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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Class Week Four

Well, we didn't actually make it to class this week.  I ended up working a bit later than normal and didn't get home in time to make it to class.  They did miss us, however, and sent us the homework by email.  Isn't email a wonderful thing?!  So this week, the big thing is that they started teaching stays and leave its.  So I started teaching Treasure to stay.  I have already been giving her more than one reward if she stays in position, so she is learning to stay in position longer and wait to see if another treat is coming.  I have also been careful to give the release signal and then I actually help her to move out of position when we are finished.  I've tried to not let her decide when to move out of position on her own. 

Treasure doesn't always move when I release her, which is why I help her to move.  Maybe if she anticipates me helping her to move when she gets the release signal, she will start to move on her own.  So, back to stay.  Now I give her the cue for sit or down, praise and treat, and then quickly give the new cue for stay.  I'm using a firm touch to the front of her chest.  Then I feed, pause, feed, and release.  So the only difference is that now I'm naming the stay part of the exercise. 

Leave it is a new thing we've been working on anyway.  As Treasure is getting more comfortable in her new home (remember, she's only been here for a couple months), she is also getting a bit naughtier.  She tried to steal the paper wrapper from my hoagie one night while I was watching TV and eating.  And just this past week, she has figured out that if she puts her front feet up on the coffee table, she can get closer to whatever it is that she smells!  Once she knows she's been found out, she will leave things alone, so that is good.  Because I'm a dog trainer, I know that I have to stop this behavior now.  But the big softie part of me chuckles silently to myself.  It's great to see her feeling so at home as to unbuckle her collar now and then and let her hair down! 

I've been working on getting sits in different positions around me and with me standing up or kneeling down, sitting on the couch, while in bed at night watching TV, etc.  Her sits are coming much easier and her downs from a sit are great.  This week I've been trying (in vain, mind you) to get her to down directly from a stand.  This used to be the only way she would down, and she was very good at it.  But now that I've taught her the sit, I guess I need to reteach the down from a stand.  Dogs - they always keep you guessing!  So we haven't done very well with the down from a stand this week. 

I was amazed last night to see Treasure turn around and come to me from about four feet away when I blew on her!  Of course, it might have helped that I was holding some very tasty goodies as well!  She does love to eat, this girl!  Because she is not extremely active, I have to watch her food intake or she starts to get a bit fluffy.  Although, as she is getting more and more comfortable here, she is trotting more frequently around the yard, and she has started to invite me to play with her by play bowing at me.  Together, we are trying to figure out just how she likes to play with me.  I'm not so sure she knows exactly how to play with a person yet.  When I play back, sometimes she will engage with me for a moment or two, but other times she acts confused and walks away.  Usually she tries to get me to play with her after her morning trip outside. 

Treasure snuggles with me at night and after our trip to OH, she tends to creep up next to my head ... looking for her own pillow, no doubt!  It doesn't take long to spoil her, you know.  Just this past week, she has been trying to climb on top of me in the morning before I get out of bed.  Sometimes I even get Treasure kisses on the face.  She is also showing more and more interest in toys and in playing with them.  Sometimes the wonderful toy that she finds to play with and chew on is not so much a toy in my eyes, however!  But the other day when I wiggled a toy at her, she followed it and tried to bite at it a couple times, before getting bored and walking away. 

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