4 Months- A Puppy is Great Therapy

Oct 28, 2004 | Stitch's Story

Great breakfast session. I put her on the grooming table and she immediately plunks her paws into a Stand, and right away we get up to 13 seconds. Not to say I just wait 13 seconds, but we go up two seconds at a time and arrive at 13 with no errors. She’s so relaxed about Stand that she’s starting to looking out the window at the birds and catalogue the grooming equipment on the wall in front of her. Probably not what I’d want from a competition Stand, but considering how hysterical I was about the whole thing last week, I’ll be happy to take this. Stand X 30, giving her about 5 kibbles for each of the longer ones.

I put her on the floor and we get up to 7 seconds with no whining. I don’t push it and she doesn’t whine. Good. Then we try Sit-Down-SorePaw cues. Sit is very good, Down is good but she’s popping up the instant her elbows hit the floor, and she has a little trouble remembering SorePaw – makes me wonder why I was so hysterical about that too. I guess I was just having a hysterical week. She may be popping up from the Down because we’re working on a tile floor in the dog room. At this point I have two choices, I can go for decent downs – but I choose the other one. I start cueing Sit from Down as she pops up. Fun. X20.

We finish off the session back on the grooming table. I lay her down on her side, pet her tummy and Yes and feed her while she relaxes. Three weeks ago I’m sure I couldn’t have imagined her lying down quietly on her side on a grooming table. Pretty soon I’m petting her tummy to GET her to relax and only feeding her when her neck is loose and her head is on the table. Wow.

Stand and lie down on the table, relaxing Fun for lunch. Another Stand session on the grooming table, up to 15 seconds with no indication of stress. Then I lay her down on her opposite side and reward relaxation again. She quickly understands she’s being rewarded for not holding her neck stiff. I move on to playing with her feet. That takes a little more effort, and she doesn’t get to the point where she can relax the underneath back leg, but the rest turn out well. Front legs are totally relaxed, even while I tweak her toenails. I put her on the floor and do 7 seconds of Stand again, and then move to Sit and Down and SorePaw. Excellent session.

We work entirely on the table at supper. After she demonstrates a very strong 20 second Stand in a freestack facing my right, I turn her toward me and we do X30 on Sit-Stand-Down. She’s not spontaneously Standing or Sitting from Down, but easily goes into them with a small hand motion. Down from Sit or Stand, and Sit from Stand is excellent.

Then I put her on her left side on the table again. She certainly remembers that this is a position to relax in. Her front legs are still limp, and her back legs are much looser than before.

I shaved Scuba this morning. When I was vacuuming the dog room, Stitch – the puppy who was afraid of almost everything last week – chewed on the hose and let me vacuum her. Looked back when her hair went up the nozzle, but then went right on chewing and wagging.