Friday, June 6, 2014

Learning the Art of Relaxation

We have had a pretty tough couple of weeks due to Ara's health issues, Ara faces a lot of challenges in life. Once fully trained Luke will help her with many of those challenges.

Even though these past few weeks have been difficult they have also been productive. We have started doing the Protocol for Relaxation it is a two week (but can be modified) training program aimed to teach the dog how to be relaxed with different things going on. Right now we are working in the house. I am sure I look really silly when doing this training as it has you jogging in place, clapping your hands as you walk and such. We are on day 6 and already I can see Luke learning to relax and ignore stimuli. Once we complete the two weeks we will do it all over again outside with a few more distractions. Then will modify it a bit so Ara can do the training in the house. This program can be used as much as needed. So if you have a dog that is reactive to certain stimuli you can work your way up to that point. For example if you have a dog that barks at other dogs you would start out doing this program in the house, then moving it to outside then finally progressing to an area that has dogs or in list the help of friends/family that have dogs.  It may seem like slow progress but you are laying a solid foundation for your dog being able to relax instead of react.

Other things we have worked on is:
 Paw Touch - I introduced a button push but he kept trying to lay down on it, I realized I introduced it to soon and we will go back and work on doing more regular paw touches before I intro it again.
 Give - basically having him retrieve a ball or toy and delivering to me by dropping it in my hand.
 Basic Obedience - We practice this everyday just 10min here and there
Look At That Game - Luke finds this game very boring, so I am working on find away to make it more interesting for him, may need to break out a squeaky toy.

Our Rally classes are going very well. Luke is the youngest dog in the class (the others are 4yrs old and up) and he does really well with the commands. He is also learning to focus on me and watch me for direction. Tonight we did a half course and even though he was a little keyed up he did very well. He does a lot of barking in the beginning of class when everyone is coming in and with all the energy in the room, but we are working on it and it is getting much better.

After class tonight we went to walgreens for a few things. It was not very busy and he was a rock star. Even when a manger tried to talk to him he looked at her then me and I told him leave it and we kept going. He walked great next to the cart and did not get distracted by the people in the isles. At check out I put him in a down stay and he did great. I am so proud of him. It really helps to make sure he is well exercised before we go out any place to train, to help get some of that puppy energy out.

Tomorrow we start the Better Manners Class and at the end of this class Luke should be ready for the Canine Good Citizen test. After this class I am hoping to have Ara start working with Luke more through private lessons and at home. She is already helping me train the nose touch at least once a week.

This weekend I am going to test his skills and see in what areas we need more work and in what areas we can move on to the next step. I will write a new blog post about the test and the different levels and such next week with his results.

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