Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day Six, Week Two

Realized yesterday that I'd been doing the sit placement wrong all week...whoops. "Chewy" as the right foot stops, "sit" as the left foot stops. Not "Chewy, sit" while we're stopped and I'm standing there looking at him like an idiot. If I was watching somebody else do it, it would've been obvious, so much easier to notice what's going on physically when you are the observer. He also wasn't making the connection between collar pressure and sitting down, probably due to my being heavy handed on the sit placements and putting more emphasis on my hand on his butt than my hand applying collar pressure. But, thank goodness, he got it pretty quickly once my trainer helped me out. It's very different training an adult dog rather than a puppy, especially a puppy that is possibly even more dog-oriented due to being the only pup in his litter and so is very ramped up about dogs/doesn't have an off switch with them. One right turn and run when Chewy goes wide to investigate Pagan, and he's no longer interested. Wow! Catfish took plenty of passes before calming down and committing himself to heeling. Also, Catfish was never one for lagging, whereas Chewy is lagging to one degree or another most of the time. I am so, so thankful to have the guidance and help of my two trainers! It'd be so much harder to learn how to do it right without them.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Week Two, Day Two

Doing very well except for the jack-in-the-box sits: standing up immediately after he sits, although I am mostly crediting it to the fact that the ground is soaked, and most of the time he sat for a few solid moments before standing again. It does my heart good to see a dog look at a distraction and then immediately look at the handler - you can see the wheels turning! Surprised at how on the ball he is on only day two of heeling, I suppose that's the method for you. Already was beating me to the sit, and stopping with his shoulder more or less by my left foot. Smarty pants or just not a distractable 9 month old puppy? Also, it's been four months since I did this exercise, I sure wish I had kept a journal when I had Catfish so I could compare, but too late now. I did inadvertently say "Catfish, Heel" at one point, Chewy didn't seem to mind. I am reminded of Tony with Sparky doing a heeling pattern, demonstrating that the context of the command means far more than the word itself: "Sparky, Banana! (heel) Apple! (sit)"

Chewy sleeps under the covers, I guess he gets just enough air from the gap my head sticking out from under the covers makes, because when I got out of bed this morning and left him sleeping, I came back to see him with just his nose sticking out from under the covers.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day Four

Chewy seems to be mostly leash responsive with his dog aggression, we came out of the car and he approached Pagan and Sparky tail wagging in the unmistakable quick happy manner, sniffed them, was a little confused and disinterested since they were on sit stays. Just wants to tell other dogs what he thinks of them when he is pulling at the end of a leash. He did very well, at the end of the lesson was passing by his very tempting distracters (he made a bee line for them whenever they said "cute", he seems to know that's him, ha!) without a second glance. He was however immediately discontented by my friend with M.S., barking and stretching out as far as he could to sniff her in that cautious way. He's a good boy and doesn't bark much but we'll address it when he's on a leash rather than a lunge line. My housemates are quite fond of him, he's a huge change from the ever excitable Catfish. Catfish is really a dog lover's dog in his puppyhood of wanting all 50 pounds of him in your lap, a 20 lb lap warming terrier is more amenable to most. Sleeping next to me as I write this, he blends in with the sofa rather well. Good dog!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day Two

I got what I wanted - a dog aggressive dog to train. Huzzah! Not sure to what extent, but today there was a LWD (Little White Dog) that he stood watching, and as soon as the LWD saw him it started pulling frantically to come see him, Chewy ran at him growling, hit the end of the line and then decided it was a better idea to walk with me. Didn't go after any other dogs (we saw several) but he did watch them pretty closely, and none of the other dogs noticed him/tried to approach him (thank God, there were two off leash dogs that luckily did not notice us)

He needs to be reminded not to barge through open doors, but remembers pretty quick, and it IS only day two. Good little dog, slept all through the night at my feet.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day One

Chewy is a scruffy little cream colored terrier, head placed on the sofa, looking as loyal as possible at me and my bowl of steamed purple carrots, of which he has already been offered a sample and declined. Why do they continue to look at you pleadingly? Can they not smell that there is only more of the same in the bowl? Ah, well.

Point to point walking was mostly uneventful, minus the occasional tiny barely audible "erp!" as he hit the end of the line when bolting after a squirrel. He really likes squirrels and birds, and maybe dogs? We stood at one point while a pair of Italian Greyhounds passed, it seemed like they were going to pass safely until one of the dogs changed his mind and went back to approach Chewy (on a retractable lead) and Chewy went straight for him, but I caught the leash and moved off before he made contact. I prefer Catfish's puppy-minded openness about his intentions, plenty of body language and whining about wanting to greet a dog vs hard stare stiff posture and then rocketing towards them (to greet? I think not) I felt a little disappointed to be training a little dog (not to mention the very real pain in the ass of having to reach that far down for placing them) but it looks like he'll give me plenty to think about. A big change around the house, first day here and he is calmly curled up on the sofa with me vs Catfish constantly going from person to person asking for pets, whining, being a puppy, being a goofball. Though make no mistake, I love Catfish dearly and miss his enthusiasm for life, silly happy face, pride in his work. I feel almost awkward around Chewy, bringing him home and first thing giving him a bath: do we know each other well enough for me to take such liberties? I guess it's different because he is a mature adult dog, insecure in his new surroundings, whereas Catfish was just excited to explore a new place and play with new people. It's a completely different relationship to treat dogs as equals and with respect rather than patronize them, adds more depth.