Friday, December 28, 2012

15 Weeks: Training - Day 6

Emma and Max watch Victoria
as she sits just outside the office.
Emma has not had any formal crate training, so when bedtime arrives I pick her up and carry her to her crate and place her in it.  She has started to recognize our bedtime routine and starts to wind down as I lock doors, turn off the TV, shut down the lights and herd the dogs into the back bedroom.  She follows me around and watches my every move during this routine.  She's noted Attitude climbing the stairs to my bed and Max collapsing on his bed and Dieter standing before his crate, but she's not made the full connection that the fun day she's had is over.

Last night I opened Dieter's crate door and told him "Bedtime" and he hopped right in.  The moment she saw this she scurried out of the bedroom and went to sit before my recliner in the living room.  She doesn't want to be scooped up and crated and it's her only way of announcing the fact.  She does this a lot when something she doesn't enjoy happens.  She walks away and bounces just out of my arm length to avoid the unpleasant event happening; be it bedtime or grooming.


I don't call her to me, since I want her to happily and willingly run to me when I call her name or use the cue Come.  Instead, I deal with the toddler racing around the house yelling "no no no" as I try to capture her and wrangle her into bed for the night.

These first two weeks with Emma are short weeks due to holidays and I decided any formal crate work during the week would not be done.  She hasn't even learned shaping behaviors yet and until she gets the idea that what she does with her body makes me click, she won't get that she can interact with an object she's not interested in and get a food reward.

So, last night, after the house was shut down and the adult dogs had gone to their respective beds, I followed a tiny black ball of fluff through my house and finally captured her and carried her into bed.  I heard a huff of air as I locked the door and after several minutes of silence she gave me three sharp barks to protest the imprisonment of Emma.

She woke today at 7:30 AM.  I was not surprised by the late wake up call.  I had kept her up until almost 11 PM and had fed her whole 1/2 cup meal of food 15 minutes prior to bed to encourage a late start today.  Why?  I was exhausted from crying and grief and had a grief headache and wanted nothing more than a wake up call when the sun was shining and I had slept soundly for a few uninterrupted hours.

This morning she learned that she needed to wait for me to okay her exit from the crate.  That simple stop at the crate entrance made a huge difference at the door.  When I took an over the top, bouncing and clawing excited puppy and a running and wooing German Shepherd to my front door with a dancing and spinning Standard Dachshund in the mix the entire crew promptly sat at the front door and waited for me to open it and give them permission to exit.

She jerks when the door first opens, but now stops herself and looks up to me for the okay.  She can hold herself in place for a total of a count of one before all hell breaks loose and she tries to rush the door, but it's better than the running over the back of the German Shepherd and launching off the head of the Dachshund dash she used to take.

After that I had my morning coffee in the bed with the dogs curled around me and Emma discovered for the first time bed covers growl.  Dieter loves the morning routine of go out and potty and return for a curl and cuddle in Mom's covers on the bed.  Max enjoys a good ole fashion stretch out between the 9 pound grumpy lump by my pillows and the 15 pound lump coiled by my feet.  He learned the very first night in our house that those lumps growl and snarl and even explode into Dachshunds if you jump on them and he's very careful to spot and avoid them when he joins us on the bed.  Emma has not figured out the Dachshunds are under the covers.

She stepped on Dieter and put her full weight on him with her front feet and he growled under the covers.  She promptly stepped back in surprise and then sniffed the lump and started to paw and pounce on it.  Max to the rescue this morning.  He barked at her and told her to knock it off and she left Dieter alone after that.  A moment later she stepped on Attitude's lump and jumped back as it growled and then came and flopped against me.  Today, Emma discovered living creatures are under blankets and they don't like being walked on.

When I went to shower I crated her.  She's not old enough to be left unattended with three dogs and a cat and a house of stuff she shouldn't be in.  She protested briefly, but settled for the shower and waited quietly for me to let her out when I was getting dressed.  Her ability to wait for a reward, in this case freedom, has greatly increased.

She's a funny dog who loves to flop and paw with her paddle feet and I discovered it's time to trim those tiny nails.  She left marks on my arm playing with me and dug into my back a couple of times when I had it turned to her.  I yelped when she did this and her jumping on my back decreased, but we have a lot of work left with those feet flying and tackling humans when she is excited.

Today's Lessons:


Zen

Zen is a vital lesson to everything Emma needs to know and the most important first lesson for Emma to understand.  Zen is, as Sue Ailsby says, the foundation of civilization.  Without it she can't learn to sit for an extended period of time or do a down/stay.  She can't learn to leave food or people or anything if she can't contain herself.

Puppies are busy.  They mouth things, put their noses and paws in everything and can find trouble as quickly as a toddler can.  I agree with Sue Ailsby that if I am doing most of the work to contain and redirect the puppy she is not learning self control.  Zen teaches self control in tiny little understandable bites.

What amazes me about Zen is how it bleeds into everyday life after a tiny bite is learned.  Though dogs don't generalize well, Zen seems to be one of those few and rare cues and life lessons a dog can quickly and easily generalize.  Zen is the beginning of Leave It and the foundation of the entire Levels training program.  Emma is well on her way to applying Zen to her life.

I spoke with Emma's owner about Zen and where Zen was leading and said the cue Leave It could be used or a cue they felt more comfortable with.  The words applied to any cue don't matter.  Dana and Carol Brynes who own Diamonds in the Ruff taught their dogs Apples and Oranges for doing a spin left and a spin right.  The cue word is not the important part, but the understanding of what is being taught is.

Emma has not had the new cue "Manners" attached to her Zen behavior with the treats because she is still running up and down Chutes and Ladders with the beginning steps.  She's been introduced to the first three steps, but keeps loosing her self control and touching my hand and dropping back to the very beginning.  We may be stuck on this part of Zen for another week or more before I finally, reliably, am receiving a nose that is pulled away from my hand and can wait for a count of five before the click.  It is then, when I have 90% proficiency that I will tell her what she's been doing is called Manners.

It wasn't until I was seeing her offering over and over and over again a sit before I told her what she was doing was a Sit, and thus the same goes with Manners.  Once she has this tiny bite of leaving a treat alone in my hand, seen and unseen and knows both mean the same thing, Manners, will we move to covered and then uncovered on the floor.  Until she has that with her own kibble she will not be shown with toys, plates of food, her food dish and more.  Right now, she's figured out it has something to do with waiting for a very long second before I click and give her that kibble, but she doesn't know it in her bones yet.

But she is applying it more and more.  Wait while I make a sandwich and maybe I'll give her something.  Wait while I open the door and maybe she'll get to go out.  Wait while I change my clothes, speak to a person or feed another dog and maybe she'll get what she wants.

Emma is making that first connection in he brain that we have a contract and what the rules are within it.  She's figuring out if she gives me what I ask, she will get what she wants.  I am seeing the foundation of a life long communication start between her and I.  What a gift Zen is.

For this weekend I want her owners to work on Zen Steps 1-3 until she is proficient in them.  I want her to not touch their hand before they count to click.  If she reaches out with her nose, curl their hand away so she can't and then offer it again and if she stays away click and give her her kibble by dropping it on the floor between her feet.  Do this on a hardwood floor and a carpet.  Do it in the living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom until she can do it in all the rooms.  Do it in silence until she is 90% of the time not trying to touch their hand.  They'll know when she has it.  She gets this little dance and seems to puff her chest when she figures out what she can do to get that kibble away from you.

