Saturday, August 15, 2015

Starbucks and Saturday Market Outing

So I have taken the dogs out to all kinds of places this week!

Home Depot
Another hardware store
The park

Everywhere we went I took treats and the dogs interacted with people from babies to grownups and everything in between. And who knew that running a few errands can get a dog so mentally tired because of all the stimulation!

Today we took the pups to Saturday market and Starbucks. The dogs were really good, social, and calm. At Starbucks the dogs just lied down. "Bark" mode only happened once for Lucy and it was a single bark at a motorized wheelchair. She responded to my sit and with hundreds of people around she was very gentle and social amd curious about all of her surroundings. 

I've always taken my dogs on traditional walks like tons of parks and hikes, but I never made a real effor to take them to lots of new places and different situations. I used the shoppig cart at home depot and Lucy quickly got accustomed to the sound of loud air conditioning, loud lumber, etc. It's so simple and yet I never did it consisently and often. So I am really excited about her progress in just one week.

One thing that was interesting to learn was that Lucy seems to do better when another confident outgoing dog was there. I took her out with Tucker today and multiple other tomes this week and she did really great. Last night I took her to petco by herself and she was a little bit less confident. She never entered bark mode, but her tail was a little lower and she had a cautious look in her eyes when w ewere just standing around. When I was walking her around petco her tail was really wagging. But standing around she was cautiois and a little unsure, but still let people pet her and took treats, dhe wasn't as 100% enthousiastic about it.

Today when she was with tucker it didnt matter whether she was standing around or walking or anything, she was great the whole time! It's so good for her to be surrounded by so many different smells, people, sounds and sights!

Here are photos of our outing today:

Monday, August 10, 2015

Meet Billie!!

Billie is the latest addition to our family. As you can see, he clearly thinks he is a dog!! We will definitely be trying to raise him as such: car rides, leash training, taking him everywhere we would take a dog!!! Here are pictures:

Improving confidence

 I have now had Lucy for exactly 2 years! Heres the photo I took of her the first day I had her: 
As you can see from the photo, she has always had a tentative cautiousness about her. She was 11 weeks old when I took her home and 'sickly' because she had special care needs the first couple months I had her. As a result, her socialization started late. 

Today, I took her and Tucker to Coastal, Home Depot and Petco! We walked all the aisles. Tucker is more outgoing by nature and Lucy picked up on his energy and was copying him.

I've always called Lucy a "fake guard dog". Sometimes she will bark at people when she firsts meets them. Sometimes she's completely friendly. Sometimes she doesn't bark at all. Sometimes it seems like a protective thing, other times it seems like a confidence thing. She's definitely not fear agressive and would never bite someone. 

I love this dog so much!! I just want to be the best dog owner I can be. I can definitely help with the confidence thing, especially by taking her to new places with good experiences. Maybe if I spend more time with her and REGULARLY  take her to new places, that will help her confidence. I definitely saw her be extremely confident today when she was imitating another confident dog!!! Here are the happy puppies: 

Proof that Lucy made progress in one day:

At the end of the day, we were at home and the neighbors were out and at first she barked at them. And they were like come here baby really friendly etc.  THAT ALWAYS MAKES HER BARK MORE!!! I don't know why but the more people try to approach her, usually it just makes her bark more. She is most comfortable when people are disinterested in her and she will then freely approach them. She doesn't like it when bew people approach her. And guess what the heck she did??? She worked through her fear and APPROACHED THEM LICKED BOTH PEOPLE AND SAID HELLO.

This is amazing because once Lucy enters bark mode, it doesn't stop until the person stops being friendly. Then, she will be friendly by approaching when she's ready on her terms. Yeah, I know my dog is a weirdoooooo. But I love her and I wouldn't trade her for the world. But now that I've stumbled on a confidence booster (Tucker and other confident dogs!), I'm going to commit to taking her more places when there's another confident dog present she can take her cues from.

Lucy and Tucker 2 years old!!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Switching the training approach...

After reaching out for suggestions, I'm ditching the confronting Lucy with smelly situations and testing recall knowing she's probably not going to come. Instead, the focus will be on lots of recall fun games. Reinforcing what she already knows. Setting her up for lots of success. Even introduce the whistle for recall! Lucy is starting to test boundaries. Right now, I need to have patience and build trust. Build the successful habit of a willing happy trusting recall. Back to basics.

So tonight we went on a walk. She did well with loose leash walking. Had a treat every ten-fifteen steps. Off-leash, we even practiced the same cue "Nice" and she walked a slow controlled pace perfectly matching my step:) so she understands something there! She still gets excited and wants to just lunge after a smell, but I tried to be patient and halted until she let the leash slack again.

For recall, we just had fun with it. I only called her when I knew she would come. NOT when she was sniffing something. 

I did introduce the whistle tonight! When she was already full speed towards me, I did three short blasts. Eventually she'll associate with "come". I think this is important because the whistle can be heard from a long ways a way and can be useful for recall at the beach, dog park, hiking, etc :)

After the walk, I even had her wear the halti inside for about 30 minutes! She didn't even complain and for once didn't seem to mind it! Excited to condition her to be able to wear it on a walk to reinforce loose leash walking skills!

Introducing the whistle and practicing loose leash walking remind me of how much fun training can be. Especially when the puppy starts to get it... It's just so much fun!! 

So that's what needs to happen. All approaches need to be based on fun. It makes me want to teach Lucy other fun little things because it's just so much fun for the both of us. I also see the importance of going back to the basics and reinforcing what she already knows.

As for recall... I'm frustrated she won't come when called when there's a smell involved. So instead of forcing it (confronting the situation)... I'm going back to the super fun recall games she loves. And reinforce the good behavior. Build up success success success and put lots of play into recall. Reinforce that foundation and perhaps then she will be more inclined to come when called when faced with a tempting distraction.

Just lots of fun!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Loose leash walking and recall - ramblings as we learn!

Tonight we did ten steps or so, then
treat. Used cue "nice". I can see her thinking about it. Did that for about twenty minutes. Then let her just have fun off leash for about ten. I'm impressed with her understanding of this, especially given we did it when she was full of puppy energy after being cooped up all day.

Lucy loves smelly things. And when I pull her back to me in these moments (on lead) she hates it. Don't want to force her. But she needs to understand come means now. Not sure how to work on that. She's being very stubborn in that specific circumstance.

Maybe I need to make recall the funnest game ever like I did when she was a puppy. Maybe even try some boiled chicken. Maybe switch it up and run in the opposite direction so she learns to check in more and stay more in time with where I am. All I know is she loves smelly things, and when she smells something she tuned me out and she will come back - but only after smelling the thing she's so curious about.

Still conditioning her to wear halti inside. Still doesn't like it, but isn't protesting it as much as before.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Weekend dog park adventure

We went on a 2,5 hour romp at the local dog park. Recall was 100%. We even practiced loose leash walking for about 5 minutes. Out of sight stays at a new (other) setting were pretty much horrible. 

She got a good walk everyday this week.
I'm hoping that base will make training easier. 

Hoping to do several sessions on loose leash walking this week. 

Tonight going to put on the halti indoors for more conditioning for her just to wear it.