Sunday, April 27, 2014

19 Months: Days 299 - 302

Wet Doodles are pathetic things.

It wasn't until bedtime that I noted a message from Emma's parents.  They wanted to drop her off at the top of her drop off time instead of the bottom.  That's fine, I am up so if they make that choice I am available to receive her.  I texted them and told them that and found I couldn't really sleep.  I was tired, which is why Malcolm's Sunday write up looks off, but I couldn't sleep.  I was also in pain from playing pool and needed my body to stop protesting as loudly before sleep could take me away - that or get so exhausted I had no other choice but to sleep.

That made starting the morning harder.  I figured Emma, two weeks out from her groom, would have the deep perfume scent in her coat again and unlike the week before, which had an amazingly warm day for her to spend her time airing out and the scent dissipating playing in the yard, today was cold and damp.  I decided, after waking and seeing the low hanging clouds, that I would have her shower with me.

I let Malcolm just cool his heels while I made coffee and relaxed.  Emma was due at 7:30 AM, but I wasn't truly surprised when I got the 7:40 AM phone call  stating her owners were running behind and were heading out.  Emma arrived at 8:00 AM and an amazing thing happened - Emma walked loose lead from the car to the gate in a single run without putting her nose to the ground.

If you remember, I talked about what loose lead walking should look like and today I saw it in action.  Her owner was walking normal, arm loose at her side, lead up the right length and they walked together in confidence to the gate.  It was a thing of pure beauty.  It took three or four stops on the way up the ramp, but each time Emma remade a connection with her handler like she does with me when I stop and they could start again toward me.  It took twice for Emma to try to reach me without getting over excited, and when she did she chose to walk past me and pretend I wasn't there and then turn to me and looked up.  It was the best ever hand over she's done, even better than the one on Friday when I walked her to the care taker.  It was a pure joy to watch the sudden connection between them.

I let the crew out and held Malcolm's collar until he calmed and sent them to play for a few minutes.  After calling them in I fed them their meals, giving Emma half so I could take her later for a public access run. I had decided to take her and Malcolm out, but didn't want to run them out at the same time today.

She went to kiss me and confirmed she needed to be bathed.  I had thought about it Friday when I was running my fingers in her coat and it felt dirty and stiff, which is a sign the oils her coat produces due to being a Labradoodle, were getting heavy.  I set up the shower and carried her in.  She doesn't like showering or getting a bath and I won't call her to put her in and ruin her recall, which is fabulous.  While I was carrying her she scratched the inside of my left thigh.  Okay, nails need to be done too.

I use baby shampoo on her so I don't totally strip her coat.  I got her bathed and the water turned a muddy brownish grey color.  Yep, she needed a bath.  Technically, she needs a weekly bath to keep her coat soft and clean.  She doesn't have fur, but hair, as a Labradoodle and like our hair, it gets dirtier faster than a dog's fur does.

After wringing her out and rubbing her down with the towel I let her run in the house while I got ready.  I now had scratches on the inside of both thighs.  Since I don't have a removable shower head, the only way to rinse her off completely is to lift her into the water and she caught me again when I did.

The break after the shower was needed.  She can't go from shower to dryer right now, but we'll get there.  I got dressed in my caftan and combed and braided my hair and then sat on the front porch with the dryer and dried her.  She doesn't like that also, but at least she was 99% dry now.  I gave her another break and let her play a bit and then groomed her.  She also doesn't like that.  The last thing I did was trim her nails.  Yep, she doesn't like that as well.  Poor girl was certain I was out to get her by the time I finished, but she got a lot of jerked venison while I brushed her out and did her nails.

She looked great, her coat was soft and she smelled of fresh baby shampoo.  All is good.  I had planned on taking her out, but after my orthopedic appointment and finishing up Malcolm's public access I returned with my back on fire and exhausted.  I thought if I ate something and rested a bit I would be up to taking her out, but it became clear I wouldn't.  I bagged it for the day and called her into my lap and we watched Star Trek Voyager while I stroked her and loved on her.

I fed her the remainder of her daily meal at dinner and she ate every bite.  It was a good day for training handling and seeing what needs extra work.  I need to make showering a bit more enjoyable and the same with the rest of the process of making her public access ready.  It's a shame she has a coat that needs so much work to maintain when she truly doesn't enjoy any of the process to care for it.  I will work on improving that for her.

Emma is learning to work with higher distractions.

