and her new cut is a perfect balance between cute and utility.  Her feet are trimmed up like a Poodle's feet and her coat is short and velvet like.  Her beard is trimmed up making her lips easy to see and less likely to pick up every tiny little thing she sticks it in and make it stiff and sticky.  Her ears are up short, keeping them from gathering debris when playing or working and her eyes are exposed, making it easy to tell where she is looking.  Her tail is feathering nicely and with her coat changing from the puppy coat to the adult coat it will soon settle and remain full and under control.  Overall, the cut shows off her remarkable shape and athleticism and allows for her to work without being difficult to groom and keep clean for working in public.  Great job!

Emma has been under going some remarkable growths over the weeks I haven't mentioned.  She now willingly enters her crate at night for bed, even if she's in the doorway to my bedroom when I open the crate and call her and cue her to go into it.  She sleeps through the night quietly and no longer whines in the morning when my alarm goes off.  She also willingly enters into Jack's crate and though she's still throwing a bit of a fit when I shut the door, she is generally quiet and calm in the crate for the times I must leave her behind to run an errand or attend a meeting or appointment.  Her crate behaviors are getting better day after day and I am seeing her enjoying her crate now instead of seeing it as a prison.

During the week Dieter sleeps with her at night in the crate.  She is able to share a crate with him without the two of them having an issue.  She is even polite to him and gives him the space he needs to sleep comfortably.  Dieter is no longer stressed by not being in his crate at night and the house seems to have settled into a nice bedtime routine.

In the yard Emma is able to watch the neighborhood without barking or reacting to events outside of my fence.  She enjoys playing with other dogs and exploring the yard.  The only problem is, she's a puppy and as such everything that can go into her mouth does.  I have planned my yard to be pet safe, but Emma is pushing the boundaries on even that.  She has been shredding the old corn stalks from last year and bounding into my raised beds and leaving foot prints or digging the soil up.  She transplanted several of my beans and peas doing so.

I will have my son remove the old corn stalks from the yard to stop the "find and shred" habit she's developing and my mother and I put up a plastic garden fence around my raised beds to stop random Labradoodle raids - thus allowing me to finally plant my garden!  We are in the process of adding more raised beds, but they will be in my direct line of sight when I am in the yard with the dogs and just resting and I can then train her raised bed Zen.

This week we'll be working on Loose Leash skills, since Emma is taking a Loose Leash class.  Doing the class homework during the week will make her class a success.  One of the things I will be working on is her working beside my power chair more than my walking with her, though I will train for both.  Emma's primary handler is wheelchair bound and teaching her proper wheelchair skills is vital, but she will off and on need to walk properly with someone who is not in a wheelchair, so teaching her to work with a person who is walking is also important.

Today's Lessons:

Loose Leash Walking

C, Emma's owner, was kind enough to bring me Emma's homework.  I sat and read through and realized that her homework is right in align with what she's already learned.  She'll be working Level 2: Step 1 Lazy Leash in three different locations (can anyone say Comeafters!) and Level 2: Step 5 Zen!  How appropriate that Emma has already learned these before taking the class so she could expand her understanding instead of starting to learn the concept.

So, to approach this in a more practical way and still keep it within the Levels training program.  I decided to work on Level 2: Step 2 Lazy Leash in the house and then on the ramp outside my house for her morning lesson.  I worked by doing different paces and adding stops and rewarding for only staying beside me when I stopped.  I have not added in full Zen behaviors just yet, but will begin clicking and rewarding any Zen behavior as we build up full Lazy Leash behaviors both walking and working with the power chair.

Finishing School

Emma did her last class of Finishing School.  Apparently, this class was designed to test my endurance.  We spent the class working on Zen with food items (a chew the dogs were given for completing the class and their treat pouches and a biscuit  on chairs which we walked around and asked for sits and loose leash walking while they focused on us and not the goodies at nose height.  Emma was amazing in all cases and only put her lips on one biscuit once during all of the different ways we worked around the chairs.

We did circles, figure eights and zig zags around the chairs with all of the dogs working fairly closely together.  Emma's problems were not the food items on the chairs, but the people and other dogs.  As we came around by Stacy Emma would loose her focus and want to go sniff or greet her.  As we neared the Boarder Collie or the German Shepherd on either side she would drift off and try to greet or sniff them.  I was doing well to speed up re-enforcement as we found these trouble spots, but as I tired and my pain levels shot up, I lost my focus and thus so did Ms. Emma.

When we moved to new areas of the room Emma glued her nose to the ground.  All of this behavior gave me a lot of information.  Emma was a bit stressed and used sniffing to alleviate it and she was also very curious about all of the new smells and couldn't focus on our task.  She is easily distracted at this point and needs more work on focus while walking and not exploring everything and rubber necking when walking.

Overall, this last class gave me lots of great information.  The final part of the class we did greetings with other dogs and Emma is ready for that part of the CGC.  The greeting requires she does a sit and I speak to a stranger and shake their hands.  She flew through this with Carol, who had no dog, and two students who did have dogs.  She's doing good walking loose lead and ignoring items on "shelves", but not people and dogs near her and she needs clicked for her head being up and not her nose down when walking.


  • Work on the assigned homework for the Loose Leash Walking class.
  • Continue Hide-N-Seek training
    • when Emma finds the person, have her lead them back to B so he can give her a treat and reward the behavior.


Emma has learned so much in the short time we've been working.  She looks for and picks up her toys or bones in the house because I very clearly defined what was okay to chew on when in the house.  She's learning the same thing in the yard now, but it's a work in progress.

For the most part she's walking on a loose lead, except when she's greeting me or her owner - then her mind vacates and she can't calm down.  She also looses her mind when first greeting people visiting the house - this means a bit of timely clicker work on proper greetings with high value treats to improve her behavior in these situations.

She also spends a lot of time bouncing off of me and guests with her feet.  Again, timely clicker work and high value treats should teach her to keep her feet down and greet people calmly.  Most of this is a form of self control and as a young and boisterous dog, she's gaining it, but will learn faster if I explain clearly what I want and not correct the behavior after the fact.

The marvel about clicker training is a behavior issue or adding a new behavior can be quickly addressed if done correctly.  I have some work to do, but hope to have it resolved in short order.  I will keep everyone updated on my progress here and then add homework for her owners to transfer the lessons to a new location.

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

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

Level 3
Zen Come Sit Down Target
Step 3 2 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 Completed 0

Level 4
Zen Come Retrieve Target Relax
Step 0 0 1 0 0
Focus Lazy Leash Go To Mat Crate Distance
Step 0 0 0 0 0
Handling Communication

Step 0 0

No comments:

Post a Comment