Once she is doing that, then build up time in one second increments.  If she touches your hand at the 1 second mark then back up and drop it for just not touching your hand the next time. If she makes it to 1 second, then go to two seconds and if she touches your hand, drop back to the start and build up again.  Keep running up and down the ladders rungs until she can do 5 seconds 90% of the time.  It is then she can learn what she is doing is called Manners!

But when they change the picture I want them to stop telling her.  When they go to opening their hand they are back at the beginning and not telling her what it is until she can wait, looking at the treat for five seconds.  It is then she can again hear that what she is doing is called Manners.  After all, it's all Zen!

Make sure everyone plays Zen with her for brief 10 to 15 kibble lessons and then give her a few minutes play break and work again on the lesson for 10 to 15 kibbles.  If she stops eating her kibble for training, don't go to something better, but stop training and give her a break and return after she's had time to get hungry again.  She'll work for her whole meal if you work in short, brief increments.

Sit

Emma is a Sit Master.  It's her default behavior.  If all else fails, SIT!  I have not paired the verbal cue with the action very much, but spent the past two days capturing sits and waiting until I can see her about to sit when she realizes that is what we are clicking for and then telling her what she is doing is called Sit.  She worked for half her breakfast that way and truly enjoyed it.  Her sit is clean and fast and she's happy to offer it.  It was about a 1/3 of the way into the Sit lesson before I started pairing the verbal with the action.  She isn't looking up to me to see the hand cue yet, but I have asked her owner to work on teaching her the hand cue over the next four days.

Emma does not have the Come Afters with Sit yet.  She hasn't been asked to Sit when I am on the floor sitting or laying down.  She doesn't understand Sit from beside or behind me yet.  She hasn't had to practice it while I was standing or sitting in my tub or on my bed.  She is in the beginning stages of the lesson, but she is doing well and will soon learn Sit does not mean you have to in front of the person to perform it.

Down


I tried to capture Down today, but Emma was stuck in Sit, so I decided to shape it instead.  It is her first real shaping lesson with me and she was starting to experiement with me to see if I really was clicking for her movements.  I didn't have the goal of a down in mind so much as a "you mean I can move and make you click" lesson instead.  I clicked for sitting, turning her head, lifting her paw, lowering her jaw, looking at the ground, sniffing the cat and anything else she did.  After a moment she went very still and did a little jerk of her body and I clicked.  Her head snapped around and she about jumped on the kibble.  A second later she threw herself to the ground and we ended the session with several treats and a bit of play.

Visitations

My friend Redd called me today and I told her about Amy.  I lost it on the phone and Redd said she would be right down.  Redd lives three houses down and so I put up Dieter in the front bathroom and tethered Emma and put Max in a sit by the front door.  After Redd got in and held me until I stopped crying I let Emma off the tether.

She lost her mind. She's met Redd before and really likes her, but she couldn't keep her feet on the floor.  Redd, bless her, insisted Emma get control of herself before she got any attention.  It lasted a whole two seconds, but it was worth every second of attention she got for it.

After that she went into puppy play mode and was playing with a toy Max had gotten for Christmas.  Max tried taking it from her, she from him and soon the two were playing take the toy.  Emma liked that game and at one point tried taking it out of Max's mouth.  This is Max's least favorite game and when he gave her the stink eye she dropped the toy.

A few minutes later she had it again and this time Max tried to take it from her.  She held on with her mouth and feet and laid on her side while he tugged her across the floor.  I could see him suddenly realize this was a bit fun and maybe the baby dog wasn't so bad.  A moment later he did his first head/nose bang on her shoulder - his way of starting play and she bound around the house in pure joy.

He's starting to play with her and she's figuring out how to play with him.  How wonderful to see.

Vet Visit

This is Emma's second time at her new vet and she was amazing.  Our first visit hardly anyone was there and Emma spent only a short time in a quiet lobby being fed lots of treats as she met Max for the first time.  She was worried and nervous on that visit.  On that visit the vet in the exam room gave her lots of treats and lots of pets and nothing painful or scary happened.

Today the lobby was a mad house.  One dog was in such pain it would scream and yowl off and on.  One was a 4 month old Coon Hound (very handsome boy) whom we sat next too and she nose touched with.  One was a very frightened Golden who had his back to the world and was cowering against his owner.  One was a braying Beagle who was far to exited about breathing.  Max settled at my feet and put his head down and Emma curled up in my arms and completely relaxed as she accepted affection from the lady with the yowling dog.

Her owner arrived and when I said, "Mom's here" her head snapped around and she got all wiggly in my arms.  She went to her Mom and relaxed, sniffing Max off and on and ignoring the chaos around her.  Her body was relaxed, her head up, and her confidence showing.

After the family with the Golden left before being examined a woman with a grumbly Boxer came in.  Emma was a bit worried at first, but after a glance at Max and seeing that her Mom and I were not worried, she settled on a chair between us and almost fell asleep before her exam.

The exam itself went fabulous.  She was relaxed and interested in the vet and the procedure   Since she had marked me up pretty good playing on the bed this morning I suggested we remove the tips of her claws so she wouldn't hurt her boy this weekend.  The vet pulled out liver cake and had her Mom feed it to her while she clipped her nails.  Emma barely noticed her nails were being clipped and munched on liver cake the whole time.  After her nails were done another liver cake was produced and she got her shots without a single negative reaction.

As we chatted she laid quietly on the table and watched us with total interest.  She hadn't minded the solution shot up her nose for one of her vaccines and didn't fight to hard on the de-wormer she was fed.  The vet said she could get off the table and we set her down.  At one point I looked down and she was laying quietly with her head down behind her Mom in a perfect mimic of Max laying with his head down behind me.

When we exited the exam room the place was packed with braying and barking dogs who were attempting to strike up a chorus.  Emma remained alert, interested and relaxed during the bark off.  She ignored the vet cat who jumped up a few inches from her and didn't mind the transfer from her Mom's arms to mine as the bill was paid.

Max, on the other hand, tucked under me and started to show stress signs.  Our last visit with Attitude had resulted in a Rottweiler attacking him in the lobby and the bark off was more than he could handle.  He had been fine earlier, but this chaos was more than his system was ready for.  I had the vet tech quickly pull out the liver cake and we stuffed his face for a few seconds and he relaxed.

Emma has strong positive associations with the vet office and enjoys her vet visits with little to no stress.  I am very happy to see that.  Since we mentioned to the vet she is a service dog in training for a child a de-worming schedule is set for her.  It was also mentioned that the family likes to travel and she's been placed on flea/tick/heartworm prevention.  Washington and Idaho do not have heartworm, but Oregon and other states do.  Since they travel, a pre-emptive strike now as a young dog is best for Emma and the vet thanked us for informing her of their travel habits and Emma's job.

Emma is off to a great start and I am truly amazed by her.  Max, a high strung dog by nature, would not handle some of the ups and downs Emma does as well as she does at her age.  On the other hand, Max has learned to handle stress by relying on my protecting him.  Their shared training is helping both dogs and Max is learning to chill with Emma while Emma is learning confidence from Max.  What a great relationship these two are sharing.

Observations

Emma is a confident puppy who quickly recovers from situations that make her unsure.  She has learned to trust me and enjoys her time at my home as much as she does at her owner's home.  Tethering her to me for a few days and having her follow me around has increased our bond and her ability to follow my lead.  It is clear she loves to learn and to play and though we don't always get a lot of new training in, she is learning constantly.

