Thursday, March 27, 2014

Training: Work To Be Done

I'm learning so much! Smart and a good kisser...
We have had two sessions with the trainer in our home. She has so much good info and her style is reward based which gets a better response from Barry than any other type of training. That's not to say that we haven't gotten upset with Barry or impatient with him and raised our voices. The thing is that raising your voice at him or talking sternly (some people say it's how you say it - NOPE) to him does absolutely NOTHING. He totally ignores this and will continue right on doing whatever it is that he shouldn't be doing. In fact I think he kind of likes it. He enjoys the extra attention naughty gets him. He knows we'll run after him and talk to him (in whatever voice) and play with him (he probably thinks we're playing with him when we're trying to get him to stop whatever it is he's doing). The best thing we can do is pay him extra attention when he's being really good (which he is 98% of the time) and then ignore the bad behavior as much as possible (there are times when we cannot ignore or let it go due to the specific nature of whatever he is doing at that time).

Last weekend Barry wound up getting diarrhea. We had planned on having him sit and look at us at each block section during our walk no matter what distractions were around. That was our goal. All that went out the window when Barry couldn't sit but instead would half run to the nearest spot to poo. Poor guy. We don't know what he ate or what he found on the sidewalk the night before. I think we have decided that he has a pretty sensitive stomach. A couple of weekends ago we went to Grandma's and he was given a bit of corned beef. I don't think he was given much but he had loose stools for a few days after that. I think I will continue to incorporate pumpkin with his KONG and food to keep his bowels a little more sturdy. ANYWAY, all that to say we slacked up on the training while he was not feeling well. He was tired and wasn't interested in playing or anything. We didn't want to push it with training.

This is a picture of him from last weekend when he wasn't feeling well. He was in
this position on the couch most of Saturday.
I feel like we fell behind a bit with our regular schedule due to going to visit Grandma (he doesn't go on his usual walks at Grandma's and our schedule is different and so it's not fair to try and train him when we're not following our usual routine) and then again this weekend when he was under the weather. This week will be different. I am determined to work with him daily indoors and incorporate what we can on each walk - well, when Husband walks him and I go out with them as support and treat holder.

Our next training session isn't for a few more weeks so this gives us plenty of time to really work with him and get creative. I can't wait for the next session because I'm confident that Barry will be doing really well at all of the new commands we're showing him and hopefully the weather will be much nicer out.

Here is an example of the chair command. This is the chair we
use for it.
Here is what we're working on with him now:
Chair: We will point and lead him to a chair we have in our living room that he will sit in. He will stay in the chair and he will get rewarded. This is so that when we have someone come over or food delivery we can say chair and he will respond by going to the chair and sitting and staying until he is released with the word okay.
Leave It: We will get an item of medium interest to Barry and have a treat in one hand. We will drop the item and tell Barry leave it. Once his focus is off of the item we will mark with the word yes and reward with a treat. We will eventually make the item he needs to leave it more interesting, like say a pretzel or milk bone type treat but we will still have a treat in hand but the treat we have in hand will be something much more exciting than the milk bone treat. Our goal is to have Barry see something he really wants (like a squirrel) and we'll say leave it and he then looks to us and we reward him for ignoring the squirrel.
Looking & Not Reacting: This one is interesting but it is pretty cool. When we are a safe distance from another dog (for Barry this means 15ish feet) we will have Barry sit and be calm and we'll all watch the dog from our safe distance. Barry will see that we are all calm and he will get rewarded for staying calm and looking at the dog but not reacting. This helps him to understand that seeing another dog is okay and he doesn't need to go nuts or meet the dog like he wants.

I should clarify that by safe distance I just mean the best distance for Barry to not really be interested in the other dog. He's aware but not super interested at that distance. Barry can get very close to most dogs and be just fine. He can even be cordial in an elevator with another dog, but sometimes he goes bonkers.

Now, back to training...

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