We started a new puppy class the day I got Squid home. The first night was just lecturing, last week was the first working night and tonight was our second time working the puppies. It’s so much fun to do a puppy class with your own puppy and I was surprised at how much has happened since last time. We worked on:
All puppies were willingly going back into their crates when released. Squid likes the crate games, but when I started to shut the door when she tried to come out, she would not respond to her release any more. I decided to do some counter conditoning and would shut the door many times and drops treats in the crate every time I did it. I also released her more often and rewarded her more for coming out. I want to be able to use closing the door as a consequence for breaking criteria, but I don’t want her to be worried or scared. I don’t see it much, but I think she is a pretty soft puppy. She also stopped getting her toy on cue when I stood on the leash once when she tried to steal the toy from the ground. I need to build lots of value for closing crate door, collar grabs etc. She stayed in an open crate for most of puppy class when she wasn’t working and I was happy to see that she could control her self when the other puppies did restrained recalls.
It’s Your Choice
All puppies got started on It’s Your Choice today. We want the puppies to stay away from an open hand with treats in it and be still until the treat is delivered to the puppy’s mouth. Most dogs were working on it in a sit and we added the release word. Squid is pretty good at this and I could throw toys around, run away from her, stand still with my back to her and praise her wildly without her breaking her sit. We’re doing a jumping seminar in three weeks and I want her to be able to have skills to do jump grids independently. So we worked on sitting still while I walk away, throw the toy and stand by the toy (with some lateral distance) and then release her when she focuses forward. She was a very good girl!
All the puppies did some restrained recalls last week and we did the same thing today, but added some challenges to the puppies that seemed ready for it. Squid was great. She did two restrained recalls and then I gave her “go see” cue and let her socialize with another puppy. I walked away and called her after a while. She turned to me immediatly and ran as fast as she could to me. We did it twice and she was perfect. We ended with a restrained recall where I added a front cross before tugging with her.
We did collar grabs with all the puppies to make sure that no puppy will avoid the hands reaching for their collar, weather it has to do with a time out or an emergency. A good game for soft Squid and I need to do it more!
Loose Leash Walking
We ended todays puppy class by introducing loose leash walking. This is something that I have been working on with Squid since the first time she got a leash attatched to her collar and it really helps compared to the puppies that have gotten lots of reinforcement for pulling on the lead already. There’s another benefit in starting right away with a small puppy. They usually don’t run ahead of you for the first couple of weeks and you can build loads of value for staying at your side. I need to do more short walks on lead with Squid, she is mostly off leash and I can see that that makes her more likely to run ahead of me when she is on leash. I’ll incorporate small sessions of LLW whenever I take her out and let her run loose.
I am interested in how you incorporated the sit/release into the ‘its your choice’ game. Sounds like a very fun class – I wish I were there.
This might give you an idea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goiWvHtNRqM