I use an electronic cigarette and have dropped it several times around her.  She has seen me ask Max to retrieve it for me and hand it to me.  Today I dropped it twice and she went to it, picked it up and carried it to me and put it at my feet.  Though she's not formally trained to retrieve, she is learning how to retrieve and bring things to me by watching Max.

She learned the cue "House", which means to go into the house, by following Attitude, Dieter and Max when I cued them.  She has learned to sit at the door and wait for release by mirroring them.  She's learning not all dogs play the same and is starting to ask "how do you play?" when she approaches a new dog.  She's learning basic dog manners from my three and as long as they are appropriate, I let them tell her when she's gone to far.

Max tends to get a little wound up when trying to start play, since he's not sure if he really wants to play  or just keep her from me, so when he gets too far on his GSD speak with her, I separate them by calling him over and giving him a bit of affection and then her a bit of affection.

She's becoming an operant dog.  She's learning through positive methods that she can communicate with me and I with her.  It's an amazing process to watch happen and I am enjoying it very much.  What amazing creatures dogs are.

Next week Emma and I will start our field trips and testing out of steps within the Levels book.

Emma - Level 1


Zen
Come
Sit
Down
Target
Step
3
2
3
1
1

Thursday, December 27, 2012

15 Weeks: Training - Day 5

Max and Dieter meet Sam and Meli
after Emma played with them.

Photo by Cherie Ekholm
When I started training Max a friend of mine, Amy Twitchell, pitched in and helped with his training.  She listened to what I needed when I needed a second person for any part of the levels training and would do exactly what I needed and would enjoy herself doing it.  She helped Max learn someone could sleep in my bed with me and it was okay.  We were like sisters and would lay laughing and giggling over jokes in bed like two sisters would when growing up.  She was my best friend, my sister from another mother and my inspiration for almost 30 years and today I was informed by her son Wesley that she passed away in her sleep last night.

It was 8 AM and I was just starting our day after an hour of enjoying a good snuggle with Ms. Emma after a wonderful night and her waking me up at 7:00 AM.  I was about to get her breakfast and start her training when the call came and my world crashed around my ears.

Emma found herself in a home of grief and frantic phone calls.  My son Walter had spent the night and woke to my crying out from the bedroom that Amy had died.  He went into his own form of grief and shock and watched as the dogs began racing around trying to figure out what was happening and Max move close to me and lean in to me.  A moment later I called my son Wayne and lost all control as I told him.  Ten minutes later Wayne burst through the front door and wrapped me in his arms and let me cry on his shoulder for almost 20 minutes.

It was afterwards that Wayne guided me into training the dogs and talked to his sister.  Rachael had been called by Walter, by my request, and told her.  She too was devastated and needed as much support as I did.  Amy had been like a mother to my children all of their lives and their loss was as deep as mine. Wayne said I was doing better with the distraction of my dogs and later told me that the dogs were helping me to recover.

Max has all day been very close to me and very protective of me.  He's wanted more contact today than he normally does and has been a fantastic support.  I actually, as a result of the news I received today, been unable to focus on anything more complicated than Zen with Emma and thus she's had little training today beyond that.

I had planned the night before for a play date today for her and contacted the person who was bringing her dogs and said to please bring them.  Emma simply didn't know or understand that something tragic happened in our home and a play date would be a good distraction for me and give her something productive to do toward her service dog training today.

Cherie arrived with Meli and Sam, two Bichons, and lunch.  Sam, who has a history of being reactive and nervous with other dogs, was fine with Emma while she was on lead and thus we let her off lead with him in the yard.  He was very comfortable with her (he also has a history of being good with puppies, go figure) and after her first nervous reactions to meeting yet another new dog she gained confidence and raced around the yard with them, though she didn't directly play with them.

After her play time was over, I put her in the house and brought out Max and Dieter to see if Sam would be okay with them.  He was remarkably comfortable with them and thus we introduced them to Attitude.  After that we all went inside and Emma curled up by my feet while Meli tried to spark Attitude and Max tried to spark Cherie.

The visit went very well and we even got in some training with a lot of dogs around Emma.  She enjoyed her time and took a hard nap after everyone left.

The only other training I got in with Emma today was capturing Sits while I was standing.  She's offering them more often, but I haven't yet shown her the hand cue for Sit while I am standing.  What she doesn't know yet is it is the same hand cue as Sit when I am sitting.  How surprised she'll be when she realizes she already knows it.

Tomorrow Emma will spend most of the day with me and then go back to her owners for four days.  She will end her day with me by going to the vet office and get her final puppy shots.

Today's Training:


Zen

Emma has started to figure out she doesn't need to touch my hand first to get a click for Zen.  She still has spots where she mugs my hand and we move back to the beginning and quickly work up to the next stage as she proves she's regained her control.  We worked up to my holding a closed hand before her nose for a count of 5 and then randomly worked on waiting for the click up to a count of 5 several times.  After she showed her self control was improving I opened my hand and let her see the treat and clicked for her not trying to take it from my hand.  We got to a count of 2 with an exposed treat several times.

I worked Zen with both Max and Dieter while Emma was un-tethered and found her personal self control for waiting for the treat ended when I tried to give the precious treat to another dog.  She was mugging, licking, jumping on my hand each time I tried to give a treat to another dog.  I decided it was time to work on a version of group Zen.

I started with Max and Emma.  They were close enough their paws were touching and their noses were almost touching.  I held the treat out in a closed fist and Emma mugged my hand.  Max waited patiently for Emma to pull away thinking, "I know this game" and when I clicked I treated both dogs.  In short order Emma and Max were doing wonderful treat in Closed Fist Zen.

Mind you, the treat was her kibble for breakfast, but she was so hungry she would have eaten cardboard if I had given it to her.  After we finished with Max, Emma practiced the same lesson with Dieter.  We had to again go through the mugging, licking and jumping process, but it was shorter and she was giving wonderful Zen with Dieter as well.

After that I fed Attitude some of her breakfast by hand while I turned away from Emma.  We did this until Emma had finished half of her breakfast and I saw she was tiring.

Emma has progressed nicely on the Zen lesson, but we are doing a lot of Chutes and Ladders with Zen right now.  If she touches my hand when it's open we return to Closed Fist Zen.  If she licks my hand when it's closed we go back to Pull Away and get a Click Zen.  Each rinse and repeat on the Zen lesson has strengthened her Zen skills and her overall ability to control herself in her daily life has taken another leap forward.

She's able to wait while I open the door and get permission to go out most of the time.  She is able to allow another dog out or in without rushing the door most of the time.  She can wait patiently while I work another dog for short periods and her her overall ability to wait for something has improved.

Sit

I mostly captured Sits today.  I was talking with a friend on the phone and waited for Emma to sit and then toss a treat so she would have to get up and get it.  I finished the second half of her lunch this way.  I captured Sit off and on all day long while I was standing with her rewards being either her kibble or a bought of affection.

Emma is offering Sit as a default behavior at least 70% of the time now.

Four on the Floor

Emma loves people and when she looses her brain she jumps on people and mugs them.  Though cute at 15 weeks of age, it will shortly stop being cute when she's 50 pounds.  The standing rule here is no affection if she is jumping and to turn and walk away when she does.  Her jumping continues, but her self control is improving.  To get the attention she wants she'll stop herself and sit when she realizes she won't get any affection until all four feet are on the floor.

Emma got to practice a lot of Four on the Floor today.

