I often say “The best thing about clicker training is… ” and it’s always something different. I’m having the same trouble with the puppy. “My favourite thing to train her is…” A few days ago it was retrieving. Now we’re working on the Eye Contact and positioning with the Get Lost game and the two diagrams. Her contact is lovely, solid – as always with my own dogs, I could sink into her eyes. Pity people who see only dominance in eye contact!
This morning she figured out how to walk and hold contact at the same time as I pivot. She’s better counterclockwise than clockwise, where she occasionally forgets and runs around me. She’s self-correcting, though, knows she’s looking for my face, and loves to work the motion games.
Now we’re going out – she’s making her vet clinic debut. There’ll be lots of cookies and cuddles and people who will back off if I tell them to.
Well, that’s the theory, anyway. The trip goes very well except for one incident. She rides well in the crate in the car – one 30 second whine and one 5 second yap. We get out of the car and have some kibble, walk up the steps and have some kibble, go in the door and have some kibble. Meet people one at time with Stitch making the overtures. She’s thrilled to meet people and have cuddles. She does Sit and Down and Sore Paw on the scale (22 pounds, all of it leg). She does Sit and Down on the examining table, and lies on her side with her head down. She’s not thrilled to have the otoscope inserted in her ears, or the thermometer, but I hold her head still and it isn’t a wrestle. Lots of kibble for the shot, and a good cuddle with the vet. Back out in the waiting room for more cuddles with staff and everybody asks her for Sit and Down and Sore Paw and Princess Paw and she gets about three meals’ worth of treats. We’re winding up, and some – excuse me – BOZO walks in with an adult dog, lets the leash go, and the dog rushes over to Stitch. The dog isn’t aggressive but stands over her. Stitch can’t decide whether she’s more excited or more submissive, and winds up spinning and peeing with me frantically trying to snag her. Finally I get her and they hustle the bozo and her dog into an examining room. I stay long enough to calm Stitch down, ask for a few more behaviours, and let staff members feed her some more, but I really want to get out of there before the other dog comes out of the examining room.
Tomorrow night we have Stitch’s first puppy class. I’m going to go early so I can take my time getting into the building and find a corner where I can keep her calm when the other dogs come in.
I don’t want to do too much at supper – there isn’t much of it since she had so much this afternoon, and I don’t want to push her after this afternoon. I put her on the grooming table and go through her repertoire again, including a show stack, then lay her down on her side and spend some time getting her used to the nail grinder. A bit more exciting than just cutting her toenails, but it’s old and noisy. The feel of it on her toenails doesn’t bother her. I’ll get the grinders overhauled before I try it again, but it went very well.