This weeks focus has been a continuation of recalls, sit, down and now adding a calm settle. We are spending about 20minutes each day with Lad on leash while I sit on the couch. Whenever he lays down calmly I give him a treat. I don’t know if he understands yet but he will get it. Recall training is going reasonably well but we were thwarted by snow. Snow in TX?!?!? Yes, sleet, freezing rain and even a little snow. Now the yard is under something like 4 inches of melted run off and there is no outside time for us. Potty trips are a real chore, which has set house breaking back as well. Hoping the weather improves soon.
This week I have been focusing on “Zen Puppy” and recalls. Zen is still a work in progress, I am not sure he entirely gets it but all of the recall work is really paying off. I am still keeping all training sessions short, no more than 10minutes. I try to work in Zen, a little work on Sit and Touch, then recalls. We also work on recalls when out for potty breaks so lots of chances to work on it. Crate and house training are also going well.
This first week and a half has mostly been learning about house rules and each other. Lad is a very thoughtful puppy, methodical in his actions. When he learns a behavior he learns it quickly and completely. However he always seems to be trying to think his way around me to get what he wants, whether that is time outside, or a cardboard box. His learning style is different and he is stubborn but I think we will enjoy working together.
So far he has done very well learning “sit” and is working hard on recall. His house training and crate training are also going very well. We have been working on “Zen” impulse control, I don’t think he is completely getting this one but I’m sure he will eventually, that stubbornness keeps him going.
Took a step forward in our training, first trip to House of Quad. Probably the biggest reason I chose to go with a puppy as a SD prospect instead of an older dog who would have been ready for mobility work far sooner is because both hubby and my youngest son both skate roller derby. We spend 3 or more days a week at HOQ at derby practices and bouts so my SD needs to be able to handle the noise and activity. Kids, adults, skate sounds, yelling, whistle blowing, just a lot going on. I got permission from the wonderful KP to bring Lad with us to practice to start socializing now so he will hopefully be ready.
Wednesday was his first trip and it went wonderfully. Wednesday is our longest night, Juniors practice followed by a brief break while the ladies have their scrimmage/practice and then Men’s practice. Lad took it all in stride. He greeted the kids and parents, played with the toys I brought for him then fell asleep for most of juniors practice. I took him out for a potty break then back inside where he played with some of the kids hanging around for a few minutes before he fell back asleep. He slept through the scrimmage and the majority of the men’s practice on my feet. I had been concerned the sounds of the skates would bother him or maybe the whistles but nothing even phased him. Even the kids skating right around his head didn’t wake him. He woke at the very end of men’s practice and watched them for a few minutes before going out for a finale potty break and then greeting the guys. Lots of good socialization. Hardest part was the trip there and back. He is still not a fan of the car.
I am primarily a positive trainer. I’ve been working with dogs for a very long time (since I was 9 years old) and I have used several methods but “marker training” just seems the most intuitive to me. These are some of the links that I use when training my own dogs, rescues, fosters, and service dog prospects. These are simple enough for a child to follow, my 9 year old son (just turned 9 and he has been training since he was 8) uses these same methods with his dog.
Slow is fast. That is what I have to keep telling myself. There is a whole world of new things for Lad to learn and it is hard to patient. From the moment he moved in we started house training, crate training, just general “this is how you live here” stuff. So much to learn.
You can pee in the yard but not on the kitchen floor.
You may not howl all night long.
You can chew the toys in the green box but not the couch.
The cat does not like to be barked at.
Touching feet is nice, you get treats.
Sometimes there is food in the crate just waiting for you to eat it, check there often.
“Lad” means come running fast.
Monday was the first “official” day of puppy training. Slow, going slow. We introduced the clicker and what it means. Today we worked on Sue Ailsby Level 1, “come game”. Reinforcing coming when I call his name as well as working on not jumping up on people. I never train with a little puppy for more than about 5 minutes at a time so we just played, my son and I called him back and forth across the room for a while. We practice similar when I take him outside to “go potty” (working on this cue already as well).
What can I say about Lad so far? He is clever, and stubborn. He refuses to have anything to do with using the pen for his business and will hold it for as long as he has to not to do so. I am working on training him to eliminate on command in hopes I can train him to use the pen that way. So far he is picking up commands very quickly. He is curious and into everything. House training is going well and he sleeps mostly through the night (a little whining here and there). We will see how things go as he ages.
Lad is home. Who is Lad? He is my new SD prospect puppy. Born Dec 5th 2014, 1/2 Rough Collie and 1/2 Great Pyrenees/Anatolian. So far he is doing great. He has had no accidents in the house and slept through the night in his crate like a champ. Don’t want to set the bar too high, we have a long road ahead of us still.