Vistitations

Today Emma got to meet Walter, Wayne and Cherie as well as two dogs, Meli and Sam.  Emma did not jump on Wayne when he arrived; this is remarkable since we only practiced zero jumping on Wayne one other time and she seems to have remembered today.  She tended to jump on Walter some, but quickly stopped and sat when he gave her the stop hand sign.  She lost her mind for a bit with Cherie, but with the stop hand sign gained control and would sit and then run off.

She was worried about meeting another new dog today, but quickly recovered and then played while they were in the yard.  When she's in play mode she tends to do a running jump and bang into people's legs.  I will work on her not doing this as we continue our outside play.

With the extra activity today and the side by side training, Max and her are improving their relationship.  Max last week didn't want her touching him, but this week doesn't flinch if she brushes under his chin or poke his nose with hers.  Though he doesn't want a lot of contact with her, he's learned she's not going to burn his fur off and is beginning to start some play behavior with her.  It won't happen for a few more weeks, but soon he and Emma should be playing together according to mutually agreed upon rules.

She's accepted that Attitude doesn't want to play and is very gentle and careful with her.  Attitude has set the rules of appropriate interaction with her and Emma has read them and agreed to them.

She's stopped jumping on Dieter and is trying other types of play to engage him. Dieter is setting his rules of play, but hasn't decided he'll play with her yet.  She did see Dieter have way to much fun playing Butt Bump and Poke Your Ribs with my Nose with Meli and has since tried a bit of that play with Dieter.

Dieter, by the way, totally enjoyed Meli's play style and played for almost 30 minutes with him.  He was tail wagging and happily playing the entire time!  Nice to see.


Emma - Level 1


Zen
Come
Sit
Down
Target
Step
3
2
3
1
1

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

15 Weeks: Training - Day 4

Attitude peers at the interloper in my lap.
Emma returned today for training.  She spent the last four days with her owners and had a busy weekend, which will be updated and added to the blog once they send me the information.

Shortly after arriving and getting over the excitement of returning to my home, my son Walter and I started a round of two person Come Game.  She's not too certain about the game yet, but she's starting to get the idea.  Walter is spending the night again and we agreed to work on the Come Game with her again in the morning.

Attitude and Emma help me update Emma's blog.
We stayed about 2 feet apart and worked on making noises and calling "puppy puppy" to her in an excited voice to get her to turn and return.  She quickly came to me, but would sit between my feet and wait for Walter to place the treat between his feet before going to him.  I could see her thinking, "Is it worth my time to leave the one person I know feeds me treats?"  and then she'd bound over and eat the treat and turn right to me and return for her reward.  It's happening and soon she'll love the Come Game as much as my three dogs do.

I have to say the owners did a fantastic job of keeping up on her training.  She has Sit down nicely and is even showing signs of understanding it from a standing position.  Her down has improved by 100%.  She's doing a nice down and no longer needs to be lured.  Though I am only using hand cues currently, her latency is decreasing markedly and she's clearly understanding and offering the behaviors with joy. I love her tiny head jerk of excitement when I click. She's cued into the clicker and when she sees it and the food bowl come out she's very excited about training.

Do you think Attitude and Emma care how
hard it is to type like this?
The owner said she got up to 5 seconds holding her hand out during Zen and I was very pleased to hear this.  I started Zen and saw the very cleaver bop and pull away chain many dogs develop when they first learn Zen.  What a fantastic thing to see!  She's figured out that if she touches your hand and then pulls away she'll get a reward.  The chain is easy to fix and I can clearly define what she's being paid for, but I loved seeing she was getting the idea and thinking.

I have a friend in town and we setup to meet.  For Max this meant he could get out of the house for a bit without the puppy and work.  It seems to help him to work at least a little without the puppy to reassure him he's not been replaced by the attention sucking monster that comes into the house.  He has been very good with her and very patient, but I have also been very careful to give him rewards for letting me work with her and plenty of one on one time where he gets training or play with me without her.  Today it was work and he was good with that.

Honestly, Attitude and Emma are just sleeping.
Walter stayed with her while Max and I went to a restaurant to meet my friend.  He stayed with her the entire two hours I was gone and he reported she was fine and didn't have any issues while I was away.  She was excited when I came home and happy to meet my friend who came with me.  She got to practice Four on the Floor with her and got plenty of attention when she had all four feet on the floor. She's learned when I give the stop sign to her that she is to sit and wait for affection.  It's harder when people are first coming in, but she's learning and I am glad to see that.

I took my friend out to let her two dogs play in the yard alone and we chatted for a while.  We then put up her older, dog reactive dog and kept her younger, dog friendly dog in the yard and let Emma meet him. Meli was a perfect gentleman and was very gentle with her while she got over her surprise of meeting a new dog.  They wandered the yard together for about fifteen minutes and by the end she was checking him and very confident and relaxed.  We plan to have a daytime romp session with the two of them and see if Emma can't enjoy a good play run with a dog.

After a bit of tether time on the floor by my feet she is now curled up in my lap resting.  I have a mini Dachshund (Attitude) draped over my left arm and Emma draped over my right.  It's really very cute and warm.

Emma's Lessons Today:

Come Game

Walter and I worked on the Come Game with Emma today.  Since all of my dogs are very into the Come Game the trick was to keep Emma involved without being overshadowed.  We did this by having Max do a down and get off and on rewards for staying and both Dieter and Attitude sitting on either side of Walter and getting off and on rewards for not interfering.  It worked well and Emma started to move between us at a distance of 2 feet.

She is very comfortable coming to me when we do this game and not so much going to Walter.  She would quickly turn to me and look between my feet, but would turn and sit between my feet and wait for Walter to set a treat down before leaving me.  Tomorrow I am going to ask Walter to not show her the reward before her leaving me, but put the treat down when she makes the first movement toward him.  She'll need to be worked up to thinking that both people playing have a reward for coming, but she's starting to think that already.

We did touch her collar each time she came to us to begin the process of call and capture without her shying away.  I waited to touch her collar until she picked up her treat, which added value to the contact of my hand to her collar.  She is very relaxed and calm when we touch her collar.

Emma is not ready for a long distance Come Game, but she is starting to learn the basics of the game and should soon be ready to increase distance.

Zen

Emma understands the basic concepts of Hand Zen, though she hasn't gained a lot of out of the training environment experience and control, she is starting to show self control in other areas of her life.  She has developed the bop the hand and pull back behavior chain, which is a first inkling of learning process and good to see.  I can see the wheels turning in her little head and she's very proud of herself as she masters a new nuance of the lesson.

Tonight I tried removing and representing my hand, but she kept touching my hand, forcefully, with her nose.  I changed to curling my hand away as she moved to touch it and she started to turn her head or drop her chin as I offered my hand.  I offered it both curled fingers up and curled fingers down.  I offered it with both sides and with my thumb sticking out a bit.  Each time I change the orientation of my hand she went back to licking and/or sucking on my thumb or fingers, but quickly got the idea the position of my hand made no difference to the lesson.

She will soon work up to the five seconds wait between my presenting my hand and then the click like she has with her owner.  Tonight we made it up to 2 seconds in each presentation position of my hand.  I am quit pleased with her progress.

We are working on group lessons as well, though Emma does not have the self control for them untethered currently.  When I was training her this evening I would train the other three dogs between her sessions.  She was all over my hands, in their faces and even on my end table sniffing the bowls of food, so I had my son tether her to him and release her only when it was her turn.  She quickly started to settle and wait quietly for her turn while the others worked.

On her last Zen session she was so close to Max that they could touch noses and they were touching paws.  Both dogs were so involved in learning they didn't mind sharing the same space and did very well working so close.  I will continue to work the two of them like this to improve their "other dogs in my space" tolerance by making the situation a chance at treats and good things happening.

