Tomorrow we are taking his video and his glamor shots for the website. I will miss this little monster. It is hard to believe he goes home on Monday!
Kirby Board and Train day 6
Kirby did very well on Mass. street today. He did all of his commands in South Park then we walked down Mass. I was not expecting it to be as crowded as it was but it was packed with people. Kirby was very popular and got a lot of attention. He did well to not break command and looked to me for direction when he was unsure of something.
Tomorrow we are taking his video and his glamor shots for the website. I will miss this little monster. It is hard to believe he goes home on Monday!
Loki Board and Train day 16
Well our hike to the lake was canceled on account of mud. If the trails are really soggy it is good etiquette to avoid hiking if you can to avoid damaging the trails. So instead Loki came along on Kirby's field trip into town for a walk on Mass.
He did very well. He stayed in a nice Heel and did all of his obedience like a champ. He was not on a hot collar. A physical leash is required on Mass. so he was on his pinch collar. There were so many people down town, even for a Saturday it was crowded. He took everything in stride. He didn't even flinch when a kid on a skateboard came out of nowhere.
Interestingly enough he was a fair bit more interested in the town squirrels than he is in the squirrels, cats, and bunnies out at the farm.
Tomorrow he is having his video taken along with his glamor shot for the website. He is also getting a good brushing tomorrow to remove any bits of the farm left so he can go home nice and clean.
Kirby Board and Train day 5
Kirby is now officially in the "proofing" stage of his training. He knows it all and now just needs to be tested. Tomorrow afternoon I am hoping to take him into town for a walk on Mass street. He is so cute there is bound to be a ton if distractions in the form of people wanting to play with him. I have found that usually all I have to do is tell people that a dog is being trained and they are perfectly happy to help me by patiently waiting for him to sit or lay down before petting the dog. Little kids are always good helpers too.
He will get a fairly low key morning, tomorrow. I have a lesson in the early morning then I am taking Loki, my other boarder on a field trip of his own. But the afternoon should be lots of fun for little Kirby. Hopefully it will wear him out enough to get in some easy practice with Placemat!
Loki Board and Train day 15
Loki did well today. I am working on putting the finishing touches on his off leash stuff. He won't be perfect when he goes home on Monday (no dog is) but his owners will have a very strong foundation on which to build and adjust his training into a way of life for him. His recall, interestingly enough, is one of his better commands! It's Heel he is being a pain about now. I've had this happen before where the simple things get a bit foggy after working on the more complex things.
Tomorrow Loki is going to get a bit of a low key day. I am putting the leash and prong collar back on and we are going to take a hike down to the lake and really work on that Heel and get him pepped up about it again. Then back at the farm we will remove that leash again and see if we can't get some better off leash. What he has been doing when asked to Heel today was either feign deafness or bolt to the door saying in his best toddler voice "I DON'T WANNA!" I think he is just getting a little burned out. He is ready to be back with his family. I hope the change in scenery down by the lake will help make things less monotonous for him.
Kirby Board and Train day 4
YAY KIRBY! We finally have him laying down on command and staying down for more than a few seconds. It is his usual habit to do a command for a split second and then hop back up. Yesterday he got no praise at all unless he held it for a certain period of time. During his last workout he stayed Down while I went and played with the kitty (something he loves helping me with) for a few minutes. Today we are going to practice me leaving the room and coming back. I am going to set up some laptops and Skype him to make sure he stays put.
Kirby just LOVES showing off and so he learns quickly and will happily go from bouncing around the house to a Sit without an argument.
He did, however, get a wild idea last night that instead of hopping onto his pillow like he has been doing, he would run away from me when I told him "Place." Luckily, he didn't run very far, just to the couch 3 feet away so I put his leash on and corrected him back to his pillow where he pouted for 4 minutes and fell asleep.
He sometimes needs a correction to sit when I stop during a Heel. If he sees something new or if a loud noise scares him he freezes in a standing position. Usually just a verbal "No" reminds him and he sits. He is what I call a "Nikki dog" because he reminds me of my old Golden, Nikki. He is not interested in being a pack leader. He doesn't want a fight. He HATES being in trouble. He just wants to be told he is good and he wants to play and sit in your lap (Nikki wanted to sit in laps to but she was a lot bigger than Kirby!). Sometimes he gets sullen or mischievous but he usually can be persuaded very easily to be good. Especially if you keep it fun for him. Harsh voices do nothing for his mood. He responds well to easy praise and happy encouragement to learn new things and then fair corrections once he knows something new but makes a mistake. He will get genuinely frightened if you are too rough with him and it also seems to hurt his little Kirby feelings.
