Tuesday, May 7, 2013

8 Months: Training - Day 93

Emma enjoys visiting with my son Walter.  Here she is, just prior to
Attitude's passing, with Attitude and Walter.
What a beautiful day!  I want to clarify that my training Emma is just one job I have currently; I am also a web developer and work for a company that has several key websites.  Yesterday one of the servers suffered a critical failure and we've been in a holding pattern waiting for the hosting company to get the primary OS rebuilt so we can get the websites back online.  The failure left me waiting yesterday for the server to be available and a planned errand was delayed until today as a result.

The server is still being rebuilt, so we are still in a holding pattern, but my need to run the errand over-rode my  need to wait by the computer today.  I worked Emma in the morning for her breakfast and played in the yard while emails shot back and forth between me and the other tech personnel and then I crated her in Jack's crate and headed out for my errands.

On my return the house was way to warm for the dogs to stay in and the day way too nice.  I let everyone out and let them blow off some steam before I set out to train Emma again, but it was also too hot to train her outside in the street without roasting tender feet and overheating a young dog.  As a matter of fact, it was warm enough for Emma that she laid out on her side on my ramp and napped off the afternoon in the shade.

So, we didn't tackle the next training session until 5 PM and by then Emma was ready for a new adventure.  She's truly looking forward to training and I enjoy that happy mood when she realizes we are about to set off on an adventure.  Wait until she finds out WHY we've been working on this particular lesson!

Today's Lessons:


Emma is working on Level 4: Step 1 Retrieve.  In this step Emma is asked to go to three different types of objects on the floor.  Today I backed up to Level 3 Retrieve because I changed from the pencil to a knitting needle instead.  The knitting needle I selected to train with is one that she destroyed when she was around 18 weeks of age.  She found and chewed the tips of both of my #7 knitting needles - the ones that Amy gave me from her deceased mother's collection.  I was angry and saddened that I had let my attention slip at the time and just stuffed them back into my knitting bag and ignored them.

Today I pulled one out, since it was ruined anyway, and used it to teach her to take it in her mouth.  Though she's not up to holding it in her mouth for any duration, she did take it readily into her mouth and gave quality grips on it.  I then set it on the floor and rewarded any interest in the needle.  In short order Emma was attempting to pick it up.

I will continue to work this object until she can pick it up and hold it.

Lazy Leash

Emma is working on Level 2: Step 2 Lazy Leash.  In this step Emma is asked to take five steps beside me and then wait five seconds beside me.  Today I worked on her coming to my power chair by the gate and lining up with the chair so I could clip her onto the chair.  She did this without hesitation.  I then taught her how to exit the gate with the chair.  She did a fantastic job of it.

Once in the street we worked a few steps and then waiting by the chair for a couple of minutes.  She did fantastic, so we set off, at half speed of the chair and went to Broadway road.  This was technically her outing for today.  She sat beside the chair and watched traffic while I gave her treats.  We then crossed Bowman to the opposite corner and I placed her back to traffic and fed her treats while cars, trucks and semis passed beside us.  She is a bit worried about this, so we'll continue to work on this with much higher value treats until she doesn't flinch when traffic goes by.

We then went down the sidewalk with the traffic coming up behind us and that was when two 18 wheelers passed us and she became very worried.  I did rapid fire treats and keep a short lead on her so she wouldn't jut into traffic or the chair and worked her to the corner and away from traffic, where we did a lot of treats for being brave.  The next time we do this she should be stronger at the behavior and able to better focus on the task.

We then finished going around the block at full speed of the chair.  In the end she was tired and started to drift and try to cross before the chair, so we ended the session.  All told she managed a 10 minute training session and ended with her head and tail up.  She then spent the rest of the night playing in the yard while I worked on staining boards for my raised beds.

Emma will need more practice with traffic before she can accomplish our goal of taking a walk with the power chair for exercise.  Her ability to work with and walk with the chair is amazing and she's progressing very nicely.


Emma is on the outside edge of this fear period and I am seeing a lot of growth as she exits it.  She's able to watch the kids and neighbors as they play and work in the area and she's even recalling away from barking at nearby cats and dogs when she sees them.  She's showing more control when dealing with DJ and Dieter and she's starting to select to settle next to me in the yard instead of eating everything she finds.  She's still ripping and shredding anything she finds in the yard when active and even plucked bark off of my Spruce tree today, but overall, she was calmer and quieter in the yard then before.

It won't be long before she's doing outings with me and the chair and even taking walks in the evenings with Max and I.  She's still a bit "unaware" of the chair and I have to watch that I don't run over feet, but with time we'll accomplish a solid loose leash with the power chair and thus make her workable with a wheelchair.

She does need practice walking beside a manual chair, since that is what her handler currently uses, so she should work with his chair on the weekends when taking her Loose Leash Walking Class.

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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