We had a fun and busy week. I also learned an important lesson about training on Saturday so make sure to read down to the end of this entry :)
Monday - Re introduced the clicker, since I am now training more complex things I will start using the clicker more. I had stopped using it for a while so I wanted to make sure to re introduce it and of course use a high value treat like cheese. We also worked on Paw Touch, really differentiating between a light touch and the "push" ( a harder touch) command.
Tuesday - We are using a laser pointer as a target for nose touch. Right now we are just working on just short distance of a few inches. Nose touches the dot, click and treat. My goal with this is that when A is self harming/picking at her lips, when she needs help refocusing or to do a check in, I can do a laser point and Luke will give her a nose touch, eventually he will do this as an automatic response. We also worked on "paw push" with the light button, heel position and place.
Wednesday - More laser nose touch and paw push. We also worked on some Rally Obedience and sitting straight in the heel position. He tends to try and sit sideways, this is why rally is such a great fun yet functional thing to do. It teaches him body awareness and to really pay attention.
Thursday - Laser nose touch and Heel position with distance with out using a leash. I want Luke to be able to get in a proper position from any distance or direction (again rally o incorporates this as well). Heel is a position not an action. So for example I will say come to heel, I will also be teaching "side" which is the same position just on the right side which is where A will need him most the time.
Friday - A day off from specialty training. We work on obedience everyday.
Saturday - Our weekly outing to walmart, this time it was just me and hubby as the kids were at Grammy's house. This is were I learned something about training. First thing I realized is that he knows when A is with him he really has to be focused on her. With out her there he looked around more and was a bit distracted. I fixed this by just reminding him to focus on me. We got to work on some of the Pubic Access Test thanks to a great family with small kids. Luke did a great sitting polite greet for the older kids and then did a very good down to be petted by the smaller kids. He also gave some kisses away too. I also learned a second lesson, not to confuse the dog by telling him to do something he knows he shouldn't. As were were shopping we worked on "block" and at one point I wanted him to sit while we were spending some time looking at some items. He refused to sit and I could not figure out why, he would down but refused to sit and kept giving me a funny look. I let it go and we finished shopping with him doing great the rest of the outing. After getting home it dawned on me what had happened. I have trained him to never sit in a grocery store. Since A will use Luke as a guide (grounding ect) and for balance, we worked really hard to eliminate his automatic sit when we are shopping or at events ect, so he does not drag her down or unbalance her. I had not even realized we had hit that level of work, until he willfully disobeyed in order to do what he was trained to do. (I tested this yesterday at therapy by having him sit when A was doing something else and he did just fine) While I was proud of Luke I also see the importance of making sure you are training exactly what you want. If not it will take twice as long to train and you will be doing a lot of re-training.
Sunday - We had a great day at the lake. Luke got to play in the water dig on the beach and even get in the boat. Even though he was off duty he still watched over A.