He has been doing so well with his house training. He has had no accidents in his crate and other than yesterday he only had one poopy accident in the house. I was very surprised to catch him having an accident in the house yesterday because since he has been on his schedule he had been able to hold it for up to 3 hours out of his crate and over 8 hours in his crate. I do believe I discovered the culprit, however, in the case of Loki's stolen peanut butter Kong toy. I found it in the corner of the living room, half empty after play time. I believe Kirby might have gorged himself on a rich, peanut-buttery snack! I will be more careful to lock all crate doors during play time from now on.
Loki Board and Train day 14
Loki was in one of his moods yesterday. In the morning he was fine. Happy to work and to romp around. However, I knew our afternoon session was going to be a hard one when he refused to get into the driveway where we usually work (the yard is too muddy). He has that look in his eye that says "gonna bolt." We basically had a "Heel battle" which usually doesn't happen after day 3 unless I am having an argument with a dog. I would tell him to Heel. He would stand and stare. I would verbally correct with a strong "No" and repeat the command. He would lay down. I would correct him with the remote collar and he would start and bark at me. We call it "back talk" when a dog barks at you for correcting him. It is a bad habit that can scare some owners and so the dog learns that barking gets him his way. It is likely that it was a couple owners ago that he learned this habit, along with hand snapping, and I can only assume that it was a very timid owner who would lose their temper with him sometimes and over correct.
So there we were, I would correct, he would bark, I would correct again, he would bark bark bark. Every time he barked at me he got a slightly higher correction until he decided it wasn't worth it and came and sat at my left side. Which proved to me that he knew exactly what I was asking him to do. He was just feeling contrary and didn't want to work just then. Stinker.
Now with me reporting these little tantrums of his I don't want his owner to feel like "oh my gosh, I've adopted a total brat that I am going to have to correct for the rest of his life!" Because 90% of the time he is a delightful, cuddly, dog who loves to do his obedience. Sometimes he has a bad day, or even a bad moment and yes, at those moments his handler will need to stand firm and insist that he do what he was told. It would be very damaging for a handler to just throw up their hands and say "Fine, Loki. Just sit there, then." He is a dog for whom Sit must mean Sit, Come must mean Come (and now), and Heel must mean Heel, all the time. It will get easier (it already has gotten easier during his stay) as it becomes a way of life for him. Remember that we are not just training but REtraining him everything he thought he knew about how to deal with people.
Another sign that yesterday was an off day is that he murdered his blanket. He is sleeping on the tattered rags of its remains right now, perfectly content to snooze in this morning.
Kirby Board and Train day 3
As I write this Kirby is passed out on his placemat with his little legs splayed in 4 different directions. He has had a very busy past 2 days. He has learned Heel/Autosit, Down (we argue about this sometimes. He does not always see why laying down is such a good idea and I have to remind him), Come, Placemat, and Sit (though he already knew sit). He has also been playing non-stop with his buddy Loki and pestering the kitty.
He has caught on so nicely to just about everything I've taught him so far. He is still SUCH a puppy though. He often needs reminding about Placemat and Down. I am confident that by Monday he will be able to stay on his mat or in a down, without reminding, for quite some time. He has already made it through an entire movie but at first he needed to be corrected and put back on his mat about 4 times before he stayed.
This little fellow has a larger exercise demand than I would have expected for his breed. Luckily he is easy to tucker out when he gets excited. A quick game with a rope toy, a run around the yard, a game of puppy push-ups (Sit, Down, Sit, Down, ...) usually calms him right down. If nothing else, he will get a fit of the zoomies and just run in sweeping circles for 5 minutes and then fall asleep.
Tomorrow he is going to get more practice with is obedience and we are going to work on him staying on his mat while I leave the room for longer than a full minute. So far this cuddly munchkin is doing just fine.
Loki Board and Train day 13
Loki is doing very well. He is enjoying the freedom the Dogtra gives him. Instead of being leashed up to go outside I can just open the door. He gets to go to the bathroom in the taller grass like he likes to. He can run around and really exercise with Kylie. He still pushes it sometimes. I will tell him to come back and most of the time he just complies and returns to me and sits down. Other times he will stand there and stare at me as though weighing the benefits and drawbacks of running away from me. He gets a 1 second correction for bolting from me on purpose and he always slinks back to me after that. If he is truly afraid (I can't pinpoint what it is that scares him because it has happened a few times in varied circumstances) and runs and hides I usually go and retrieve him myself instead of making him come out of hiding. We call it being a "basket case" when a dog is afraid of inanimate objects or imaginary threats. I have worked with a few "basket case" dogs and usually it is more effective to move them on with redirecting instead of correcting them out of it when they have a mini freak out.