Sit

Emma's sit has zero latency 80% of the time.  I am still not certain what she is cuing in on, so I am working on minimalizing the cue to help her better understand it.  Tonight I worked on Sit while I was sitting and tomorrow I'll work on Sit while I am standing.  I have asked her randomly for Sit for affection, which she enjoys and offers willingly.

I have not fully attached the verbal cue, but tonight when I told Max Sit before letting him out, she also sat without hesitation.  I want to work on Sit while I am sitting and Sit while I am standing while facing me and next to me before adding the verbal cue.  I will also begin taking her into different rooms to teach her this week.

Emma understands Sit and uses it as a tool out of her toolbox to gain affection, food and life rewards.

Down

Emma's down has improved 100%.  It is clear her owners worked very hard with her over the four days they had her.  She does Down now with a hand cue while I am sitting without little hesitation or latency.  She still has to think about it, but she's now just laying down and not doing her little pony paw and body slam to the floor she was doing last week.  I can see she has to think about the cue, but her latency is shortening each time we work the lesson and she's beginning to offer Downs for food, affection and life rewards.

I will work on Down while I sit and stand this week and will work in different rooms to increase her understanding of the cue.  I have no plans to attach the verbal cue to the behavior this week.

Visitations

My son Walter is visiting for two days and Emma is enjoying her time visiting and training with him.  I had a friend come into town and we met at a local restaurant to visit.  I asked Walter to baby sit Emma while I was out.  Emma was relaxed and calm during my abscense and excited to see me when I returned with my friend.

My friend Cherie stopped in to visit Emma and my other dogs.  Like Walter, she helped Emma practice Four on the Floor for attention.  Emma was very happy and confident when she met my friend and enjoyed the affection she received.  She was very excited when she first met my friend and we had to use the leash to stop her from jumping until she got control of herself.

Cherie had both of her dogs, Sam and Meli, with her and after letting them play in my yard by themselves we put up Sam so Emma could meet Meli.  Sam is a dog aggressive dog and we don't want Emma afraid of other dogs, so Sam went back to his crate in Cherie's car and Meli remained in the yard.

Meli is very good with other dogs and was a perfect gentleman when he met her.  He was gentle and gave her time to get used to him.  At first she came to Cherie and I for reassurance Meli was okay and after a while relaxed and wandered the yard with him.  Cherie and I both agreed Emma should have a second meeting so she can relax and learn to play with new dogs and so Meli is returning tomorrow for a mid-day play date.

Emma - Level 1


Zen
Come
Sit
Down
Target
Step
2
2
3
1
1

Friday, December 21, 2012

14 Weeks: Training Day 3

Emma watches Max while he sleeps on the treadmill.
The quiet day I planned for Emma worked and when bedtime arrived she only put up a minor protest about going to sleep for the night.  After trying to tuck her in (she kept trying to leave her crate instead) I gave up and turned on her heart beat dog and closed the crate and began the final steps of getting ready for bed.  She was quiet for a few minutes as I brushed my teeth and washed my face, but the moment I pulled back my covers she cried out and banged the crate door.  It was more of a "I hate you!" with a door slam Teenage Pout protest than the Prison Riot we'd had the night before and it only lasted for about twenty seconds before she settled with a soft whimper and promptly went to sleep.

She slept until 5:50 AM and woke me with a very clear "ah hem" sound which told me she needed to urinate.  The night before I had tethered and placed her on a mat by my chair with a toy while I played with Max by tossing his ball down the hall. It had been around 8 PM when I made her settle for a bit before bed (again, to keep her from winding up and then proclaiming foul when bedtime arrived) and tethering her satisfied two things I needed at that time.  First, it is unfair for Max to have a puppy chasing him around the house during his all time favorite game and one-on-one time with me.  Second, I needed to limit her water intake so she wouldn't be roused in the middle of the night by a full bladder.

She enjoyed the quiet time at my side and the last little bit before our last potty run she spent in my arms in the chair with the Dachshunds.  We did our potty time without any off lead playtime before bed and I let her follow me around the house while I shut down the TV and lights.  It took Max about a month to recognize that routine and begin to wind down for the night as I followed a set routine for bedtime.  She will get it soon and start thinking sleep when she sees me start the process.

She's promptly urinating when on lead and enjoys the reward of either a moment of playtime while still on lead or being released to run around the yard.  This morning, as I stood in my untied boots and pajamas, I had no desire to wait for playtime with her, so instead scooped her up and brought her into the house after she finished.  I carried her into the bedroom while praising her for urinating so quickly and placed her in the bed with me.

I was still tired and had wanted about another hour of sleep, so I curled her against me and she napped with me until we started our day.  She enjoyed the personal one-on-one snuggle as much as playing in the yard and for the remainder of the day was quick with getting her business done so she could play.

She loves racing around the yard and I try to give her two or three times where she gets about five to ten minutes of playtime in the yard without the adult dogs.  She's too rowdy for Attitude's health and Dieter's age at this time. She's jumped on Dieter a couple of times and he's not happy about it, but each time he tells her to stop she does and gently sniffs him and puts a paw softly on him.  It won't be long before she adjusts her play style to what Dieter will enjoy and the two will be able to play together.

Max on the other hand is uncertain about the racing black bullet in our yard.  He's started herding her and trying to nip her hip.  Though I agree each adult dog has a right to tell her not to jump all over them and be a pest, he does not have the right to tell her she can't play in the yard.  The solution has been to keep him on lead and feed him super high value treats when she's off lead and he's in the yard with her.  If she's on lead he is allowed off lead and I keep her from jumping on him.  It won't be long before he's adjusted to a playful running dog around him.

I believe the lessons Emma is getting about how to play with different ages, sizes and types of dogs is important.  I also believe for Max it is important for him to relax when a dog is having too much fun by running around and just let it happen.  Overall, the group is doing well together.

I keep Emma tethered to me with a hands free leash for a large part of the day. She's already learning to walk nice on lead with me when I move.  She's learned she can't cross before me and can't wrap the leash around me.  She's learned to settle by my feet when I stop to do something or sleep when I sit and work on the computer.  I give her breaks from being tethered and let her play or rest between training sessions.

In the morning, when I shower, I tether her to Dieter's crate.  The first time I did  this she protested the entire time, but the second time she saw Max enter the bathroom and collapse and wait for me to finish my shower and she did the same.  Learning to be tethered and remaining calm and quiet is important.

Today's Lessons:


Zen

Emma is truly starting to understand Zen now.  She still climbs on me, but each time it lasts a bit shorter and she's starting to focus more on the lesson.  She's at that border point of understanding she's making me click and feed her and I can see the wheels turning in her head.  She's starting to think and starting to experiment with me to see what exactly I am asking of her.  We worked on Zen for shorter periods this morning, breaking her two minute training sessions with training Max the same lesson with his breakfast.

This seemed to help her.  The more she watched him perform the same lesson the faster she got it.  When I did her second two minute lesson on Zen she was very focused and bopped my hand only half the time.  I could see the light bulb go on in her head and started to remove my hand if she bopped it with her nose first and then represent it.  It took three times of my doing that before she sat very still and then looked at the floor.  Smart girl.

Sit

Emma understands Sit, but is not fluent in it.  I use Sit for a lot of things in the house.  Since she is a jumper and paws and bounces off of people who visit, we are working on Sit as a default when greeting people.  She is required to Sit and wait until released before going outside.  She is asked to Sit off and on throughout the day. Sit is one of the most used skills when working and I want Sit to be on her brain when she falls asleep.

