Doggie DI Boot Camp–Day Four

Above: Photo by Vincent Roux…these are not the deliquent duo but we are hoping we can get them to be calm and integrated like these to so we can get them into the home !

Yesterday went well–thank goodness! It was a relief to see progress as day three was so dismal. The deliquent duo actually responded better than I expected. Both seem to understand the whistle/clicker concept now and are making efforts to comply with the rules.

Rule #1: No jumping on the fence, gate, or the Doggie DI. This should also include no displacement jumping in the air, on the crates, and on each other–but that is probably too much to expect from the crazy canines at this point.

Rule #2: Pitching a fit by howling, screaming, and tearing at the crate with paws will only result in getting you wet with the syringe. The fit pitching also results in isolation until the dog completely settles down. Even so, both dogs (they are siblings) have big separation anxiety when separated. On that note, the dog going out to work or for a walk could care less–until she returns. Shows how little it matters when going out for a interesting time.

Rule #3: Dashing out the gate is not allowed until the release word is given. Staring at the gate and willing it to open will not work. Moving closer to the gate to see if dashing through will work also causes massive delays–and movement further away from the gate.

Rule #4: Sitting at attention and giving the Doggie DI eye contact will usually earn a treat and even affectionate physical contact.

Rule #5: Jumping wildly and attempting to mouth the leash and collar will only delay the walk and result in the leash and collar being put away or dropped on the ground until good cos-mutt-politan behavior is exhibited.

Sadly, the deliquents don’t like to play with toys. This makes it difficult to dissipate the excess energy. The owners told me they only like water bottles so I have a couple I am taking over for them if they do well again. I can get them to run after balls and other objects in the play area but they don’t have any interest after they chase them. Once in a while they will hold balls in their mouth but only for a few seconds.

Yesterday was the first day I separated them for the leash work. Each did pretty well. I managed to get heel positions from both. Two thoughts on this: 1) It was a total accident and it won’t happen again and 2) we have been working on them walking side by side during our first few days so the heel positioning was a natural for them to take with me as I was the only one with them at the time.

Finishing the day was rewarding because they have calmed down enough that I can actually sit and give them attention and physical contact IF they are solo–forget it if they are together. We work on the duo manners in the play pen where I can sit elevated on a hay bale. Each dog still gets really crazy because they crave attention but craziness only results in my withdrawing the attention–so they are getting better.

Both dogs are now giving me eye contact and are able to focus a little. They are very sweet and work at showing me they understand that concept. I hope to begin actually training specific behaviors today.

The staff at the camp commented that they could see a change on their night rounds when they put them up. They are much more cooperative and easier to manage.

I have to say that makes me happy but at this point I don’t see any way that they could be finished by day 15 and so will stick to the 30 day timeline as originally planned. We have a long way to go to get them integrated into a home.

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