Loki seems to really fear getting something wrong. Even in the training room he will have a fantastic workout but then I ask him to do something and either he doesn't understand me or he wasn't paying attention and he doesn't know what to do. No matter the reason, if he realizes he doesn't know the answer he seems to really become agitated. He looks all around the room for a cheat or a way out and sometime bolts for the door to try to go inside and do something else. I correct him for this and then, if I have to, move him back to the spot where I gave the command and tell him to do whatever it was again. It is never something difficult. And once he does it and he knows he got it right he wiggles his butt and acts so happy! It is just that he over thinks things if he gets caught letting his mind wander.
This sweet boy has such a gentle personality and a tendency towards fits of the sullens (his feelings are easily hurt) but he has gotten easier to cheer back up than he was when he first arrived. He has also stopped snapping inappropriately at hands that reach for him. It was obvious that this was a learned (and likely inadvertently rewarded) behavior from puppy hood. He would snap at hands when the reached for him to make him do something he didn't want to do or take something from him he didn't want taken. He would also snap at my hands when I would reach to correct him. What I would do whenever he snapped at my hands is give him what is called a "Left/Right" correction. Which corrects the dog sharply to the right then to the left then back to the right. It is a way to safely "bite back" when a dog lashes out. It is for this reason that I had Loki wear a correction collar for his first few days here. Now he only wears a corrective collar when he is outside. I have been able to reach for him (and I will roughly reach for him and kind of jostle him around on purpose and then praise him warmly) or take something from him, or reach to correct him.
I am very pleased with the progress he has made over the last week and some days. We are now well into the proofing and practice stage. He will get to take a field trip down town and maybe to the dog park this weekend.
Kirby Board and Train day 1
Oh my gosh Cockapoo! Could you mesh two sweeter personalities (not to mention faces!)? This little boy is such a sweetie pie. He is here for 7 days of on-leash training and some potty training.
Today we worked on Heel/Autosit and Implied Stay. He is convinced that I am going to go have adventures without him during an Implied Stay but by the end of our walk I was able to walk to the end of the leash and back without him getting up.
He is living on a pretty strict schedule over the next few days as we work on his house training. I am trying to figure out his "transit time" (the time it takes for him to turn food into poop) so that I can tell his owner how long after he eats will Kirby generally need to go outside. His owner's homework is the thoroughly clean any area that he has soiled in the past.
My family is absolutely having kittens over this little guy. I doubt he will have much down time from
Loki Board and Train day 11
I put Loki on a remote trainer today. He wore the Dogtra NCP 280 to allow us to work on recall without any physical leash. We went through all of his obedience at first and he did beautifully. We run through obedience in order to have him experience the electronic correction coupled with my voice to help minimize confusion. As often happens, his obedience was sharper with the remote collar on than it is with a leash and pinch collar. When I took the leash off he was very unsure of what to do at first. With Kylie's help we got him playing and running around a little bit but he was still not fully relaxed. We did a few Recalls coupled with a page from the collar and he did well. The third or fourth recall we tried I knew would be different. He got that "I'm gonna bolt" look in his eye and sprinted off in another direction. I corrected him with the collar and with a firm "NO!" and he stopped looked at me, clearly confused, and tried it again. I turned the collar up by 4 or 5 levels and corrected him again. This time he was so confused he just laid down and tried to hide in the snow.
Why did he hide? It wasn't because the collar hurt him. He hid because his whole world changed in that moment. For possibly his entire life no handler or owner has been able to stop him from running away. It is likely that this running away is why he ended up in rescue in the first place. He had to process this new reality where he ran away and yet I was still able to correct him. Eventually he came to me, exhausted and, if I am being honest, a little defeated. We walked back and he napped for over an hour.
Later in the day we took another walk and Loki was a different dog. He realized the major plus side to wearing a remote collar. How fast can a shepherd mix run? Very very fast. He zoomed around the field and when he found a deep snowbank he purposely dove face first into it over and over again. Whenever he began entering an off-limit zone I simply had to verbally call him back and he happily romped back to me and sat down. I did not have to use the remote once during the entire walk.
This is one of the reasons why I love remote collars. A dog who might otherwise not get to really run free outside of a fenced area and be safe gets to enjoy that freedom. Owners get to allow their dogs to run and play and be dogs without sacrificing peace of mind that they can get their dog back at any time (so long as the dog stays within the radius of the collar. In this case a 1/2 mile). I use them on my own dogs when we are hiking or going to a new place. If you have a dog who may not immediately be reliable with Recall a remote trainer is a wonderful second option. AND! In almost all of Lawrence (excluding Mass. Street) it is a legal leash.