Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Stocking Thief

We lost a few socks this week.  Gunnar is an opportunistic shredder.  So, I put out a penny bottle setup for him.  Sure enough, it didn't take more than a minute for him to spy the sock, and drag the bottle crashing to the ground.  He left it alone until the next day, when he gave it another shot.  Same result.  It's been untouched for a few days now.   Mary set him up with one of her socks hanging from the laundry basket.  Sure enough, he went for the bait and scurried off when the bottle crashed to the laundry room floor.

We have a few bottle planted around the house, working on that extinction thing.

First Attempt at "Down"

Mary gave the command a shot.   On the first attempt, he fought for about 3 minutes before giving in.  Biting, jumping, turning, the whole range of tricks.  The second attempt took only about 20 seconds.

I gave it a shot after dinner.  No challenge here!  Almost immediate response.  Obviously needs to be worked on some more.

Is Puppy Training Exhausting?

I wonder if others in the class are experiencing the same thing we are.   Gunnar is exhausted after the class.  Kinda' nice!  Right now he wandered off into the bedroom and is sacked out, away from the noise and hubub.

Uh, oh!   I think he heard me typing.   He's back!!!!!

Dog Training, No. People Training, Yes.

I can't say that I've ever watched any of those Dog Whisperer shows, or others of that ilk, but I guess I thought "training" a dog would be sort of straight forward.  After all, I grew up with lots of dogs, and we never did anything special to get them to become well-behaved members of the family.  Turns out the intuitive part of dog training just isn't there.  It all seems so obvious as we hear interpretations of how dogs think/ act/react. 

A fun class today as each puppy was introduced to the "down" command.  We'll have to see how things go when we attempt this outside the classroom setting.  Nice to pick up a take-away on how to deal with the jumping habit that Gunnar has been displaying.  With genetics working against us, I don't know that we'll ever completely eliminate the nipping behaviour, though.   But, there's several class sessions left, so who know?   I'll keep an open mind on that point.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Walking Adventures

Day 3 of controlled walking, and progress is being seen.  That's not to say that Gunnar didn't challenge the control thing.  In fact, he tried a new tactic today;  trying to walk on my right side instead of the left.  I'll give him credit for persistence.  He gave it a shot about 6 different times, and finally gave up.  By the end of the tour he was walking with slack in the leash, right where he belongs.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 2 -The Battle Continues

Today's walk was better than yesterday's, but Gunnar still spent a fair amount of time resisting the leash.  Progress, but no overnight miracles here.  We spent a good amount of time playing in the backyard, and I know he was certainly getting tired.  House guest Kristine came in, and Gunnar began his jumping routine.  It took almost a half hour to get him to calm down.  Excited breathing, wagging tail, snapping jaws!  Eventually, he became accustomed to her being here and started to behave.   As the evening got later, though, the teeth came out.  He started snapping at me as I settled in on the couch.  That's game!  Rather than lash out and resort to physical punishment, I led him off to his crate for the evening.  Not sure if that's the right thing to do, but I think he was getting into hyper spaz mode.

Monday, April 23, 2012

An unusual dynamic at play with Gunnar.  He gets TONS more affection from Mary, yet he is snapping at her, biting the leash, rolling over.   I guess these are signs that he's trying to be the dominant one.  Maybe he gave up on hassling me.  We really need to get this under control before he gets too much bigger. 
Play time turned into an opportunity to practice a few more commands.  Perhaps commands is too strong a word.  Associations is better.  I had just stumbled across the Dog Training Homework section on Peggy's site, and saw that we could work on "Stay" and "Drop" and "OK".  I think this one will take some repetition.  "Stay" was more coincidence than response.  "Drop" was just me tagging the event, and "OK" was essentially validation of Gunnar's decision to chase the ball.  Baby steps.

First Doggy Blog

We just completed our 2nd week of dog training 101 and with no exaggeration, the class is an eye-opener and at times, depressing.  It's mind-numbing to realize how many things you can have done incorrectly in so little time.  When you hear Peggy give an explanation, it makes so much sense.  So, why didn't we understand this up front?  Stupid humans!

You would think that we couldn't screw up something as simple as walking the dog!  Another incorrect assumption.  Turns out we probably have.  With that focus in mind and the weather being pleasant, Gunnar and I went out for our afternoon walk.  Previously I would attach him to the retractable leash, give him room to roam and explore, and reel him in as I anticipated dangers or saw him heading in a direction I didn't want to go.  I understand now that Gunnar was doing most of the leading in these sessions.  Today, I locked the leash at about 2-3 foot length, and with Gunnar at my left, we set out on our normal route.  Honestly, the first 3 blocks or so had Gunnar straining at the leash, gasping as he strode.   Me, I had the leash in my left  hand, with my thumb tucked into my left rear pocket to provide additional support against his resistance.  It took about that long before he finally figured out that slowing down and walking at my pace might be a bit easier on the lungs.  The rest of the walk was pretty manageable with only occasional pulls on the leash.

We took advantage of the numerous intersections to work on the "wait" command.  Gunnar aced that!  My insight into this simple walk was that I had to plan ahead along the course and decide what we were going to to at a given point, and how I would react.  We'll keep working on this.

Now, I think he has earned a little play time, so it's out to the backyard to toss the ball and chase the Frisbee.