Thursday, November 21, 2019

I had tried Chadwyk for the first time on the beam with it raised about a foot.  He wanted nothing to do with it, so I lowered it to about 4 inches high and used "clicker" techniques to get him to put first one foot, then two then all four and walking across the beam.  That last part is what was captured here.  He is now 9 months, 28 inches at withers and 68 lbs.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

I really liked this in terms of accuracy as well as format.  I hope it speaks to you!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

7 months

Here's Chadwyk at 7 months, at 24.5 inches at the withers and 60 lbs!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

I wanted to share with you the latest in the rapid growth of Chadwyk  He is taller than and outweighs (35 lbs at 4 weeks 10 days) both Izze and Vito.  He's all legs and at some point, the body and especially the chest will expand as well.

He still has the same agreeable temperament and is very easily handled.  The only issue we've had is over edibles and that is between him and Izze.  

He reminds me so much of Dante (my Curly-Coated Retriever) in both size and temperament.  I should be so fortunate to have a "once in a lifetime" dog twice!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Today was Chadwyk's first outing in his "service dog in training" jacket. We went to two stores. In one I used a cart and in the other I started off with my cane. He needed some reminders to remain in place and to not bark, but it went well. So happy with this amazing boy!

He just weighed in at 35 lbs and is not quite 4.5 months old. Just finished our first puppy class. In August I will bring him to my STAR Puppy class and probably to my Canine Good Citizen class as well.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Puppy Push-Ups

This video shows a different way to practice sit, down and stand.  By mixing them up, it is a fun game and the puppy doesn't anticipate what will be asked for next, so he is constantly thinking and checking in with you.  The puppy is my 3 month old Bouvier.  I am mostly using a lure for this practice.  We are working on having the behavior offered after the word and then reward.  It's a work in progress!

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Recall with attention and hand targeting--Chapter 11

Walk along and then back up briskly saying the dog's name.  As he starts to return to you, use the word "come".  Be sure to say "Come" in a higher tone, loudly and with enthusiasm.  If you are luring, hold the treat as close to your body as you can.  When your dog comes to you, reward with the treat, words and scratches under his chin.  Occasionally, grab the collar, so he is used to it.  Begin this exercise in an environment that is known and quiet.  Gradually, add distraction and go to different places to practice it.  Remember to practice the recall (come) with walks and in the house.  A guideline is to ask your dog to come to you about 20 times each day!

In this sequence, notice the number of times Chadwyk "checks in" by looking at me instead of forward as he is walking.  That's the attention that I was referencing in yesterday's post..  Also I am using some hand targeting as well as luring.  Can you identify them in the video?

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Attention--Chapter 9

Getting your dog to pay attention or focus on you is the foundation for successful training.  If your dog isn't focused on you, he isn't likely to respond to what you are asking him to do.

One approach to get your dog to focus on you is to position him in front of you or at your side.  Let your dog know that you have a treat and then hold it just below your eyes, close to your face and say your "attention" word.  (I use my dog's name.)

Slowly lower the treat to your dog's mouth, keeping eye contact the whole time.  Maintain eye contact throughout the exercise.  Mark the behavior by repeating his name and your reward marker of "good" or "yes" as he gets the treat.

Another approach is to notice when your dog is looking at you and say your attention word and reward your dog for looking at you.  Some trainers believe that this approach is superior as it rewards the dog for "offering" the behavior rather than asking for it.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Playing Ball

Here's a typical playtime at my house.  I encourage the dogs to play on their own.  I probably have 50 toys, but less than 5 are out at any one time.  That keeps them "new" and more interesting.  In this video, my 8 year old male (Vito) is off screen on a "Wait" while Chadwyk is playing with Vito's favorite ball.  When Chadwyk is finished playing, I release Vito to get his ball.  No muss, no fuss!  BTW, the black lab near the door is a metal door stop.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Pro Training Tips on Treats

Have the food treat in an easily accessible location so that it can be delivered to the dog within three seconds and while the desired behavior is still occurring.  I use a cotton waist apron, available from most hardware stores for minimal cost or on-line for under $10.  A treat pouch or bag is better than a pocket, but can take some time to get used to accessing the treat quickly.  After some training for both you and your dog using treats, you can transition to a pocket in your clothes.  For most of us, getting into the picket for the treat, delivering it to the dog in less than 3 seconds is still a challenge. Remember that timing is everything!

