We like to tell people to wait to see changes in your dog at 3 days, 3 weeks, and 3 months. Here we are at the 2 week mark and I have already seen quite a bit of settling and pushing the boundaries. Thankfully, I see things before they become an issue and can intervene.
Better about crating
Daisy now meets me inside the crate when I ask her to go in. She is not waiting for the cookie to appear in the crate first. This might not seem like a big thing, but for a dog trainer, we are very clear about the difference between rewards and bribes. She understands she’s being rewarded for going in the crate, not waiting for the bribe. If cookie goes in the crate first its a bribe, if Daisy goes in the crate first, she gets a reward.
Pushy behavior about food
I was filling a reward station container at the kitchen counter with Daisy and Opie swirling around my feet. Opie loves food so he was waiting for a kibble to drop on the floor. Daisy also saw dropped kibble opportunity so she dropped her head and started to stare at Opie. Opie is mostly blind so he did not see this hostile body language but I did. I immediately stopped and put them both in a sit on the other side of the kitchen. Opie loves food and cues mean rewards so he happily obliged. It was enough of a boundary to have Daisy reconsider what she was planning.
I fed Opie 2 kibbles in a row. Daisy tried to take the second one from his mouth so I asked her to “sit” again, and began some “treat in turn” game. When she was politely waiting her turn for her kibbles I resumed my chores.
Training is progressing
Daisy understands the clicker, “get it” and “find” as marker cues. “Sit” is about 60% reliable, and “Down” is still very hard. She can still only handle about 5 minutes of training at a time and still gets a bit flustered when I switch cues or end a session. This looks like biting harder for her food or sniffing to find her reset treats when they are quite obviously in front of her. For now I will let her work on these cues in the house.
Life skills include waiting for her to sit before letting her in the house or out of her crate. I do not use my cues for these but I just wait until she offers the behaviors. On walks she is starting to realize I feed her on a regular basis if she sticks close by. Sometimes she responds to her name if I call her and there is nothing better happening. If there is stuff, she can’t hear me.
Since she had settled in enough to push some boundaries, I decided to take her swimming at Paws to Swim in Richmond to see if she knew how to Lab. With a little encouragement she was putting her feet in the water and by the end retrieving her toy with her front feet firmly planted on the ramp. Cargo was entered in an agility trial over the weekend so I took her along. She was definitely overwhelmed by all the people and dogs but greeted politely the few people I introduced her to.