Thursday, June 29, 2017

Dog Training Progress Report - Day 2

As I wrote about yesterday, me and the pups are back in basic training.  They aren't puppies anymore, and we aren't beginners at this- but we are loving going in with the "Mind of a Beginner" approach.
They still look and act like puppies a lot of the time! :)
I'm revisiting all the first things we learned about 6 years ago when I was first training them.  Little fun stuff like walk and sit beside me, "touch"- aka Bonk Your Nose on My Hand, and "go to your mat".  It's easy, they're successful, they're getting loads of treats and we're all feeling great about ourselves and each other.

I asked Fermin to join Ricky and I for a short walk today.  Ricky tends to get overly excited because it's usually a rare or special occasion that Fermin comes on a walk or anywhere else with us.  Ricky gets wild-eyed and pant-y.  If Fermin walks off- HIGH ALERT: Ricky gets extremely agitated. Howling and monkey business ensue.  It's quite a scene, and we all hate it.

So today, no big deal.  Just a short, slightly boring walk. With Fermin.

What was amazing to me is how focused Ricky was on me.  He's highly food motivated, and because we had been doing a lot of fun training sessions with treats, and he knew I had them with me for the walk, he definitely focused on me when I asked him to.  But he wasn't overly obsessed either- which can occasionally happen if I use treats that are too enticing.  So I just used his kibble.

I had Fermin walk off from us a few times.  The first time, Ricky watched closely at what was happening, seemed slightly agitated, and pulled on the leash a bit.  But I redirected him with the "touch" game.  He quickly refocused on ME.  We did this a few times, where Fermin would walk off and then rejoin us a few minutes later.  And by the 4th time, Ricky didn't seem to care at all.  In fact, he didn't even notice until I had him turn around in Fermin's direction and sit.  Then he patiently and calmly waited for Fermin to re-join us.

My dogs LOVE fun training sessions- They're really more like playing/snacking sessions, so what's not to like?  And I'm loving how easy it feels- Lucy and Ricky are so smart.  They remember things we haven't even practiced in years.  And they catch on quickly to new ideas too.  And more than anything, I know this focused attention time together builds our bond in a healthy way.
Taking a little break during our walk today. ❤️

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