Monday, March 31, 2014

Chip Trial Day 3 Morning

SUMMARY: All is well.

Last night at bedtime, everyone settled quickly into their assigned spots. No whining, no restlessness. We slept well and the beasts actually let me wake up on my own... which was rather early, actually, but I feel good.

OK, picture Chip standing right about there, bending his knees slightly,
and springing directly onto the bed. No steps taken. Amazing.

Chip gets treats for going into the x-pen, so Boost goes into her crate alongside his pen
in hopes of getting some, too.

We went for a 2-mile walk first thing at Martial Cottle--I don't really want to get into the habit, because you know how dogs are about habits: Yeah, we ALWAYS go for a walk when we get up, so let's get up NOW! Tika had good energy again today, I'm so happy!



Chip wants to bark at other dogs and people that we pass. The people are pretty easy to manage; after a few where I just pulled the collar up under his ears for better control, kept him on a short leash, and just kept walking straight and chatting calmly, he was fine. Except for the guy on the bicycle with two huge black grocery bags over his shoulders, probably full of cans. THAT was worth some hackles and barking, but I just talked him through it calmly and he didn't go completely ape.

Other dogs are another thing, but he's actually about exactly the same as Tika that way. I manage her by keeping an eye out for other dogs, also bringing her in close so I have good control, and a little hand in the collar with "I don't think so!" calmly but firmly if needed. Also if I remember to take treats, then she gets treats if she's good and pays attention to me instead of the other dog.

He does pull on the leash, but not frenziedly; at the moment, managing it by tiny tense/release cycles: Tense briefly when he pulls, then relax when he eases up (which he has to because I applied a little tension). It's not really training, it's managing, but I might be OK with that. I tried the no-pull harness on him yesterday--it's too big, really, for Tika, although I've been using it with her for a few years now, and so it hangs on him like a tent frame, but it did help a little. Something to consider. (Basically like this

We came home and played in the yard. He's not really interested in chasing a toy much at this time. But he loved to play the Zoomies game again with me saying "go go go!" and "Reaaaaaaaadyyyy..." before it to let him know it's coming. If this keeps working, this could be nifty. Next step would be to work on his recall so that I could recall him out of the middle of a zoom. Yesssss that will be interesting.

So we have three play styles going on: Boost loves to chase the Jolly Ball and bring it back, and some some tugging. Tika likes to play tug and also just hold onto it while I tap it and her feet with my foot. Boost never would play with another toy while Tika has a toy, so she just does the border collie thing around the perimeter. This is normal for us. And now Chip and Zoomies. Well, never let it be said that all dogs are alike in personality or preferences.

For breakfast, I held Chip's bowl for a few seconds to see whether he'd sit on his own. He didn't, but when I said Sit, this time he sat immediately, and I was able to get the bowl halfway to the floor while saying "gooood boy" before he stood up. The second Sit, I got the bowl to the floor and released him with a verbal and a touch.

I'll bet he'll be sitting and waiting on his own within the next couple of meals. Dogs DO learn fast when the motivation is right.

Jeeezzze he eats slowly! But all the bowls are within a few feet of each other and we've had mealtime peace.

Now, for the last 15 minutes, Chip and Boost have been wrestling and chasing all around the office, while Tika lounges and periodically barks to let everyone know that she's still on the job.   This is completely excellent IMHO.

Because he's so dog-oriented, a perfectly dedicated trainer would probably keep him on the short leash at her side for  more of the day than I am doing, but I'm so glad that Boost is playing, too--she does love to play with other dogs and doesn't get much of a chance except at agility trials.

And now--must do some actual work that doesn't involve dogs.


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