I kind of groaned after reviewing my post for last month’s Positive Pet Training Hop; I felt like we had accomplished nothing new since then! What was I going to write about this month? All of the things Luke and I had been working on over this last month were basically the same, and had we made much progress? I felt like we’d been all over the place with training; and I wasn’t sure who had the shorter attention span, me or Luke.
We’re still working on leg weaves and muzzle training. Last month getting Luke to not bark at the contractors working on our house was a focus, but construction has quieted down (though should be starting up again soon), so we did switch to a couple different things.
Before sitting down to write this, I got out his treats to work with him and see where we’re really at.
We had decided the muzzle could be a great tool to help us with getting our cat Samantha integrated back into the complete household, along with other things. I’ve been working with Luke, taking him into Sam’s room on leash and telling him to “leave it” if he started to tense up towards her or lunge at her (which I still think is just play lunging, but not a chance we can take). Every time I’d think we were getting there, he’d lunge at her again. But he’s learning to be calm, and will often just lie down on the floor or in the dog bed that’s in there. I’VE learned to watch for his tenseness and stop him before he goes into the lunge.
I realized we are making progress with the muzzle too! We’ve gotten to where I now smear peanut butter inside it, he sticks his nose in to lick it off, and I can put the buckle around his neck without that bothering him. I have to take this VERY slowly because he can be sensitive to noises (jingling of the buckle) and touching. I blew it with the gentle leader I tried on him by trying to go too fast. But I feel like we’re getting close to actually buckling it.
Leg weaves had been going slowly. He seemed to have trouble focusing when we worked on these. At the old house, we had a quiet place to work on tricks; here at the new home we’re always near a window that can distract him. I wondered if he just didn’t like this trick; though I also think it might be going slower because we’re not using a clicker. He would do the weaves when lured with a treat, but if I didn’t have a treat, he wasn’t interested. Finally, when we worked on them this time, I was able to lure him through with just my hand gestures! We do that about every other time at this point, and as we continue to work on it I’ll use the treats as a lure less and less.
It’s not smooth and still needs work and refining, but maybe by next month the Dadz can help us with some video to share. I want to get him to sit before and after the weave. He does the cutest thing sometimes though….if he screws up the weave and he knows it, he goes into his spin! He’s a smart boy, and knows that he’s going to do something that gets him a treat! So maybe we’ll integrate that in later!
We’re still taking advantage of the everyday opportunities we get to work on things. I got the idea for my sponsored post this week that I wanted to have him sitting in a chair at the computer. We had worked on “up up” for getting up on things, but hadn’t tried chairs yet. Of course, I didn’t start this far enough ahead of time to be able to use it, but I did get his front paws up on the chair with a “stay” so I could get photos. As it turned out, it almost looks like he is sitting in the chair.
I decided to try some photos with him on the couch and the computer on the table there….someplace he’s far more comfortable. That gave me a great opportunity to work on his “stay”. I had an incident a couple of weeks ago when both Luke and Sheba got out of the fenced yard and went running; because I opened the gate and Luke didn’t “stay”. So I knew we needed work on this; along with their “come here” because they romped around for a bit before finally coming back. As we worked on this, Luke did great staying on the couch while I backed further and further away with the camera, using the zoom to take the photos.
As I’ve sat down and written about all of this, I’m feeling better. I feel like we ARE making progress, and even though I know I could be more consistent with what we work on, at least we are doing something. But I still wonder: does it keep it more interesting to be working on a few things at a time; or would we make more progress by only focusing on one or two things instead of many? What do you think – do you train many things with your dog or dogs or just focus on one or two at a time?
We are joining the Positive Pet Reinforcement hop this week. It begins on the first Monday of every month and runs all week long. The hop is hosted by Cascadian Nomads, Tenacious Little Terrier, and Rubicon Days. Please visit them as well as other blogs through the links below for more positive pet training tips.