Tuesday, May 28, 2013

8 Months, 3 Weeks: Training - Day 106

Emma is starting to do proper retrieves.
So, Emma returns today feeling so much better she has no clue why she's not allowed to play with Jack or run through my yard.  Keeping her quiet when her favorite playmate is around is just another service I get to do this week.

Since she's on restricted activity due to injury, we will continue stationary training. This can include long sit/stay, down/stay and stand/stay (which she still needs to learn).  It can also include focus, retrieve and target behaviors.  Since I have a wide variety of items I can work on and ones that I know need to be worked on for her service dog skills, we'll have a productive recovery period.

I do want to mention some of the behaviors we work on passively that have improved markedly since I last spoke of them.  When Emma first came to me she was wary of bedtime and would run and hide behind my recliner when she realized I was preparing to go to bed.  She now waits near my bedroom door or on my bed or in the living room, but is no longer hiding from the process.  What's even more amazing is no matter if it is the molded crate or the wire crate in my home, she will enter them if I open the door (a cue to her to enter) and call her name.  She will cross my bedroom or living room and enter the crate without balking or running for the hills.  And at night she is dead silent and sleeps without complaint now.

Since her injury we've worked hard on lead work.  Last week it became extremely important to stop her from jumping like a fool the moment I touched any leash.  She would jump and bounce and slam her front feet into me whenever I touched a leash.  Part of the training involved picking up a lead throughout the day and then setting it down somewhere else.  It took a lot of the charge out of the leash and she started to calm whenever I touched it.  I also insist she sit and wait in a seated position while I clip her lead on - today she's finally sitting first and waiting, vibrating still, without jumping up and down the moment I touch a leash.

Whenever we went to exit the front door she would shoot to the end of the lead and jerk herself on her collar really bad.  Since she isn't supposed to be bouncing around or running right now, so I have been insisting she walk out the door calmly beside me and then calmly beside me to the yard.  This has been an ongoing issue before (she looses her mind on the ramp and rushes to the end of the lead).  Tonight she exited at my side, walked in a loose lead at my side and calmly went about her business.

Hopefully be the time she's released to play and run again she'll have learned not only how to walk out of the door on lead without jerking my arm out of the socket, but to walk at my side in a professional manner to the car.

Today's Lessons:


Emma is working on Level 4: Step 1 Retrieve.  In this step Emma is to go to and explore three objects on the floor.  She's looked at similar objects such as pencils, pens, knitting needles and other similar shaped objects.  Today I decided to work on cloth objects which included socks, wash cloths and slippers.

Emma is moving along nicely.  She notes the object on the floor and interacts with it and over time makes an effort at picking it up.  Today she did pick up and hand me the wash cloth, sock and slipper 4 times each.  What amazing progress.  She doesn't have the finally delivery process in place for her handler, but she is getting the beginning of retrieve down nicely!

Emma will continue to work on this vital skill during the week while I re-enforce Zen, Lazy Leash and other skills she already knows.


Emma is recovering nicely and should make a full recovery soon.  It is hard on her to be kept still for so long, but it is in her best interest.  Today I spent a lot of the day keeping her from engaging Max, Jack and Victoria in play.  Since Dieter, who is on restricted release from his crate, is also recovering from a serious injury, I also had to keep her from standing over and trying to put weight on him.  It's been a long day.

Thankfully, Emma enjoys long hours of chewing on bones and other toys and can be occupied that way, but I may have to do a few minutes of training per hour and engage her mind more while she is recovering from her injury.

It shall be a long week with a high energy puppy who is required to stay calm.

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

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