Since she learned Sit when I was sitting, I removed the verbal cue and started again when I was standing.  Since my back hurts when I bend over, I wanted to remove the mighty lean required to get her to sit when cued by hand, so I started capturing a sit, giving the hand cue and treating her.

In short order she learned two separate hand cues for the same behavior.  If I put out my hand in a stop sign motion, she recognizes this means to sit and calm down.  If I give the standard hand cue for sit she thinks on it and half the time right now does it.  That's okay, we'll get there.

I also started taking Sit from the living room to the office, kitchen and bedroom to improve her understanding.  What this means is I am working on Come Afters and long before she has the verbal cue in all situations she'll have seen it in 20 or 30 different positions.

Down

Emma is so funny when she does a down.  She rears up like a pony, paws the air and then throws herself to the ground.  Sometimes she cocks her head to one side and then paws out with one hand and flops on the ground.  The most common thing I see right now with the Down cue is a small head staring at my hand and then interest fading and her turning to wander off.

I just don't have the bend to convince her to do a down by crouching near her, so I decided to use mentoring to achieve my goal.  Calling Max over, I pulled out his breakfast and started Puppy Push Ups with him.  Sit and Down repeatedly with lots of rewards.  Normally Max hates Puppy Push Ups, but this morning every part of the process was clicked and he was soon fully evolved in the game.  The great part was, next to him was a puppy doing the same thing with the same cues!

After a moment I pulled out everyone's breakfast and had a line of dogs doing Puppy Push Ups.  Attitude, who isn't feeling well due to failing health, wasn't really into the game and each time I cued her Emma would throw herself to the ground.  I clicked every time Emma threw herself down and treated both Attitude and Emma.  In the end, Emma was starting to look at the hand cue and I could see wheel turning in her head.

Target

Emma enjoys this lesson.  I put my hand out and she slammed her nose into my palm!  What a smart girl.  She hasn't had more than three Target lessons and yet here she was telling me she's got the idea.  I was able to start using the verbal cue Touch for this lesson and got in ten Touch cues before she spotted herself in my floor to ceiling mirrors and froze.

The evil black puppy was being rude and staring at her and our lesson ended with her barking at the rude puppy.  I laughed and she looked at me, so I tossed her a treat.  Each time she looked at the evil puppy I tossed a treat at her feet, which she promptly picked up and ate.  After three kibbles she relaxed and started trying to get the puppy to play; funny thing, that puppy was trying to get her to play too.  A lot of laughter was had by all.

Name Game

Emma is starting to whiplash turn when I say her name, as long as she's not highly distracted.  She looks up when I say her name and has started moving to me when I speak to her.  She's gained so much confidence in the past three days and I love watching it happen.  I will continue to pair fun things, such as affection, play and treats with her name.

Her name will never be used as a correction.  Her name should always mean something good, so when I caught her feet up on my end table I just said, "Ah ah" and then gently removed her and praised her.

Visitations

My son Wayne came to visit today.  He is not a dog person and didn't want to interact with her.  I appreciate I have one person in her life that doesn't want to be mugged by cuteness and so tethered to me and kept her from jumping on him, though he allowed her a sniff of his shoes and then went to sit and talk to me.  She stayed at my side and watched him with interest, her body relaxed and calm.  I praised her for being so good and was very happy when she curled up at my feet and fell asleep during our visit.

I had to drive my brother to pick up our mother's Christmas gift tonight, so I asked my God Daughter, Tiffy, to watch Emma while I was away.  Emma loves Tiffy and lost her mind when Tiffy came over.  She jumped all over her and couldn't contain herself.  We took the time to calm her and finally settled her in Tiffy's lap before I left.

I gave Tiffy instructions on her care; this was Tiffy's first "babysitting" job and a very important one.  Emma is not ready for a trip to the mall, especially right before a holiday.  She is not ready to wait for an hour in my van while we shop and she certainly isn't ready to be left alone at home for 3 hours in her crate.  In the past week she left her known home at the breeders to stay for two days at her owners to spend three days at my home.  That is a lot of upset in only a few days and I didn't want to add to it by leaving her alone in my home for a long period.

I told Tiffy to keep her on lead, to keep her from mugging the Dachshunds and to enjoy watching TV.  I told Tiffy what to expect when her mom calls on my phone (my TV says one name, my phone's caller ID says another) and that the only number to answer was her mother's.  I said if I needed to relay a message to her I would call her mother.

Tiffy was only three houses from her own, her mother called her every 10 to 15 minutes to check on her and she only had one dog she really needed to watch.  When I returned Tiff was in a serious babysitter mood telling me how she did, that she took Emma out but Emma didn't potty and the one time she left Emma's sight to use the bathroom that Emma ran to her when she called her name after she got out of the bathroom!  What a great babysitter Ms. Tiffy was!

According to Tiffy, Emma was a bit worried when I first left (remember, I have been her security and life for 3 days), but that she relaxed quickly and enjoyed her time with Tiffy by sleeping in her lap for a while and then getting down to play with a toy in the living room.  What a wonderful report to hear.

Emma was excited to see me return and was in high spirits.  I took her out and she promptly urinated.  I thank Tiffy and paid her for her job - which I told her would be regular when I couldn't take Emma with me and needed her watched.

After Tiffy left I tried to do some training with Emma, but she wasn't focused enough.  Instead, I decided to use this final meal of the day to hand feed her.  It is something I did with Max and it seemed to improve his bond and food orientation.  She enjoyed eating from my hand and finished all but a few kibbles of her final meal.

In all, this past three days has managed to start the communication between Emma and I.  She's learning how to communicate with humans and I with her.  She's learning she must wait to get something, be it food or playtime outside.  She's learning she can do something with her body and make me click and feed her.  She's learning to think and I can see the little wheels grinding behind those brown eyes.

This first three days have been a pure joy and I look forward to next weeks training sessions.

I sent her home with instructions to start Level 1 all over from the beginning in the home.  Even though she achieved a lot here, she hasn't there and the new location and new people will add a new dimension to her learning.  She doesn't know she can communicate with them like she can with me and this next four days in their home will result in her learning the same things she learned here.

I asked that she not get attention or affection until all four feet are on the floor and they continue her door training of waiting for her to sit and get released before exiting any outside door.  I would also suggest they use the tether method to help her learn to pay attention to them and keep track of her.  She's busy and I turned around many times to find her taste testing something, be it a leaf or a a bit of fluff, and know that on busy moments one cannot pay enough attention to an infant dog.

Emma - Level 1


Zen
Come
Sit
Down
Target
Step
1
1
3
1
1

Thursday, December 20, 2012

14 Weeks: Training - Day 2



I remember the first dogs I ever crated to help house train them.  One was a German Shepherd puppy named Gypsy and the other was a Cocker Spaniel puppy named Scamp.  Both were purchased at the same time.  Gypsy was bought from a backyard breeder and was sickly and needed to go outside every 20 minutes to relieve herself.  Scamp was purchased from a local pet store that specialized in Puppy Mill puppies.

My housemates at the time were my partner, my ex-husband and our combined children; five of them.  The first night I placed the puppies in their respective crates after sending the kids off to bed, my ex-husband headed downstairs to his room and my partner went to bed.  I told them I would deal with the puppies.  Both puppies rattled their tiny tin cups against the bars of their jail cell protesting their innocence and screaming for a lawyer; I played Diablo on the computer next to their crates.

