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.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

First loose leash walking lesson in months

So tonight we did 20 minutes off leash walking. And then I put Lucy on the leash while buddy was off leash. At first she only wanted to run after buddy. The leash was super taut and I remained motionless for probably a couple minutes. Then she finally focused back on me came and sat by side. Click and treat. Step forward she would try to dart forward again. And then awhile later she would relax. Sit and come back to my side. Click and treat.

Then we got into a rhythm of 5-7 steps of her walking slow like I was, click and treat while walking. 

Then she got distracted and bored. Patience. A few minutes later, back into the same rhythm.

Lucy is definitely a puppy that needs to learn impulse control. But it's gonna take patience and persistence on my part!! January we will be working on lots of recall while on lead and loose leash walking!

The exercise, while painstakingly slow it seemed, took probably only 20-25 minutes out of the hour long walk.

I've been very consistent recently walking the dogs everyday as well. I think regular walks are a huge part of building trust with the dogs. It makes them happy and balanced. 

I'm really excited to work on this stuff. And I've gotten super excited about introducing the dog whistle as a training tool to teach recall as well.

All in good time!

And as for day 3 of introducing gentle leader... Lucy still isn't a huge fan. Lol.... Haven't even attached the leash yet. We'll see on that one.

Monday, January 6, 2014

7 months old!!! January training goals

Where oh where did the sweet little puppy go?! 

So Lucy is 7 months old! So young yet so big! Chewing on everything, jumping, endless energy, thinking twice about coming when called, not so great on the leash... It's time for puppy to learn some manners!

The holidays were crazy and now here we are:) 

January goals:
1. Coming when called: proofing against smells. Lucy will be on the leash 90% of the time. She's grown up and loves to smell stuff. But she takes her time smelling things. It's time for her to learn that come immediately... Not 20 seconds or a minute later....
2. Loose leash walking. I know how I'm supposed to do this but haven't had the patience. I tend to just go exercise my dogs places they can be off leash. 

Right now I'm conditioning Lucy to wear a gentle leader. She's not the biggest fan so we are going to be practicing with her just wearing it indoors for awhile. Tonight's session went pretty well. 

If I'm going to make progress on loose leash walking, I want her to wear the gentle leader on the times we aren't training. I need it as a back up tool.

What I mean is, if I'm going to be spending all this time reinforcing that it's only acceptable to go forward when the leash is loose, then every time she's on the leash we need to reinforce that concept. And since it's not practical to make every outing a training session, that's where the gentle leader comes in:)

And again... I'm not planning on depending on the gentle leader 100% just as a reinforcement tool.

This dog is super smart. She might be a crazy puppy but it's time to put her to the test. I know she's capable of this stuff!!!

Here are some pictures of her getting used to the gentle leader:

In other news, buddy remains the perfectly well behaved dog. Lucy has some big shoes to fill!