Zen paying off!

Sep 14, 2017 | Serra's Story

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 totofit.com 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.