Treats should be small and preferably soft and moist for ease of eating.  A small dog should be given proportionally small treats.  Remember to reduce the amount of food given at meals to allow for the extra calories given in training.  Microwaved hot dogs, string cheese and pieces of chicken, beef or liver are all high value treats and should be used sparingly by combining one or more of them with your dog's kibble and/or cereal such as the round oat kind.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Learning to retrieve

Working on retrieving a ball.  Not using many words, just clapping and praising~

Home Safety Check: Part 2

Have a safe place for your puppy to be when you can directly supervise him.  This can be a puppy proof room, a crate or an X-pen.  (If using a crate, be sure about the size.  See March 16 post.)  I like an x-pen for my dogs.  They are available in different heights and degrees of sturdiness.  Some have tops on them and some can have a top added.  I like their flexibility as you can shape them to a smaller size by overlapping the panels.  

Use these guidelines when confining your puppy:

  • Make the confined space a good place where good things happen.
  • Feed the puppy in the confined space so he will associate the confines space with good things.  Praise the puppy when he is eating so he connects the praise to food.  
  • Put indestructible toys in the space.  Occasionally add a toy that allows space for treats like a Kong with a bit of peanut butter and kibble in it.
  • Most naps should occur in the confined space.  Make this a normal part of the routine, not just a place for punishment.
  • If the confined space is in an area where the puppy can see you and you can see him, the puppy will be more likely to accept it and even go in there on his own when tired.
  • Be sure to be aware of when he wakes up, as you will want to take him out to potty immediately.  I find a baby monitor to be very helpful, especially with a puppy under 3 months old.
  • If the puppy whines or barks in the confined space, don't take him out.  This would reinforce the behavior that you don't want.  Eventually he will settle.  When he is calm and quiet for 15 seconds or more, praise him and take him out of the confined space to potty and have play time.  The exception is when you think the puppy is trying to tell you that he needs to go outside to potty.  In that case, say nothing, and carry or take him on a leash to his potty spot.  Use your word that you associate with going potty.  If he does potty, give him lots of praise.  If he does not, without talking or eye contact, take him back inside and put him back in the confined space.  You don't want to reward him for whining or barking.  Wait to take him out of the confined space after he has been quiet for at least 30 seconds.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Home Safety Check Part 1

Puppyhood is a special and relatively short span of time in your dog's life.  Try to see your puppy's new home from his point of view. What follows may sound a bit silly and you may want to do it when no one is watching!  Go through your house at the same height of your new puppy so you can truly see what he sees and what might be tempting or even dangerous to be around.  This usually involves either a crawl or even scooting around your house on your belly!  This will help you puppy proof the environment from his perspective.  If you have younger children, this can be a fun activity and an experiential way for them to begin seeing the world from the puppy's point of view.

Puppy proof your house in the same way you would do for a crawling baby.  Exposed electrical wires, cords, shoes on the floor, open wastebaskets, raised lid on the toilet seat and many other items are possible places for the puppy to harm himself.  Decide in advance what can be left out and subject to a chewing puppy and what must be temporarily stored elsewhere.  Often I have heard owners complain that their puppy was chewing on his leash, their shoes or dragging their underwear around the house.  This is not a bad puppy, but a careless owner.  Remember the crawl through your house at the eye level of your puppy?  Anything that could be seen or reached is subject to puppy exploration--usually by his teeth!  Take the time to puppy proof his environment and save yourself some expense, frustration and a possible trip to the vet.  

Remember Principle #1: There's no such thing as bad behavior to a dog.