I have been doing to much and this morning told me exactly how much I had been doing.  Sometime during the night a weather front had come in and it was pouring rain when I woke.  I couldn't get warm, my legs were fatigued and burning and I felt unstable when I walked.  I also had a hard time just waking.  Emma has gotten so good about waiting quietly for me to wake and let her out and thus the rest of the house is quiet when I finally pull myself out of bed.

Last night, at 10:30 PM, my brother Shawn called to chat.  I had been in the middle of editing Malcolm's blog and lost an hour of writing time to chatting with my brother.  I finished up, but was sore enough and to the point of over exhaustion that I couldn't fall asleep.  I had gone, briefly, to Walmart with Max to pick up some Pepsi Max and Iron Man 3 from Redbox on the credits I had remaining from my free trial with them.  I have two days left to use them and a set of movies I wanted to see.  Iron Max 3 was one of them.  I ended up laying in bed, in pain and exhausted, watching the movie until almost 2:00 AM before I could sleep.

That meant I was, again, working on less than 4 hours of sleep when morning came and I just couldn't get myself going right away.  It happens like this - I have a busy week like I did recently and I end up the next week thrown for a curve recovering and still busy as heck.  This week is splattered with appointments, including going to see Spirit, a new client, today.  I try to schedule my appointments in the afternoons so I can use the mornings to do training and keep the routine for starting our day as steady as possible, but somedays I stumble through that morning routine.

Since I couldn't warm up I decided the cost of raising the temperature in the house was worth it.  I set the thermostat higher and slogged through showering and feeding the dogs their morning meal.  I fed both Malcolm and Emma half of their breakfast and took a break waiting for the sharp edges of my pain to subside with the OTC pain medication I had taken.

I was tempted to take the morning off, but too many of those and both of my trainees won't progress.  Instead, I decided today to combine their training.  Malcolm needs to work on Go To Mat and Other Dog Training Zen.  By his age Emma had Other Dog Training Zen down pat, but Malcolm is a bold, confident, inquisitive dog who finds it very hard to not be part of everything that is happening around him.  Emma is a soft, gentle soul who prefers to be off to the side and out of the way.  They couldn't be more different.

I gathered Max's furry mat I use when we go out to the con's to protect his elbows when he lays on concrete and set it up in the corner of the kitchen by the stove and counter.  I then setup the x-pen into a wide flat V shape to work Emma on being in a confined space and feeling secure.  I worry for her, she's soft and has a lot of worries in her and somedays it's a battle to shore up her confidence.  Somedays she seems like she'll shatter into tiny bits if the world says boo and the next she's forging into territory I would never thought she would.  She makes my head hurt sometimes.

Malcolm concerns her when she's training.  Since she has such sound Other Dog Training Zen, his bold thrusts in to join the play sends her off to let him try what I was training her.  He needs to learn to lay quietly to the side like Max and Dieter does and not send her to her corner when she's the one I am working on.  Today was the start of that.

I had no plan to train Emma something new, just work in a new location, inside of the three sides of the x-pen, while Malcolm worked on solving how he got the other half of his breakfast.  I would only ask her for her Level 1 behaviors and watch for improved body language and decreased latency on her cues as we worked.  I video taped it and share it below.

Malcolm improved with each 3 minute Round and soon he was staying in his corner and not bothering her.  The more she saw I insisted he not pester her, the more confident she became.  She started to stand taller with her head higher and her latency decreased.  We finished with a bit of targeting with a spoon and then targeting the wire of the x-pen itself.  The last thing I did was make it make a soft sound - which at first scared her, but each time I did I gave her a treat and soon she was willing to make it rattle herself (she tried on the last kibble) and clearly recovered from the soft sound.  I will increase the volume of that sound as she improves and with time will narrow the area I ask her to work in, but while we work this concept, we will do it with her Level 1 behaviors to watch for confidence and decreased latency to ensure she's emotionally doing well.  During this training I will work Malcolm on Mat behaviors to ensure he learns to wait when I need him to in the background and he doesn't need constant micromanagement when I am out.

Why is Malcolm's need to go and wait quietly where I ask him important?  When Max and I shop we have a routine at the check out counter that took me a bit to train.  As we pull up to the end of the belt I park him under it in a down or a sit and drop his lead.  I then work at unloading the cart by walking around it and using it as a brace to prevent a fall.  I am exhausted by this point in my shopping and shaky on my feet, but it's easier to have Max parked and staying safe tucked under the belt while I unload the cart.  I then cue Max to get up and hand me his leash.  When I am paying I have him lay between me and the counter and then follow me to the end of the belt and lay while I bag my groceries.  He then stands on cue, picks up his leash and hands it to me so we can leave.  The store is highly impressed with this display, but none of it would have happened had Max not learned to lay where I asked him and stay until I released him and I taught him while I was doing something that took my attention (or appeared to) away from him.

