Tuesday, February 11, 2014

17 Months: Training - Days 259 - 263

Excuse me sir, I was here first.
Monday - Friday

Emma returned with her spirits high and her bounce in full force.  I had hoped that the small changes I was seeing the week before, better focus, confidence and persistence would continue and I wasn't disappointed.  She was a new dog!

Emma has been, since she was a baby, a challenge to train.  She was uncertain, even as a baby, about taking food when offered and some days she was so fearful she would slink away and pee herself.  It was a challenge to bolster confidence and work at a pace that kept her from shutting down.  Had I even thought that teaching her to eat would change so much in her I would have done it ages ago.

She worked 3 Rounds of Tug Tasks with me.  We worked on the cabinet door, the easier of the tasks to start teaching the concept she can pull as well as push the same item.  She had been barely opening the cabinet before this and lifting her paw as she did, her sign she was worried.  Even with Malcolm making a fuss behind the gate across the kitchen she would just glance at him and then go right back to the task at hand and was IN THE GAME.

Do you know this dog?

She was up, her tail waving happily and her face relaxed and happy.  She was working on the task with a steady improvement each time she pulled and though the paw was coming up, she was starting to lift less and work harder, a sign her confidence was improving.  She got the cabinet half way open, the furthest she's ever opened it and she was totally ready to keep working when her time finished.  Who is this dog and why hadn't she shown up before?

We then worked Swing Finish and for the first time she wasn't shy, worried, slow, hunched, low to the ground, but up and almost dancing!  Who is this dog?!  For 2 Rounds she was playing and having a great time with zero fear!  I love it.

Tuesday was a no training day.  I had appointments and I wanted her to think on what I had worked on the day before.  Returning to full training needs to be done with some care and I want her fantastic mood to stay.  She's eating without hesitation and dancing when I bring out the food and I am loving it.

Wednesday I had only Emma and Malcolm to train since I had afternoon appointments and Ronda and I decided to keep Jack home.  She was once again ignoring Malcolm who was whining at the gate like he was be tortured - which he was, since I was giving food to someone else.  She would glance at him and work on her tug task - which was once again opening the cabinet.

She continued to improve and her entire body was relaxed and I had very little paw lifting.  She opened the cabinet! I have it on film and I was thrilled.  Once she got it open she was flying.  She knew she had it figured out and the paw lift just faded away as she improved on the skill.  I am so happy with her progress!

We again worked on pivoting as I pivot.  I was standing at the time, but will transfer it to a chair and finally the wheelchair.  It's a safety factor to keep her feet out from under the wheels and makes her look more professional when working with the chair.  She was so happy and focused and even began getting the idea of backing up with me.  This is just plain fun now.

Thursday we worked on shaping a back up to help her learn to pull open a drawer.  We moved our tug task to the drawer, but she was again at that, I don't know what you want and was starting to shut down.  I changed tracks and asked for a back up and low and behold, she's swinging into a heel!  Clearly she has that on her mind and has been working it out.  I can see her looking to get into the right position and it's just plain fun to watch.  What a smarty pants.

We also worked on tugging a sock off of my hand.  I had it loose on my hand and started the tug task she'll need to help her handler pull off his clothes.  She got the idea, but I had the sock on very loosely.  I then went and got a jacket and hung it over my shoulder with my arm in the sleeve and she was able to solve and pull my jacket off my arm.

She was soft on her pull in the beginning and it took a lot of click and pull to get there, but once she pulled it off the first time she suddenly got it and pulled it with gusto the second time.  She is better with my right arm than my left, but I will continue to build up to removing a jacket proper.

Friday she went for grooming, so she ate breakfast and we left for the groomers.  Unlike the last time, she wasn't shaking in fear when we arrived, but she wasn't totally happy to be there either.  Inside she kept trying to pull me away to the front door.  At least it was nerves this time and not full blown fear.

What a remarkable change in this tiny mite of a pup.  I am very happy with her and will soon rebuild her public access training and see if she can't improve on that and not have the fallout I've seen in the past.

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 Completed 2 Completed 2
Jump Relax Handling Tricks Communication
Step 1 3 Completed Completed Completed

Level 3
Zen Come Sit Down Target
Step 3 Completed 2 1 1
Focus Lazy Leash Go To Mat Crate Distance
Step 0 Completed 0 4 0
Jump Relax Handling Retrieve Communication
Step Completed 2 Completed Completed 1

Level 4
Zen Come Retrieve Target Relax
Step Completed 0 Completed 0 0
Focus Lazy Leash Go To Mat Crate Distance
Step 0 Completed 0 5 0
Handling Communication

Step Completed 0

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