Friday, March 14, 2014

18 Months: Training - Days 272 - 274

She's starting to look at the camera.  That's nice.
Tuesday - Thursday

Emma stayed with her family on Monday because her boy was sick.  We encourage any extra time Emma can spend with him to improve their bond.  She is helping him at home by learning to now take his socks off, picking up items he's dropped and getting help when he needs it.  Her biggest asset is she loves to spend time cuddling with him and giving him companionship.  She's a master cuddler.

She arrived Tuesday in a fantastic mood.  We worked on removing the jacket again and she did a great job with it.  I am now cuing her to take the sleeve and pull.  she's starting to back up a little bit, but is still primarily pulling with her head and feet.  I introduced the idea of removing pants by getting my sweats and having her target the pant legs.  It is clear she understands the concept, but finds the pants harder to do because she's not backing up.

On Wednesday we worked on Level 2: Step 1 Communication again.  I really want her to have a solid idea of backing up on cue when she's holding something in her mouth and thus need to build up the idea of backing up.  I got her to back up more than move sideways by the end of the training session, but I noticed she was off while training.  It's not a "she's shy" or "she's fearful" thing, just not really in the game thing.  Emotionally Emma is a hotbox of good and bad days right now and sometimes a goal in her training needs to be set aside and her emotional needs must be addressed.

She's had a couple of weeks where my symptoms have flared and I am off, grumpy and in a great deal of pain and unable to handler her due to the perfume in her coat.  For Emma, this is a breeding zone for insecurity.  I simply need to stop and let her be a dog when this happens.

I spent the rest of Wednesday letting her cuddle and teaching her that laying right at my feet (a skill needed for working also) is as good as being in my lap.  She's doing it more often now.  I feel her curled against my ankle and reach down and praise her for her good choice.  I noticed that another thing was happening all around the house - every dog in the house has Spring Fever.  Yep, every single one of them is off.  Max is barking, talking and reacting to every sound outside.  Emma is launching like she's been shot out of a rocket when he does and following suit and barking at me constantly when she gets excited - even my taking a deep breath first thing in the morning sends her into spasms of barks.  Malcolm is trying to start play sessions in the house and is finding trouble more often.  The cold snap had broken, but the rain had come.  The ground outside was a mud ball and we were having off and on downpours.  It was not good play weather.

On Thursday I hit my limit.  I took Emma, Max and Malcolm over to Ronda's house to play.  I heard my voice raising at all of the dogs because they were reacting to every little thing and my head was pounding with all of the barking (Max and Emma and Dieter, not Malcolm. He doesn't bark when they strange...) and I really didn't want to get into reacting instead of managing behavior.  They all needed a huge run and a big play session.

Ronda had back surgery and I am helping feed her dogs in the mornings and evenings.  I brought the kids over to play and check in on Ronda.  Emma entered the yard and went into the rips.  Ronda has a 6/10ths of an acre and Emma can really lay out when she's running.  She spent the first 10 minutes in the yard doing nothing but running as fast as she could!  Yep, she needed to play badly!

Malcolm injured himself this day.  He was playing in the pool and when he ran into the house he did the splits and pulled his hamstring.  Emma, on the other hand, didn't want to come in, but spent most of the hour we were there running and exploring the yard.  She loves visit days and truly enjoyed playing in Ronda's yard.

Malcolm, who had injured himself, was so excited to be there he wouldn't indicate he had until hours later.  He played Catch Me If You Can and wrestled with Emma and Jack until all three had huge tongues and were exhausted.  At one point I spotted the three of them at the far corner of the back of the property and Emma laying by the strawberry bed watching Ronda and I on the deck by the house.  I called her name and she perked and then I said, "Come" and she laid out like a Greyhound and ran with such speed to the house that Ronda couldn't say anything but, "Damn she's fast."  Oh yeah, she can't get that type of speed up in my yard really and she's built for speed.

She cleared 6/10th of an acre of land, went around the deck and shot up the stairs in less than 3 seconds - oh yeah, she's built for speed.  No wonder she hurts herself sometimes; she gets such a head of speed up she can't stop or correct her direction until it's too late.  But she's a sheer joy to watch when she runs like that - it's nothing but pure joy of living for her when she's running like that.

When we returned from our play session she was happy, relaxed and feeling emotionally better.  We spent the rest of the day just cuddling and enjoying being a family together.  It was a much needed break for her and she ended the day on an upbeat and happy mood.  If only I could get that happy mood day to day and not wonder each day if she'll be feeling emotionally secure.  I'll be glad when her emotional roller coaster of maturity comes to a more stable ride.

On Friday Malcolm and I took her to her grooming appointment.  She rode nicely in the van, but when we got there the groomer noted she was shaking a bit.  She's so sweet and loving and silly and soft.  I plan to take her back into public outings again, but I am going to take it slow with her and see if I can't get her ready for public work; there is no promise she can work in public settings at this time.

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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