Malcolm is starting that early training.  Eventually I'll be wandering about the house and tossing him treats while he lays where I put him and waits to be released.  I will work from being within feet of him to stepping out of his sight.  Emma has learned this lesson and learned it well, but Malcolm is just beginning this journey, and like Max and Emma, he's starting it on a Mat to give him a better idea of what I am asking.

Emma's ability to handle stress is improving, especially since her weight is finally back to where it should be.  I have been feeling her ribs, backbone and skull and she has the right layers of muscle and fat over all points.  I can no longer feel her hip bones easily and she's building muscle on her hips and shoulders.  She was being fed enough, don't get the idea she wasn't, she's just a roadster and was burning more than she was taking in and increasing her intake has made all the difference.  She is doing very well eating 2 cups of food a day to keep that tiny body properly fueled and I do believe it's stabilized her mood overall.

Her problem is she's hyper vigilant and tends to react and not recover well to her environment.  It could be simple experience or it could be an underlying anxiety and without a bit more work on her level I won't sort it out.  Every time I think, "That's it, she just can't do that" she surprises me and suddenly explodes with confidence.  I had a period of time where I was certain she'd be career changed because of her extreme reaction to learning to retrieve, a primary skill, and then suddenly she got it and it's her favorite thing to do.  The same with removing clothing.  She was so soft on her pulling and worried about it and now she loves it.  So, with Ms. Ever Changing Mood, it's worth seeing if a bit of patience and breaking things down won't make her suddenly fly and show me up.

This morning, when I was getting ready, I asked for my slippers and she got them with her tail wagging, her body in that super happy mood she gets on a retrieve and her eyes flashing.  I also asked her to get a sock from under my bed, which she did with joy, and when I put it on the first thing she tried to do was remove it and I swear she was laughing at me when she did it.  She sure had me laughing.  So, who knows, maybe she'll suddenly get it and when she does just settle into her skin.

Comparing Malcolm to her is unfair.  Jack is her closer counter part for learning.  Her family has told me that she's making leaps in her learning at home.  I am to the point of showing her what I want, sending her home for the weekend and her solving the problem and applying it to her handler.  Jack would and does do twice as much and works four times harder for Ronda than me, and Emma is that way with her handler.  With her, I suspect the relationship with her handler will make a huge difference for her.

Malcolm has a strong relationship with me, but he also has a strong personality.  He takes the world in as a challenge and tackles it with relish.  Jack and Emma have never been that way.  The stand back, evaluate and then decide if they are okay with it.  Malcolm rushes in, decides maybe THIS situation may be a bit much AND THEN tells me.  It's like having a Ying and Yang in the house when training, but the challenges each presents has made me a stronger trainer.

I do train all day.  Settling while I am working on the housework, watching TV or working on the blogs teaches them how to relax.  Following me about and exploring what I do teaches them curiosity and allowing them to explore and check it gives them experience with new objects.  They have to have manners going out the door, use their cues throughout the day and learn each moment they are with me.  Just because I have a scheduled time for formal training doesn't mean I am not, in some way, training them all day long.  They don't live in a vacuum and thus can't turn off their brains when I am not holding a clicker.  Each interaction is a lesson.  Each behavior praised or affection given is reinforced.  Each behavior that they get away with, from eating every stuffed toy in the house to digging in the yard is also reinforced (self reinforced) and each time I approach them I am either teaching them my approach is safe or not - Emma is the only one who seems always worried about my approach, not because of bad interactions, but because she is a worrier.  Bad Dog in my house is something that gets tails wagging.  Calling them idiots of buttheads when I find them doing something they shouldn't (according to me, not them) results in curious looks and happy tails because it's said in a soft and affectionate manner.  Emma is just so very very soft she at first worries when I come into her view - I always reassure her she's fine, but that low level anxiety concerns me.

Today I found Malcolm had taken one of my slippers into the bed while I showered.  He hadn't chewed it, but apparently thought it should be able to watch Iron Man 3 with him.  I came out, saw the slipper and Emma shot out of the room, stopped and looked at me and then returned with her tail wagging.  All it took was my brow knitting to send her away and a smile at her and my telling her she was goofy to bring her back.  I looked at Malcolm and said, "Slipper?" and he cocked his head to the side and looked me in the eye.  Two different personalities.  Two different dogs.  Two different ways of dealing with stress.  I said, in a playful voice, "Bad dog." and Emma began dancing around me and smiling up at me.  Malcolm cocked his head with his doggy smile in place.