Gypsy quieted first, after almost 10 minutes of protest, and fell asleep until her body woke her with her need to go outside.  Scamp continue to protest and at one point both my partner and ex-husband came to see why I wasn't dealing with his screams.  I explained that he couldn't come out until he was calm and like any toddler whose been put to bed after an eventful day, he was protesting due to sheer exhaustion.  It took him 20 minutes to quiet and then he slept until 2 AM and simply whined twice to let me know he needed out.  I would open their crate, give them a soft rub of the jaw or muzzle and then quietly close the crate every 10 minutes; I simply didn't remove them from the crate until they'd calmed down.

For the next two months I sat up with both puppies and waited for their bodies to wake them and tell them they needed to relieve themselves.  I would quietly remove them from their crates, take them outside and let them urinate and/or defecate and then return them with gentle, calm praise back to their crates.  Both dogs not only grew up with no fear of their crates, but were the best house trained dogs I ever owned.

Yesterday was a busy and full day for Emma.  She was over tired and over excited when bedtime came.  She didn't potty on our last trip outside and wanted to play in that same frantic way a toddler does when they don't want to go to bed.  I went through the shutdown routine for the household and quietly put her into her kennel for the night.  With Max and Attitude stretched out on my bed, Dieter tucked away in his crate and the cat hiding (she still hasn't forgiven me for the foreign invader in her house) I finished up with brushing my teeth and taking my night pills to the sounds of tin cups raked against bars and emphatic protests of innocence.

I settled on the bed and turned on a Castle to watch while I waited for her to settle in.  I watched the time and would have gotten up and given her a bit of reassurance if she needed at the ten minute mark, but she didn't last that long.  The protests changed from Prison Riot loud to Teenage Pout in less than five minutes and Teenage Sulk by ten minutes.  I knew then, if I got up and gave her attention we'd reset, so I let her have her occasional Toddler Fit and waited a bit longer.  By the end of fifteen minutes she was sound asleep. Thankfully I didn't have other people in my house telling me to quiet the puppy; just three dogs who ignored her along with me and slept through the ruckus.

At midnight her body woke her and she whined at me.  I waited a bit to see if it wasn't a "I had a bad dream whine" but instead a "I have to pee" whine.  There is a difference, as I learned from my very smart Gypsy years ago.  Once she realized I would react to her movements in the crate she would fuss at me for a few minutes when she "had a bad dream" and expected freedom.  Once she realized I wouldn't fall for it she would stay quiet through those moments and would only alert me to when she needed out.  Emma is smart like Gypsy was.  Emma would quickly pick up a bit of fussing or whining or protesting could free her and her lovely crate behavior would end.

She fussed at me for several minutes, which told me this was a "I need to pee" whine and I quietly removed her from her crate, carried her outside and put her down.  Once she urinated I picked her up and carried her back into the house and put her back in her crate.  There was a brief whimper of protest, then she curled up and went back to sleep until 6:30 AM when my alarm went off.

Since she had such a busy day yesterday I have decided she needed a quiet day today.  I am working on Level 1 behaviors from Sue Ailsby's Training Levels: Steps to Success book.  In the morning I pick two of the behaviors to work on for a split lesson, two more for the mid day lessons and finally the last two for the evening lesson.

Today's Lessons:


Zen

Emma is starting to truly understand Zen now.  Since she didn't eat well yesterday, she woke today ravenous and ready to train.  She used half of her breakfast for Zen this morning.  Her nose bop behavior chain is developing, but she's still showing a bit of uncertainty with the whole lesson, so I am not correcting it until she understands the basics of the lesson.

She's very excitable and jumps up on people a lot.  During our training she would jump up and put her face in mine, or hug my arms or hang on me; my solution was to wait her out and click for her feet touching the floor.  Emma has not figured out why I am clicking when she jumps down, but she's starting to hang on me less and focus more on the lessons the more I do this.  This is a form of Zen; it's people Zen and she needs to learn that as well.

Sit

Emma is now throwing sits at me.  We practiced Sit while on leash while I was seated today.  She quickly got the concept and would throw the Sit after getting her kibble I tossed on the floor.  Since I could see her about to sit I started saying the word as her bottom was going down.  Emma is now practicing the cue Sit whenever we go outside, when she greets a person and any other time I can while not formally training. Emma has a good basic understanding of Sit.

Emma is also using Sit as a default behavior.  Whenever in doubt, Sit!  It's a wonderful thing to see and a clear sign it's something she has in her toolbox already.  I have started teaching a default Sit when greeting people to prevent her from jumping on them.

Down

Emma is uncertain about the down hand cue.  I have lured her a couple of times and then tried the cue without a lure and switched back and forth until I could see she was thinking and working out the cue.  She started to throw herself to the ground once she started to get the cue.  I ended the lesson when she appeared tired.  Emma will need to continue to work on the hand cue at this time.

The evening down lesson was a disaster.  Emma was ready for a lesson, wanted the food, but was playful and distracted.  Attitude, Dieter and Max were all hungry and came in to sit with us and work on getting food also; this was too much of a distraction for poor Emma.  Then, to make life harder on the poor girl, Victoria came out of hiding and tried to join the clicker party!

I tried to send everyone away, get Emma's focus back and recover the lesson - but alas, all was lost.  She and I are not communicating well on the Down cue and I think I may have to take her into the office with the door shut and work with her without any distractions at all to accomplish this lesson.

Tomorrow we'll focus a bit more on Down and try different ways of convincing the other dogs to stay away while I train her.

Come Game

Emma enjoys the Come Game and is starting to offer turns to me before I make noises to catch her attention.  She understands treats will be between my feet and is getting better at chasing and finding treats I toss across the floor.  She enjoys the game, but has only played the one person version.  This weekend I will ask the family to re-teach her the Come Game from the beginning with two people in the house and build up her recall skills.

Emma still has no recall at this time, but she's starting to notice when I make noises at her and look at me when playing.

Name Game

Emma enjoys the name game and is starting to look at me when I say her name.  I have set aside 20 kibble which are used solely for saying her name and giving them to her.

Target


Emma is a foot first dog!  She loves to use her feet.  She was bopping my hands with her feet, and then putting her paw there and holding it.  If it wasn't for the fact I was working on nose targeting I would have ended tonight with a perfect High Five.  Maybe tomorrow evening we'll just work on a trick to teach her and teach her a Shake and High Five in the evenings.  She does love to offer her feet!

Visitors

Emma had four visitors today.  My neighbor and her daughter came by after breakfast to visit.  Emma enjoyed meeting them and they helped me teach her Four on the Floor rules.  They would not give her any attention until she was seated and had all four feet on the floor.  If she jumped up on them, they turned away from her and stopped paying attention to her.  Once she put her feet on the floor they turned back to her and praised her.  It is a lesson she needs with all people at this time, since she is a jumping expert.  Though cute at 14 weeks of age, it will not be at 6 months or later.

The second two visitors were strangers who came to give me a pamphlet.  I put her on lead while I spoke to them through an open door and had Max in a sit beside me.  She was curious, but calm while I spoke to them and didn't try to leave my side to greet them.

Emma - Level 1

Zen
Come
Sit
Down
Target
Step
1
1
3
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Emma will need to work on Come Afters for all behaviors. I have enrolled Emma in a Puppy Kindergarten class which will start at the beginning of the second week of January.  I look forward to her first group class.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

14 Weeks: Training - Day 1

Emma held by my son Walter
Emma is a Labordoodle puppy with big shoes to fill.  She was adopted by her family to become their son's service dog.  She arrived on the evening of December 18th, 2012 at my home to begin her training.  Attitude and Dieter greeted her with friendly curiosity and though at first Emma was a bit worried, she quickly warmed up to them and began to explore the house.

