a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Chip Training 2

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Chip Training 2

SUMMARY: New dog, so many things.

  • Toenail clipping: He had no problem with the plain clippers clipping off long chunks from the ends of his toenails. They are pretty long. I use a dremel from there, both to dull the sharp corners on the nails and to make it easier to get closer to the quick without actually  hitting it. The dremel fascinated him while I was using it on the other dogs; he kept wanting to put his nose right up to it. But as soon as I turned it on while holding his foot, he'd have nothing to do with that. So I spent some time with treats, just turning the dremel on and off, desensitizing him to the sound and the on/off, much like I did with the dog door flapping. This could be a long process in small steps--e.g., then hold his foot and turn it on/off, hold his foot & bring it closer, actually touch it to his toenail (vibration could feel funny).
  • Grabbing collar: When I reach towards him to grab his collar past his face, he often shies away. I want him to love having me grab his collar, so I'm working on desensitizing that with treats and loving (for example, grab collar, let go of it to pet him and praise him while giving a treat, and other variations).
  • Manipulating using collar: When I try to pull him forward on leash or by hand in his collar in certain situations--e.g., standing next to him and trying to get him to take a step forward--he digs in. I want him to love being directed by his collar. So working on desensitizing that in similar and various ways, e.g., hand in collar, very slight pressure and drop or hold a tasty treat slightly in front of him; release pressure as soon as he moves, and reward.
  • Fetch: In the house, he's bringing the toy back more and more often. Outside, meh, maybe or maybe not. I haven't spent a lot of time working on that; most progress I think comes from (a) not chasing him to get it and (b) playing with him with the toy when he brings it. Need to do more specific work on that.
  • Sit-stay. Is staying a little longer, in the house, as I move a little bit around him. Need lots and lots of work on that--for any dog, that takes a long time of building duration and ignoring distractions. Having to sit and wait for his dinner until I release him is also helping.
  • Down-stay. Holding my fist on the ground in front of  him with a treat is getting him more and more quickly to lie down front first, which is a great start. 
  • Bedtime: Last Thursday night, I left his x-pen open after putting him in to see how the night would go. Tika typically gets off and on the bed a couple of times during the night, but usually starts and ends there. When I woke up in the morning, she was on the floor and he was on the bed and she was back to giving little snarls at him. My dogs normally defer to other dogs, don't want a fight (Chip seems to be the same way, fortunately), so if he went onto the bed while she was on the floor, she wouldn't have tried to get back up but might be unhappy about it. I want her to feel secure in her place, so Friday, Sunday, and Monday, he was back in the xpen with the door closed. Tues and last night I left the door open again, and he seemed to keep off my bed; found my extra dog bed in the closet and slept on that. So I think things are OK like that.
  • Little dogs: He's loving playing with the local chihuahua mixes when he gets a chance and they seem to love him. So cute, all of them!
  • "Give" toy: Either he's a very quick learner or he already knew this from his previous home. He might think about it for a moment, but then hands it over.
So, let's see, priorities (not in specific order, but things I want to remember to focus on, with maybe a few minutes each day):
  • Try teaching a couple or 3 cute tricks, definitely including nose touch to a target. Maybe also "shake" and hold a biscuit on his nose? This is one of the main things that I need to know about him--how quickly does he learn when not having to be desensitized about something first?
  • Desensitize reaching for collar and being pulled by collar.
  • Sit-stay for a little longer duration.
  • Fetch more reliably.
  • Recall ("come").
  • Basic flatwork (following me closely as I walk/trot/run in a circle or various directions), but that will be challenging until he's desensitized to pulling on his collar.
  • Basic going between jump uprights and over a jump of slowly increasing height--also might be difficult if I can't guide him with the leash. Goal is to set up a simple jump chute (jumps in a line with barrier on each side) to try to get him moving quickly through it. Normally I'd take a lot more time and approach things in a different way, but I really want to see how he looks when jumping over jumps. If I can achieve that in the next 2 weeks, that's  the other main thing that I need to know about him.

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