My standing gets a glance from Malcolm and Emma shooting out of my way and checking in to see what I am about to do.  Never have I harmed her, but she is just a very sensitive dog.  She reminds me of Attitude in that way.  Attitude was a bit skitty around me, but trusted me utterly.  Jack did the same thing; I'd get up and he'd shoot out of my way and then return to see what I was about to do.  It's the difference in how Jack, Emma and Attitude face the world.  Attitude never met a stranger, could enter a building with confidence, but god forbid you moved something near her or made a big noise.  Jack grew comfortable with things moving about him and Emma, with careful training is - she was terrified of my power chair when I introduced it to her and now jumps up and rushes to me when I sit in it because all good things happened from it.  She just needs time for me to decide if she can generalize that the world is safe or not.

Jack did in the end, Emma is in the process of learning to generalize the concept.  She's showing promise in many areas and if I carefully slice this right she may show me the heights she can go to.  She's surprised me many times, I will be pleased if she does yet again.

Malcolm doesn't worry me at this time.  He's becoming more tolerant of strange dogs, children and can go to new locations and really shine.  He to may surprise me, but so far, I am not worried about how he's progressing.  He doesn't have his basic skills as solidly as Emma, but he's also only 8 months old.  Emma has very solid basic behaviors, except her leash work and her focus, and has a lot of her tasks built already.  She's in a new phase of learning and with this phase we'll see if age and careful introduction makes her the dog we have hoped for all along.

Malcolm & Emma Part 1

Emma: "Think she's still breathing?"
Max: "Hope so, I don't have thumbs to open the food container."

Yesterday I worked for the first time with a new client dog.  She's a lively one year old Boxer cross named Spirit and she's absolutely lovely.  She has a deep desire for physical affection and when I arrived it became clear she wasn't feeling up to her best.  She hadn't eaten that morning and not matter the value of treat we offered, she was not interested.  This was the same dog I had met only the week before that was food driven and willing to work all night for food.  It threw me for a loop for a bit, since I was there to work on some behavior problems and begin filling in foundation skills and build up to task and public access skills with her.

She's a rescue that was acquired through another program that didn't finish her training.  She has a solid sit and down, some understanding of leash work, but her teenaged brain is fully on fire and she hasn't had the full level of socialization and introduction to public access work that her handler requires nor does she have any tasks.  It angers me when a client calls whose been failed by a program and truly needs a fully working dog.

The handler is dedicated and extremely sweet.  She had already started the dog's homework from the week before, did her personal homework without fail and provided me a list of tasks she needs the dog to do to assist her.  I had asked her to get the training material I work with and read the introduction and begin Level 1, which she did.  I asked her to pick up a second book which related to her health issues and look through an appendix which listed tasks a dog can do for her and check off the ones she needed for herself.  She did this without fail also.  All of her needs are very attainable and realistic.  She's going to be a great client and I am angry that such a fantastic person would be given a dog too young to work full time and not trained for her needs when she so badly needs the dog up to speed.

Spirit is a powerful dog with a mouthing problem, common for her age.  She is also a jumper and has poor impulse control right now.  She doesn't know how to work around busy traffic and loud trucks frighten her currently.  Careful counter conditioning should help her, once we can begin roadwork.  She, like Malcolm, also doesn't know what to do when she sees strange dogs, so counter conditioning again is required to give her the tools she needs for her job.

With her not working for food I said I would just work on building a relationship with my new client.  In this case, I have been asked to spend 40 to 45 minutes with her working her myself and then the rest of the time spent talking to the client about that week's homework.  I have little doubt that Spirit will flourish with her assignments with such a dedicated handler.

Spirit loves to play.  She's a teenager with a load of energy and play is a lovely way to learn.  I decided if she wasn't up to food just yet, we'd just use play and affection, something she does value, as her rewards and put the clicker up for the day.  I tested her body handling and found her to be a funny girl.  She flopped into my lap and rolled about with pure joy.  She leaned into my neck with her big head and just let me rub on her.  She doesn't mind her tail, body, legs or feet being handled, but her head sends her into fits of mouthing and head throws.  I could lift her ears and lips by the end of our time together, but it was a lot of careful work to get her there.

