Thursday, August 21, 2014

22 Months: Training - Days 346 - 349


Emma didn't arrive until Tuesday due to her handler sleeping late and Emma not being ready on time.  I had an appointment with Haute Paws Grooming for the boys and to train Pi and was due to arrive between 9:00 AM and 9:30 AM.  I received the call that Emma wasn't even on her way at 8:40 AM and told her family to keep her an extra day because I wouldn't be home to receive her due to my appointment schedule.

She arrived shortly before 10:00 AM Tuesday morning.  I again I had a full day planned.  My Mom and I are clearing out my garage so we can fix it and use it for proper storage.  I had spent the weekend sorting what we'd already removed from the garage and Mom had arrived early so we could clear out more of the contents and send them to my Mom's house for the upcoming yard sale we'll be doing.  I had already trained Malcolm and done my morning chores and now had to work with my Mom until the heat sapped both of us.  Since I would be doing lifting and carrying I knew my day was done.  I would be both exhausted and in pain by the time Mom and I was done.

I fed Emma when she arrived and called it a day.  Mom and I worked until Noon and Mom left with the truck loaded for bear.  I had to rest and take something for the pain, since the injury from my fall over a month ago is still bothering me.  After that I headed out to Spirit's appointment and on my return I was so wiped out I needed to laydown for a while to recover.  The day was over for all of us at that point.  I fed them when the house cooled and took a painkiller that night so I could sleep.  Emma received no formal training.


The painkiller wiped me out for a lot longer than I expected.  My afternoon appointment had been cancelled and that left me with just one appointment in the evening.  I worked with Emma on opening the bathroom door and light switch tasks.  Emma was able to pull open the bathroom door with it lightly closed, but needs more practice to get consistent on the amount of pressure she offers.  She is not one to put her weight into anything she does and it takes a lot of confidence building to get a consistent pull on a door to open it.  We have a ways to go still.

She is working the light switch on the wall.  To make it easier I have an extender on the switch.  She was able to turn on the switch 6 out of 10 times the first time we worked it.  The second time we got 8 out of 10 times and I was able to attach the cue by the third time we worked it and got 9 out of 10 times of her turning the light on.  It is time to work on her turning on and off the light on cue.

I do believe she needs the extendor to make the task easier.  The extender I am using is just a bit of tubing I cut to make hitting the switch easier.  Since she is just able to reach the switch, the extender gives her the length she needs for success when working a light switch.  The problem is, when she gets very excited she can knock it off right now.  I need to affix the extender permantly to my switch to see if that doesn't make it eaiser for her and Malcolm overall on working light switches.


Busy day today.  I worked with Emma on light switches today.  In the morning we worked on building distance for turning the switch on when cued.  At first I was directly beside her and slowly took one step at a time away from her until I was 5 feet away.  She was able to turn on the light 10 out of 10 times when I was beside the switch, but only 6 out of 10 times when I was five feet away.  I will continue to work both close and distance until I can cue her across the room and get a 9 out of 10 result.

In the afternoon we went for a walk.  She had no treats on the walk and ignored all dogs that barked at her, which included the Husky, Chocolate Labrador and Stompy Feet and his brother.  She never looked at the Chocolate Labrador or Stompy Feet and his brother, but she did react a bit to the Husky, who was a new dog on our walk.  She is now ready for a new route with a new set of dogs to build up her ability to walk by barking dogs on her walks.

We ended out day working the light switch.  She is having problems turning the light off when working the wall.  This has to do with height and the fact she pulled the extender free.  She did try using her paw and could turn off the light this way, but it seemed to confuse her about turning the light on and we went from 10 out of 10 times of turning the light on to 3 out of 10 times after the extender was off of the switch.

I will return to this task without distance and see if I can't affix the extender to the switch in a way that prevents her pulling it free when working it.


I must once again apologize, but I simply cannot remember what happened on this day.  I do know that Emma was doing okay with the 5 feet away on Thursday and it fell apart on Friday.  It stayed that way and my next blog post will discuss the issues I have faced with Emma and distance training for her final two tasks, but what exactly happened on this day is beyond my ability to recall.

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