Monday, January 05, 2009

Week 4, Spot, Come

Oh boy, not only did we get at least 9 rules to remember, but we also had to try to teach two commands. One was to train the dog to touch an object with it's nose or to come close to it (one of the ways of training the dog is known as Shaping, rewarding the dog for approaching an object or performing an action incrementally, until the dog has completed the process). It took us a long time to get the dogs, particularly Mitch, who was not too keen on the object we first chose for her - an empty water bottle. It worked a bit better when we tried the frisbee, and one of the puppies, Germaine, took to it very quickly. Hazel only had a short couple of minutes to learn this and I don't think she understood the reason I was trying to feed her from the frisbee! She eventually got the idea that she was going to be given a treat when she looked at the frisbee, but we didn't get to the point where she was voluntarily touching the frisbee with her nose, I was still having to waggle the disk before she'd even glance at it.

She did a lot better when we used her to teach the command Come. JI explained that there are three deal breaking commands - come to me, go away, and stay wherever I tell you to. I sort of wonder why we didn't learn these right away, but perhaps they are the hardest level of commands and we needed the weeks to bond with our dogs first. Hazel still pulls on the leash and there's not much I can do to control her when she's got it in her head to go wherever she feels like. Maybe I'm not the right person for her. I feel sad thinking I could be creating more problems for her in the long run. She is sitting on command now, either with a word or the index finger. She has had a couple of problems going into the crate especially when she senses she's going to be in there without any of the other dogs around. She has no problems with the bed, but still needs to learn how to stay on the bed after she's received her treat. If she's to 'graduate' from the program, we're going to have to do a lot more morning sessions.

Goals for the week - work with Hazel at least 2x this week, focus on the bond, spot command, and build up crate training.

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Pike Market Peonies

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