We went to Denia Park again last night. Lad did well walking politely beside me when I talked to him. We played fetch in the batting cage, he did well with that. I worked with him on off leash heel work in the batting cage as well. He struggled with being calm and settled during practice. He just could not lay down chew on his toys. He got up and paced or pestered people. This is a huge change from his behavior even a month ago when he would lay nicely through hours of practice, something he has been doing since he was a small puppy. I was hoping exercising him would wear him out but it doesn’t seem to help. Now I am just counting on him maturing out of it.
Lad is still struggling with the entryway. Today he was far slower to accept food in the entryway. He showed the same stress signs, lip licking and turning away from the food but made good eye contact in between. He is also struggling with listening to cues such as “leave it” and whining excessively when frustrated or bored. He is pestering Tharen constantly, he follows him around and climbs on him it is really bothering Tharen. He will not leave the other dogs alone and is “deaf” when paying attention to the other dogs or sniffing. Work is slow right now.
It took Lad 5 minutes to start taking food while standing in the entryway. He showed some stress signs, looking away, and lip licking but after he started taking food he was excited to work. I opened the door and he started refusing food again, I turned him around to face the gate then back around and he was willing to accept food. When we moved out of the entryway he worked much better.
Took Lad to a little informal training class at Ft Woof Dog Park this evening. The class was led by a fellow SD handler. There were not many people there, the sky was dark, weather was promising rain, but I felt like it was important to get out. It was just one family with a new puppy, the trainer with her 3 dogs and Lad and me. This was probably best for Lad’s first class, he is in the middle of “jerk face adolescence” and a fear stage so he is a bit of a handful. He has gone from a dog who I think easily could have passed CGC to a dog who gets quite hyper around people and out of his mind around other dogs. He isn’t aggressive or even reactive, he is just whiny and wants to play. He will listen to me, to a point, but not like he needs to. I can keep him in check usually but he will just stand and whine, or, he will jump and make a fool of himself.
We just spent time working on him being calmer around the other dogs. When he was calm we rewarded him. She did feel like he has a good temperament for SD work, he just needs to mature and work on his couple of issues (not that they are huge issues just puppy stuff). She said he is doing well and I’ve done good work with him so that felt great to hear. However I have now heard twice that he probably won’t get as large as I would like/need. Going to keep working with him and watching him but I’ve run the numbers several times and really 80 would be pushing it 90-100 would be far more comfortable. I don’t think he is going to make that.
There was a photographer at the class tonight and she got some good photos of Lad
Second Day working in the entryway was the same slow going. Lad still refused to take food from me, just stood next to me, made eye contact and looked away when offered food. Finally after several minutes he seemed to realize we weren’t going anywhere and started accepting food. After some work in the entryway we were able to do some other training in gear around the house. Worked on walking nicely, ignoring the other dogs, blocking and under.
For training today we moved to the entryway, first step to moving outside. For 10minutes we stood with Lad refusing to take food and becoming more stressed. Lots of lip licking and yawning, he did offer some eye contact but when I praised him and offered a reward he refused it. Finally he accepted a bite of food, refused some more, accepted another bite, we eventually got to the point of him taking food and working reasonably well. We worked on walking (not far) and blocking.
Tonight we went to Denia park. Lad was doing much better walking nicely beside me and being attentive to staying at my pace while we walked from the car to the park to set up. We then went to play in the batting cages we found last week. We played some fetch and worked on some recalls. I worked him on off leash heeling, he did very well. There was a little league team playing tee-ball on the field right next to us and he was interested in them but managed to stay reasonably well focused on me, only looking at them a few times. When he was worn out we walked back, he walked pretty well all the way back as well.
He did a lot better accepting food and paying attention to me this time. He is still refusing to “down” when told, or he will down but not remain in down even though the ground was not nearly as warm today. His biggest issue is whining. He whined at the guys playing hockey on the court, he whined when he was bored, he whined when there were other dogs (he whined really loudly and pulled to get to the other dogs, he loses any kind of focus with other dogs around), he just whined a lot. I was able to get him to walk with me, and go through some commands even with a puppy in the distance, but getting him to lay down and be still wasn’t possible. And the whining continued.
Today was another slow start to training. Lad refused food for the first 5minutes but after we got into the swing of things he did a good bit better. We worked some more on blocking both front and back and backwards circles which were better again today. We also introduced leaning against my leg which I’m hoping to build as a task for when I am dizzy. Tomorrow I will try out working in the entryway.
Tonight was Derby night, since HOQ closed things have been up in the air. Tonight we were at Denia Park for practice, naturally Lad came along. Denia is a giant park, with rec center, a couple of play grounds, several ball fields, and the hockey court the kids skate on. Tonight I discovered an empty batting cage and let Lad run for a while. I wanted to work on his off leash commands, he is iffy on recall or really any commands when there are distractions (so really out of the house at all). We played fetch with a squeaky toy and worked on recall, down and sit. He did all right, still need to work on recall and down/stay. He walked nicely with me to the practice court, down to the field, to the playground and back to the practice court.
During practice Lad had a hard time settling. The ground is hot so I’m sure he was uncomfortable laying down on it. He was reasonably calm standing near me but would not lay down. When another dog showed up he became over excited, whining and pulling to try to get to her.
We stopped at Tractor Supply after derby to pick up dog food. He did well walking in and down the isles but when we got to the check out he got spooky. Terror and I were looking at some wagons near the front and he was very jumpy, tucking tail and giving whale eye. He pulled hard trying to get out of the building shying away from the fans in the entry way, the same fans we had passed on the way in without problem. He started pulling hard, slammed against my legs and I nearly fell over him. This seems to happen a good bit at TSC, not sure why.
Today didn’t start out great, for some reason my dogs are all crazy when it rains and it turns out Lad is no exception. He spent most of yesterday refusing to do his business (even though it wasn’t actually raining just wet) and wound up peeing in his crate over night. He gave no warning he needed to go, he has never actually peed in his crate before, not even as a tiny puppy so it was a bit of a shock to wake up to. So the first thing I did this morning was wash a dog (who doesn’t appreciate baths) and clean a crate and bathroom.
That said he actually did very well with his training today. We used his new vest and while he refused food the first time it was offered he did show any stress signals and was quickly taking food from my hand. He was not able to run again today (because the yard is still wet) but he worked well anyway. We were even able to work on pivoting and moving his rear end which looked great. He pivoted a full circle backwards around me, something he has never been able to do before. I will be taking him to Denia park again tonight for derby practice.