Her mouthing is normally fairly gentle, but she gets excited and pinches with her front teeth and she did this several times during our lesson.  I played Dead Hand with her.  Each time my hand ended up in her mouth it went dead and as long as she didn't pinch, it remained dead and no longer fun.  If she pinched I made a small, sharp sound like a pup and she'd stop and look up at me with her lips resting on my hand.  I played Dead Hand until she let me touch her face softly on the side and finally to touch her lips and lift them, she flipped her head and popped her mouth over.  With time, she'll trust me touching her head, but she also needs it with her human.  This is a dog I'll have to teach a different greeting procedure too when in public.  I do believe the same one I used for Max will work just fine for her - or even better, the one I used for Malcolm.

She's a jumper also.  She jumped on me and her handler a lot.  I have to click for four on the floor once she is up to eating again.  Teaching her to keep her feet down is important for her primary job, but that willingness to jump up on her handler can be channeled into a task later.  One task her handler will need is much like one I need, deep pressure therapy.  She will be a dream to teach that behavior - she was flipped upside down with her hips in my lap showing all her girl parts to me at one point.  She is truly a lovely dog and I was laughing as I rubbed her belly and watched her lay in total contentment for almost 5 minutes.

She loves tug-o-war, but doesn't know the rules yet.  We played and slowly she learned to release, but that play was grueling for me.  My arms, neck and shoulders where jerked badly with a full blown bully breed tug-o-war game and the felt like mud afterward.  She was calmer after a round of it and soon laid not far from me watching the world through a window.  A lot of positive things happened and an assignment list came with it.

She doesn't head snap when she hears her name.  I assigned the Name Game.  She needs to learn to eat.  Discussing her eating patterns with her handler I found some days she decides to eat some or none of her food and she's lean as all get out.  She could do with a bit more weight.  That tiny acorn that I let grow into an Oak Tree in Emma is developing with this lovely girl and I just don't want to deal with another dog that I don't know one lesson from the next if she'll eat or not.  I assigned Teach Your Dog To Eat.  The family has a 12 year old daughter that Spirit loves, but mouths a lot and climbs and jumps on a lot.  I assigned that when Spirit jumped on the daughter that as long as she was in a safe spot (not able to fall and get hurt) to cross her arms and turn away and call for an adult to remove her.  The daughter is to carry a stuffed toy at all times and if Spirit goes to mooch her to put the toy in her mouth instead; I do not want a child playing Dead Hand with the dog.  I assigned the adults to try Dead Hand, but if she got to pinching too much, to also use a stuffed toy and transfer the behavior to the toy.  The family is also working on Level 1 with her, once she knows to eat.

It's a lot of homework, but Spirit needs rules and boundaries and we are setting them now.  Once we have those set and she learns to communicate via Level 1 we'll be on our way to tackle the bigger goals of her training.

Why do I mention this?  Because I paid a high price for the tug-o-war game today.  I woke with a pinched nerve in the base of my skull on the left side. My neck and shoulders were very sore and very stiff from the jumping and tugging.  I was psychically exhausted and had a major migraine.  I struggled to get out of bed and bless Emma, Max, Malcolm and Dieter they all just watched me until I could get up.  With the migraine I was sick to my stomach and dizzy.  I was also touch, light and sound sensitive.

I got them fed, feeding Emma and Malcolm only half of their breakfast and noting all four dogs didn't have enough food for the week.  Emma's parents had promised to bring more food when they dropped her off and I informed them I didn't have enough food for her for the week, but they hand't returned with it yet and I wasn't even sure if I had enough to feed her dinner.  I knew I didn't have enough to feed my three dinner in the bin.

Sick to my stomach and ready to fall over, I called my son and informed him that our plans to meet on Friday to get food wouldn't work.  I needed food asap.  Walter, who'd called early this week had asked if I needed to go soon for dog food because he needed cat food.  I had told him yes, and we both thought we had enough to make it to Friday.  When I mentioned I needed to get food today, Walter stated he too didn't have enough food to feed his cat.  It worked out and Walter arranged to come in the afternoon to go with me to pick up dog food.

I staggered back into bed and crashed out for 4 hours.  I woke with the worst of the migraine gone and still feeling sick and exhausted.  At least I wasn't about to toss my cookies because of the pain.  The rest of the day, except for a required run for food for my boys, was spent cuddling with Emma or just relaxing in the house.  It was better I regain my strength and not loose my temper because of pain.  Emma was in a fabulous mood and enjoyed chewing bones, practicing asking to get in my lap and relaxing.

