13:30 and he hasn’t had an accident in the house yet today. Made it through the night without incident as well.
Since we tentatively have both his ears and his bladder behaving, today I’ll start him on some light exercises we got from the mmmarvelous Debbie Torraca (on staff at fenzidogsportsacademy.com) to give him some muscle to support his humongous legs and feet, and tomorrow we’ll get serious about the Training Levels. Much as I love how he loves everybody, he’ll be able to reach their mouths with his tongue in another week or two, and French kisses are not appreciate by everybody…
Reverse that – I already know he’s not a hot-weather person, and neither am I. It’s 33 degrees today so we’re staying in until the sun goes down.
We decided to work on the Training Levels instead. Very interesting session.
We started with hand Zen. He’s pretty good at it, but I decided to train it from the beginning anyway, make sure he was solid, and then start adding the cue.
The first thing I did was get rid of the gaping maw swallowing my hand before he backed off by letting him bump it and come off but not paying for that. When he started obviously ignoring the hand, I clicked and dropped treats. Cute – he’s not a starer, he flicks his eyes all around the room waiting for the click. We got the clean behaviour, worked it up to 5 seconds, and then started telling him the cue, which he has apparently already brought into his dictionary from me using it with Syn. I think I could have gotten up to 15 seconds just using the cue.
I moved on to Touch. “I” moved on to Touch. Spidey just looked at me like I was stupid. Hello! Zen. Remember that? Once I talked him into touching the Yes hand, we built easily up to taking three steps to touch and I started using the cue for that as well.
I brought out a metal whisk and we worked on the retrieve hold. Interesting mind he has. He’s wide awake when he’s working, taking nothing for granted, paying very close attention to what the click is for. So far he’s been clicked for putting his mouth over the whisk. To get a longer hold (longer than HitClickTreat) on the handle, I started waiting for two hits on the handle – Hit…HitClickTreat. That was fine with him. So good, in fact, that I immediately waited for the second hit again. No go. The session came to a screeching halt.
I’ve told a thousand people that when you introduce the second hit, you do it in a series of 1 hit, 1 hit, 1 hit, 2 hits, 1 hit, 1 hit, 1 hit, 1 hit, 2 hits, and so on to make sure the dog is still building faith in his ability to make the click happen.
And I lumped. And Spike said No. Way. Good boy, Spider, thanks for the reminder. You DON’T know everything that every other dog I’ve trained knew, you’re a blank slate. Hope I don’t do THAT again (but of course I will… ).
There was an old buoy ball sitting in the parlour (isn’t the Good Room where everybody keeps all their old training stuff?), so I decided to shape him to go touch it. And then he taught me something else. It was a GOOD session for me!
When your 15-week-old puppy who had a bladder infection yesterday so bad he peed himself 3 times in 20 minutes (you know where this is going, don’t you!) is in the middle of a super shaping session and suddenly loses interest in the click and the treats, HELLO HE NEEDS TO PEE. In spite of the squirt on the white rug in the parlour, AKA training room, I’m really happy about this. It’s the first real indication I’ve seen that he knew he had a problem, which is the first REAL step of housetraining.
Tomorrow I’ll see if I can find my housetraining bells and teach him to ring them. Dog doors are wonderful but they don’t teach the dog any way to tell us when he needs to go out.