Her first night was too exciting to think about eating or using the great outdoors.  She wanted to put her nose in the other dog's bowls and would occasionally lap at her softened kibble and then wander off.  In the end she ate less than half of her dinner, but I wasn't terribly concerned.  It can take up to 3 days before a dog becomes comfortable eating in a new home and I knew she wouldn't starve to death before she gained an appetite.

I also wasn't terribly worried about her not urinating or defecating before bedtime, since it can take up to 24 hours before a dog or puppy relaxes enough to do either.  She was too excited about the new smells, the new friends and the new place to really do much more than settle in.  I did try to play the come game with her since my son was visiting, but she was too distracted for even that.

By 9pm we curled up in my bed together while I watched Rizzoli and Isles and then I put her in her kennel for the night.  She settled in without complaint.  At 4am she gave a mighty bark from her kennel and woke the whole house up.  Remember, she hadn't gone to the bathroom since before coming to my house; she suddenly realized she was going to explode.

I let her and Max out together and watched as she quickly went to the driveway and urinated.  I praised her and let her rush around the yard for a couple of minutes before calling her in and putting her into her kennel again.  She woke the household again at 7:30am with another mighty bark and I quickly took her out and let the other dogs out with her.  She urinated right away and then went about the yard playing.

Today's Lessons:

Zen

Emma needs basic Zen to function as a service dog.  Zen teaches her that waiting will gain her a reward.  Emma is curious and wants to put her nose or mouth on everything.  She has a soft nature about her and quickly pulls away from the kibble in my hand after only softly sniffing or licking.  We practiced Zen in my kitchen, living room and my mother's living room.  By the sixth lesson of Zen Emma was starting to truly understand and stay away from my hand.

Update:  For the first time tonight she didn't stick her nose in the bowls of the other dogs at feeding time, but she did wander and watch each of them eat.  She bumped into Attitude, who told her to knock it off, and promptly sat in Dieter's bowl.  I will have to kennel her during the adult dogs meals and start "Teach Your Dog to Eat" protocol to get widget to eat when I put the last of her food down in the evening.

Name Game

Every time I said her name I gave her a kibble.  Emma quickly began to turn her head, even when distracted, after five kibbles.  She started making eye contact by ten kibbles.  The Name Game teaches Emma her name and attaches positive feelings with it.

Sit

Emma's owner had her two days prior to her coming to me for board and train lessons.  She worked with her on Sit, Down and Stand as basic commands.  Emma understands the hand signal for Sit, so today I worked on attaching the verbal cue.  Emma is starting to offer sits when she hears me ask other dogs to sit.  She has approximately 80% understanding of the verbal cue of Sit while off leash in my home with low distractions.

Update:  Widget has figured out she must sit by the door (behind Max and to his side) and wait for me to release her to go outside.  She's a quick learner and it'll be a challenge to keep up with her, but she's fun to train.  She is now sitting when I grab the handle of the door, but rises when I open it.  A day or so from now she should be waiting while the door is open and getting a release cue before exiting.

Down

Emma still needs to be lured into a down and doesn't understand the hand signal.  Once in a down, she stays in position and it takes an act of nature to get her to stand.  She has not yet learned to chase and get a kibble.  Her food drive a bit low and I may need to find a game to encourage her to stand again to reset her so I can continue training down.

Come

Emma is learning come when I whistle or make a noise at her.  I have not attached the cue and am still teaching her to look for treats between my feet.  She has no recall at this point.  She is learning the verbal cue "House" for going back into the house when I call the other dogs and she follows them.

Update:  Emma finally figured out the Come game tonight.  After setting the pieces of food between my feet several times I tossed one beside her and then put the next between my feet.  She was soon bounding across the room, pouncing on the rolling food and eating it.  After several clicks for turning my way she started to turn as soon as she got the food in her mouth and started to return.  She's doing very well with the game.

Target

Emma is a bold dog, so I have not worked Target with her today.  I am working on Zen at this time and don't wish to confuse her by pairing the two lessons together.  This evening I will work on Target.

Update:  Widget loved this game.  She gives a firm, purposeful nose touch when she does Target.  At first she was just checking my hand and when her nose touched and I clicked and treated her she lit up.  Though she's been hit or miss on click/treat (mostly the treat part) she was hungry and wanted to work for food.  She quickly moved and slammed her nose into my hand, within three clicks, and clearly enjoyed the game.

Field Trip

Emma went to my mother's home today and met three Pomeranians who barked at her when she first came into the house.  Their barking excited Emma and the kibble I had on me what not enough to distract her.  I used praise and affection instead.  After the three dogs calmed down Emma was okay with them, though they didn't want her to get close to them.  When she took a nap they checked her and she later got to check them when she woke up.  Emma followed Max and explored the house and then played with my Mom and brother.  She did extremely well, though she snapped when Max and one of the Pomeranians came close to her when she was sitting at my feet.  I will have to bring extremely high value treats for visiting again and help her understand that other dogs can come close when she's in that position and she doesn't have to be afraid.  She was, otherwise, very relaxed and enjoyed her time at the visit.

We stopped at the Washington State Employees Credit Union and she and Max went in for a socialization visit.  She was nervous when we arrived, but quickly relaxed when she saw Max was relaxed.  She enjoyed meeting the people who worked there and even let Terri lead her away to a back office to visit with the manager.  She was very confident and happy when we left and I was asked to bring her back for more socialization work later.

In both locations she urinated outside only.

The ride in the van seems to make her nervous, so I plan to have a friend ride with us and stuff her full of high value treats for short car trips to help her over her nervousness.  She rode quiet and without moving around the vehicle.  She laid next to Max and took his lead on how to ride in a car.

She took a 30  minute nap in her crate when we returned home without complaint.  I was in another room doing the dishes and walked through the room she was in three times without her whining, barking or fussing the entire time.

Even with her busy day, Emma has been happy and for the most part relaxed and confident.  Her nervousness quickly leaves once she's explored a new location and she does well with new dogs.

She had five play sessions in the yard today and enjoyed a nap out of her crate in the living room this evening.

Emma: Level 1


Zen
Come
Sit
Down
Target
Step
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Update:  Emma loves Dieter.  She went outside after her nap with all of the dogs and was play bowing and putting her paw on Dieter's shoulder trying to get him to play.  She follows him around the yard and clearly enjoys his company.  She tries to engage Max, but he generally ignores her.  She's figured out Attitude doesn't want to play.  This evening she jumped on Dieter, who grumped at her for it, and has been a lot more respectful of his space since.  She also jumped on Max who grumped at her and she's given him more space also.  Overall her interaction with the adult dogs is respectful and playful and they've been good with her antics when she gets the puppy rips.

She loves snow.  Once the snowfall started she was burrowing her nose in the snow and doing flips in the yard.  When the snow got heavier she got excited and raced through the yard as fast as she could.  She came in the house perfectly white from the snowfall.

We have poop!  I know it may sound weird, but it was nice to see widget finally poop after 24 hours of being with me.  She was funny when she finally decided to do it.  She sniffed the grass, burrowed her nose in it, dug at it a bit, did a few spinning pounces and finally went to business.  I couldn't help it, I laughed at her.

Now that her bladder and bowels are working here, I will start the full protocol of going while on lead.