Emma's confidence really improved!

Our week comes to a close with Emma.  She's left for an adventure with her family in Montana and will return on Monday.  That meant today I wanted to get some more review on doing behaviors within a tight space and then spend extra time grooming her up for her trip.  If you remember, on Monday I had given her a bath, blown her coat dry with the new dryer and then brushed her out and trimmed her nails.  On each day of the week I endeavor to brush her, even though she finds it unpleasant, so that her coat doesn't get snarls in it and the loose hair from her Labrador side is removed from her coat.  I don't always achieve this goal, since my arms and hands can be extremely painful and her coat can become too long for me to easily brush out.  This week I managed to brush her out everyday, which left her coat soft and clean.

Today was the deep brush, which takes about 40 minutes to complete.  Malcolm had me giggling while I was doing it.  He had been laying in my recliner while I sat on the floor with Emma gently brushing out her coat, rubbing Show Shine into her ears, muzzle and tail to make the much longer hair easier to groom and then running through her coat with a tight toothed comb to get the extra snarls and loose hair out.  Malcolm poked her in the ear, kissed her face and at one point laid with his chin on her shoulders and lovingly looked me in the eyes.  I don't think Emma was terribly amused by this, but she stood silent while I brushed, teased and fluffed her coat.

I had woken tired and painful with the pouring rain and deep chill of the day.  I had struggled to get our day started and was running the best way to configure the x-pen to advance Emma's tight spot training and dreading the required house cleaning I had to do.  I hadn't touched my dishes all week and it looked, again, like a nuclear bomb had been set off.  I was just about to get up and do the dishes, so the video I made didn't make me look like a slob, when Max went into "someone's here" barking.

It was John, who was stopping in to see if I wanted him to bring out Yoda again for another training session and to inform me his old Husky was failing health wise.  He's 14 1/2 years old and Shiloh has had some health issues in the past.  He was in the ER the night before and John isn't certain how much longer they'll have them.  I feel for them.  The price of loving an old dog is loosing them one day and I am facing that myself as my boys age.

While I was taking with John I loaded the dishwasher and after he left a few minutes later I finished up the kitchen.  I have a very small kitchen, so looking like a nuclear bomb going off in it doesn't take much.  I then configured the x-pen like a octagon with a wide opening, setup the mat for Malcolm and started the training.  Remember, when you watch today's video, I am not feeling well.  I had been way overdone yesterday and today I am feeling better, but still flying on low fuel.  My timing is off and my ability to split my attention is poor.  Malcolm's getting up and coming to join the party has more to do with lack of reinforcement than anything else and is all my fault.

My observations of Emma as we trained pleased me.  Though still a little unsure, she's more confident in this training than the previous one in the week.  She's not as worried about the x-pen any longer, can handle other dogs nearby better and is more engaged overall.  Her latency is low, which is great, and she was able to try new things within the confines of the space I gave her.  I have yet to get to truly tight spaces, but this amount of space is working okay and once we revisit and see if she's really up and flying we'll make her space smaller and retrain again.

In the beginning, when Malcolm came into her space she went to move away and showed discomfort.  In the end, this only happened after she picked up the glove and tried to give it to me.  Her ability to work with her close improved and should continue to do so as her confidence improves.  I will not train her a brand new idea, such as a new task, with other dogs near, but now I can begin proofing with dogs near as a type of distraction.

After that we spent the day cleaning and grooming.  I groomed Emma after our training session and then Vanessa came over to work on the house.  She cleaned the living room floor and we then went into the bedroom and organized my closet.  Actually, Vanessa did and I told her what could be thrown and what I was keeping. She did a great job and it took the 2 hours she intends to help me around the house each week.

Emma spent most of that time out in the living room just hanging out.  When we would take breaks or just sat chatting at the end, Emma climbed in Vanessa's lap and got loves.  Malcolm, on the other hand, spent most of the time chewing on a piece of wood he brought in, putting his nose in everything and truly not being a big help.  Max showed him that the best way not to help is to be directly where the human was going and Malcolm learned the lesson well.

It was a quiet day, but a good one.  Emma made good progress on her lesson and is less sulky when I am grooming her.  In both Malcolm and Emma I am seeing improved self control, maturity and self entertainment.  Next week with Emma should be exciting, since we can return to task training again.  Malcolm will pick up on Level's training and improve his Go To Mat and Stay behaviors.

Malcolm & Emma Part 2

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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