17 Weeks- Teething and Whomping

Nov 4, 2004 | Stitch's Story

Her teeth are driving us both crazy. I took away her Humpy Dumpy doll, which was using up some of her energy. She’s now focused her mouth on her dogbed. More socially acceptable, but damper. She’s doing that sucky-mouth thing where she holds it in her mouth and moves her tongue. She kneads with her paws like a kitten while she’s doing this. When I’m reading, she sits on the couch beside me and I massage her swollen gums and her tiny little teeth.

We work on her paw target. She remembers it right away and runs to it anywhere in the room – up to 12′ away. I’ve run the gamut on voice cues – Hit? Too close to Sit and Stitch. Punch? Also too close to Stitch, and I’m using ChCh to get her attention. Stomp, I guess. I start using it, and move back until I’m up two stairs in the dining room while she’s running into the parlour to Stomp.

Next I try holding it vertically. She tries to bite it twice, then starts punching it. I move it around, this side of her, that side. I toss the kibbles here and there so her angles are different when she approaches it. X30. Next I put her down the steps and put the target on the first step. This is a no-brainer. X30. If I pass Radio Shack today, I think I’ll look for a doorbell device that I can put on a board for her to ring. Then someday in the distant future when she can actually reach it, she can push a door button.

Then we work the Get Lost game again. Much better today. First I click simple contact X30. Then I start turning. When I turn, she looks down, follows, stops, looks back up 50% of the time. The rest of the time, she drops her head and beetles around to meet me on the other side as she did yesterday. OK, I need to explain this better.

When she starts to go around me clockwise, I turn counterclockwise and always stop with her standing bewildered off my right shoulder. Huh? What happened there? I was supposed to be staring at mom’s face?! Then she started correcting herself again, stepping counterclockwise to find my face. CLICK! We do that X100 – clockwise turn, click for finding my face; clockwise turn oops counterclockwise, click for correcting and finding my face; counterclockwise turn, click for following and finding my face. At the end of the hundred, she’s walked and watched (which is the point I’m trying to make) maybe 8 times. And she’s much more confident that she needs to find my face, and find it from the front. Good session.

Supper takes 24 minutes. I was so astonished when Scuba, my first from-scratch clicker dog, could work for 20 minutes at this age. Now I take it for granted. She was totally In The Game the whole time, and not ready to quit when the food ran out.

When I was cleaning up this afternoon, I found the container with her retrieving objects. 23 objects. Pen, marking pen, harness ring, clickers, head of a dead stuffed toy, VetWrap, FlexiLead, toothbrush, book of matches, roll of dimes, bracelet. Well, let’s see what she’s made of. I dump the whole bucket out 8′ away from my chair. It takes 10 clicks to convince her I’m not paying for Stomping. Suddenly she remembers. Wow! Something – maturity? thinking about it? duration work in other behaviours? – has made her vastly better at retrieving! She carries the objects much further before dropping them, and when she drops them, she knows what her mistake was. 39 clicks get all 23 objects back in my bucket (don’t get hysterical, *I* am putting them in the bucket when she drops them close enough for me to reach them). Then I take out the wooden dumbell and we work X30 on hold. It usually takes her two spits before she holds, but then the hold is at least 3 seconds, and quiet. Brilliant.

Then I dump the bucket again. 23 items retrieved in 34 clicks this time. The harness ring, which was very difficult for her to pick up and to hold last time, presents no difficulty this time. I’ve left about 3″ of line sticking out on the Flexi. She’s picking the Flexi up by the line, and it’s swinging back and forth so hard it makes her head swing, but that doesn’t bother her either. Good puppy!

I’ve got 50 kibbles left. Remembering the trouble she had thinking I wanted the retrieve articles stomped, I bring out her pink spot again. 2 tries at taking it out of my hand, then she starts Stomping it. Soon I’m hiding it on the floor anywhere I can reach – a circle of about 6′. When she eats her treat and looks up, the spot is gone. She has to look for it. When she finds it, she gallops to it and whomps it with both front paws, just to be sure.

Why would anybody train any other way?