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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Vegas update

It's been a busy week for Vegas!  He had his first puppy class Tuesday night.  He showed me some really nice responses to his sit and down touch cues.  I wasn't expecting that and was pleasantly surprised!  I'm using the same signals that I use with Treasure for now - touch on top of his tail means sit, three quick taps on his front toes means lie down.  A quick double tap on top of his whithers is his marker/clicker signal.  To play the name game, I use blowing lightly on him and then reward him looking in my direction.  I just introduced this at class, but he caught on quickly.  We worked on him keeping the leash loose, which hasn't been an issue for him, and he did a little bit of laying quietly on his mat. 

At home, we are working on luring spin and twist, putting two front feet up on an object, shaking hands, and grabbing his collar for a treat.  We do a lot of training in the bathroom!  There is a necessity for me to be in the bathroom several times each day, and it is a small room with few distractions.  Taking Vegas to the bathroom with me allows me to keep an eye on him, but also affords me a few minutes alone with him without the other dogs around.  I keep his treats cut up in a baggie in the fridge so I can just grab the bag.  This allows me to get in several short training sessions every day. 
I find myself expecting him to see things.  Maybe it's because he has visible eyes?  Maybe it's because he can see some?  Whatever the reason, I try to lure him or expect him to see and respond, and then I'm surprised when he doesn't.  He can see and quickly respond to my hand moving up or down right in front of his face, but cannot usually locate my hand held a foot from his face while I'm trying to lure him.  I need to start the lure at his nose for him to smell and then get him to move after it. 

He still jumps on me a lot.  I think perhaps it helps him to keep track of where I am in space. I am trying to always reinforce him for keeping all feet on the floor.  He comes near me and offers a sit, but then turns his head back and forth looking up, trying to find me.  Often he is looking in a different direction.  But he gets around so well that most of the time it's hard to realize that he has trouble seeing.  He's quick to follow any movement, but he sees it, goes in its direction, and then is sort of lost until he gets close to the object.  If the movement stops, he searches until he finds it. 
Jewell left for the next step of her journey this week, heading to her new home in Maine.  Vegas looked for her a bit the first night.  I had done a good job making sure they had one-on-one time, though.  He is very content now, whether alone with me or with the other dogs.  He is playing with toys more now and is beginning to understand how to play the tug game with me.  The other dogs are including him more in their games, and I see them adapting their games so he can join in.  They run slower and stay closer to him to keep him interested in the game.  They play some games with him much more gently than they do with each other. 
Vegas has been here almost one month.  He's really fitting in well here and learning oh, so much!  

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