Monday, April 21, 2014

Good News and More Good News

On Easter Ara and Luke got a great gift, thanks to anonymous donor Luke's next two classes are fully funded. We can not express how much it means for Ara and how thankful we are to everyone who has helped and is helping us.

Today Luke got his AKC S.T.A.R Puppy Certificate and Medal in the mail. Ara was so happy so I snapped a picture of both of them :)

Training tonight was just in our yard and common areas. We worked on loose leash, Heeling (with turns), Sit, Down, Stay, Stairs and doors, and walking in tight areas. We had minor distractions just normal birds chirping, wind blowing and kids somewhere talking. We worked on many surfaces as well today such as side walks, asphalt and grass.

Now that he is more solid on his heel I want to make sure he heels no matter where we are or what we are walking on. At first tonight he wanted to play as soon as we walked to the grass area, but I gave him the heel and had to do a couple of leave its (for sniffing things) and he went right back to work mode and did just great with loose leash and heel. We used two trees in our yard and did some figure 8s for tight turns, as well as walked through a tight row of trees and he did awesome.

We did sits and downs with vocal ques only (he can also do them with hand signals only as well) I only had to prompt him with a hand signal once or twice. We went to our back common area and I made sure there was no other dogs or people and did some sit stays with a leash drop and about 10ft pace around him. Again he did very good with no problems.

Next we worked on door ways and stairs. On doors he is suppose to wait at any regular type of door until told to go through weather coming in or going out. He did very well and I did not even have to use the "wait" command this session. With stairs there is a little more training than normal. Most times you want to teach a dog to not rush the stairs ect. With Luke since he will be used for mobility (balance and brace) he has to be in a specific position for going up and one for going down stairs. For Ara she needs him to be step up slightly forward of her step so she can use him to brace and balance, when going down she needs him slightly behind for brace and balance. If he is too far forward when going down the stairs it could cause her to loss her balance and not have the proper support. We can not start any weight bearing mobility work until Luke is full grown and his growth plates close, but we can lay the foundation for what he will do in the future.

No we only had one hiccup tonight and that is when we walked real close to our car, he was walking next to the car with me on the outside. He balked and tried to switch to my other side, I tried once more with just an encouraging voice and he wanted to switch I switched to using a lure. I put a treat in my left hand fist and we walked again toward the car and he was so interested in the treat in my hand he walked right next to the car around to the back and then to the other side front at which time I gave him the treat. I did this once more with the treat, he did very good. We did another loop around the car this time with no treat and he did very well and I gave him a treat.

We are also doing some clicker training for newer commands. I have quickly learned that there is no one way to train a dog and sometimes you have to use several methods because every dog learns a different way and sometimes if you are running into a wall with training you need to switch it up. Everything we are doing right now is just basic obedience that every dog can do. It is a great for bonding and very beneficial for owner and dog.

I am teaching Luke to do targeting I am starting off with the "paw" command first (I will do the nudge target after he has the paw command down). I put him in a sit and held my hand near his paw, I clicked and treated when he put one of his paws in my hand. Now Luke loves to use his paws so he picked it up very quickly. With in an hour I was able to point to my knee and say paw, he would then put his paw on my knee. Because Luke will be a large dog when full grown "paw" targets will be for hitting buttons/switches (paw up or paw touch) and for possibly getting help as I dont want him barking for help in most situations.

Also we did some Luke and Ara training today. Ara lead Luke around the house with his leash on and gave commands such as sit, down and heel. They both did very good once they got the initial wiggles

So all in all it was a very busy and productive week. It is funny I did not realize how much we have done this past week until I sat down to write it all down. I keep a short spread sheet of what we do and outings, with some notes, but here I am able to really expand upon what we did and it amazes me every time.

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