Class Graduation

I wanted a Giant! Doesn't EVERYBODY want a Giant?
Actually it's sort of astonishing how little damage he's done with his mouth, especially when you see how swollen his gums are and how big his new teeth are. And how easily he can crack cattle femurs.

Little Man's first class finished tonight. He managed to jump on a kid and scare her, and then he stomped on a little dog so he didn't get to play with her any more. Manners are an ongoing discussion. He's not a bully, he's a bull and the world is his china shop. Here are two of the behaviours he learned in class, and in moments of waiting we started working on Pocket Hand. He has a surprisingly mobile back end considering how large it is.

Also he may not have wanted to play with me last night because he has a rather large wound on the end of his tail from wagging it against the ground. That'll be tougher to bandage than his ears!


We tried out the requirements for the IDPA parkour Training Level at the park today. Lots of fun. Wasps were TERRIBLE. He ate a few. They seem to have been dead before they went down...

I'm not sure if these videos are good enough, we'll await word from someone who knows:

4 feet on -
Apparently I have no idea of how long 5 seconds is.

Paws up -

Under -

Through/Between -

In -

Balance -

Creativity -

And - nope, little things that need to be different. We'll try again. It would be fun to have a title before 6 months, even if it's a "training" title.

Then we went to a new class in a new place. He was excited to be there, but didn't really have any difficulty paying attention. A bit more trouble when the other dogs were moving, but that's to be expected. We had an opportunity to play in class and he was happy to chase a ball but acted as though I was embarrassing him slightly when I tried to play with a toy with him. We'll work on that.

Park again

We had a wonderful morning. I took new drugs and we went to the park. We actually went for a walk by the lake. Spider is no longer pulling toward goose poop, but we will have to discuss eating cigarette butts. There were dogs (large and small, ignoring him and pulling toward him), geese (honking and landing and having small fights), kids (calm ones and yelling ones and running ones), the ubiquitous Japanese tourists as well as Sikhs and Muslims and women in saris, bicycles and skateboards. Spike was interested in some of them, but was happy to look and then look back to me without pulling on the leash. Clever puppy.

We did some work on sit stays. Didn't work very well on the ground but on walls and pedestals he was grand - even started offering a very dedicated eye contact. A good time was had by all.

Level 1 Graduation!

Started the day with a few minutes of stacking and stretching on the TotoPawds. It's amazing how much muscle this simple exercise uses and how quickly he gets tired!

That's a pretty good looking pup!

Had a good time in our training time with Barb and her pup. Last week was his first introduction to Training Levels Come. Step 1 was good, he loved running back and forth between us, but unlike Dori, his training partner of the same age, he didn't figure out the next step - that after SHE paid, *I* paid, and then SHE paid again. Today he got it immediately. Barb and I both used come cues, we got up to 20' apart, and he was spinning and running to us. Nice. So that cracked off Step 2, 3, and 4, and since I successfully called him off the feral cat the other day and several other enticing prospects, I'm calling Step 5 done as well.

We finished Level 1 Zen as well when he stayed off a dog dish in my hand and on the floor even though there were several kinds of treats in it.

Sit's done. Had a little trouble with Target last week when we worked it AFTER Zen, so this week we did it first and got it finished up.

And down. Level 1 Graduation Party! Clever boy!

A lot of Level 2 is about duration and distance, so we started working on Level 2 Sit - in Step 1 I walk 5' away and return. We got up to 3 feet. After that he wanted to follow me, so we'll be working on that. Once we have the distance, I don't think duration will be TOO much of a problem, but we've been working a lot on down lately and for Giants, down is an inborn default, so we'll be forgetting about down for a while and working on sit.

We work on giving to collar pressure almost every time we're sitting for a moment doing nothing. That's a default I sincerely want to hold on to as he gets bigger. Then for certain situations, like conformation and drafting, I'll teach him to pull into leash.

We've done a lot of work on settling (which worked brilliantly the other day when we went to get the truck fixed), but today we tried getting him excited and then asking for the settle - no problem. His temperament is unbelievable.

Backing up and moving out of my personal space, even to the left - brilliant.

Zen at the front door is going well.

Zen paying off!

Funny little puppy! For lunch we had three - no, five - training sessions.

First, some work at the front door. Two phases, an automatic wait in the hall when the door is opened (works very nicely up to 5 seconds as long as nobody breathes); and when he goes out the door, he has to turn to face back into the house (that is, me, since I haven't gone out yet) and sit. He loves that part, in fact I think the only reason he wants to go out is so he can turn and sit.

Second, pee on cue, which is kind of a no-brainer since I ask him to pee every single time we go out the front door AND he's a male AND he has a thimble-sized holding tank. Anyway, I'm checking off Level 4 Handling Step 1 (eliminates on lead), Step 3 (eliminates on lead within 30 seconds of hearing the cue), as well as Step 2 (eliminates on lead away from home), and Step 4 (eliminates on lead away from home within 30 seconds of hearing the cue) due to the "testing" we've done at his puppy class. I won't check off Step 5 (eliminates on lead on a new surface within 30 seconds) until he's actually got the behaviour on cue and shows me that he knows what I'm talking about even if his thimble isn't quite full yet. Still, I really get a boost from check off some Level 4 behaviours!

Third, we're checking off Level 3 Come, Step 1 (dog comes 5 feet with distractions), though that wasn't a planned test. As we were heading back in the house after peeing, he took off after one of the feral cats in the yard. I called immediately, and it took him about 15' for his brain to engage and put on the brakes, but he did - skidded to a stop, turned around and came back. GOOD PUPPY! Handful of treats for that one!

Fourth, we did a shaping session. I wanted him to close a drawer with his nose. It took him a few minutes to figure out I was aiming him at the drawer. Apparently all the shaping I've done with him so far has him turning his head to his right, so there was a lot of right-turning before he slipped in a left head-swing. Then he was proud of himself for figuring that out and he did a lot of that before he realized that he had to move closer to drawer while he was at it. Then he remembered the last shaping session we did, which was down on the mat in puppy class, so he tried lying down. Giant Schnauzers are VERY VERY GOOD at lying down. Tossing a treat away from the drawer got him up again. Then he thought maybe I wanted him to grab the drawer pull - and since he was moving the drawer slightly with the pull in his mouth, I clicked that, which made him sidle up sideways to the drawer, and finally he shut it with his shoulder. OK! I'll go with that! We got five more shoulder-slams of the drawer and moved on. Typical Schnauzer. Why use finesse when you can just body slam the sucker?

Finally I asked him up on the coffee table to do some more show stacking on Debbie Torraca's wonderful TotoPawds. They're available at Today for the first time Spider tried to put his own front paws on. He hit both front Pawds, though I did have to help him get his paws square. Today for the first time also he understood that he didn't have to get OFF the Pawds just because I was reloading my treat hand, or if I was replacing one of his hind feet. That's big. Amazing shoulders the little man has! I like the Pawds especially because they don't slip, even on the slippery coffee table. Wherever I put them they stay.

Heavy overcast today, we'll get a saunter in before supper.

Well, today's the day. He finally tipped the recliner over backwards. Now he's standing on it as it lies dead on the floor, barking at it for bucking him off.

On the saunter he found half an old deer pelvis. Carried it proudly. Fell for the old "Look, you could have a piece of my wiener!" trick. Sucker. He'll be kicking himself tomorrow for trading in a deer pelvis for an inch of hot dog.