Doggie DI Boot Camp–Week Two Day Five

Since I didn’t get much sleep last night, today was tough. However the girls were pretty sweet. They complied with the rules to let me in without too much fuss but were a bit unruly in anticipation of going for a W-A-L-K…so we didn’t.

See how we trainers are?

They were not compliant on the rules on the perimeter gate so the window of opportunity closed. When shaping a behavior there are times when a time interval has to be established. If a response does not occur within a certain time–they lose the opportunity and we move on to something else. They lost the opportunity for a walk because the required behavior was not there.

This is where a lot of people fall short in their behavior maintenance. Exceptions only lead to worse behavior. There dogs MUST be manageable or they will not have a good life at home. These are the foundational rules which need to be ingrained on every gate and every entry and exit.

Don’t feel sorry for the gals, I only had to leave once during this boot camp when they were not learning at all.

So, instead of going out the gate, we went into the play pen. I left the girls to prep a few things and they refused to wander and explore.

What did they do? Pine at the gate for me.

Honestly, they watched my every move. This is sad on many levels because they don’t exhibit normal patterns and I had hoped they would play together…but they are progressing and so I can only hope. Remember they never played when we started boot camp–and now they love fetch and chasing the kick ball.

Since they adhered to the gate rules when I returned, so we played kick ball again and the fetch game. They don’t have to bring back the kick ball–the main idea is to get them running and listening to what I say. Playtime is for blowing steam and having fun BUT also I do integrate behavior modification and training into the session.

The interesting thing that happened today is that dog “B” actually sat down to chew on a synthetic chew toy. This is GREAT since they have not shown any interest in chew items.

Chewing and destruction happens to be a big problem–forget toys they will destroy their beds, and anything else that is around. They have ignored other items so I will get them some new chew toys on Monday and introduce them.

Dog “B” waiting for the balls per the rules. The fetch games requires that the dogs sit and wait for me to give the release word as I throw the ball. The dogs also have to release the ball to me upon return. They actually initiated the retrieve–a breed trait–which I also reinforced with a bridge to communicate that was the right thing to do and to anchor it.
Dog “A” being reprimanded verbally for being pushy. Notice her ears, expression, and that she has begun to sit. The reprimand was a verbal interupter such as “ahh, ahh” and the command was “leave it”
Dog “A” after the verbal correction–in a sit position, waiting for the ball, still needing more refinement because she is still too close for my liking.
Sitting so I’ll kick the ball and delayed compliance from dog “A” this is something the dogs take turns doing. One will comply right away and the other will delay. The rule is that both animals must be in a sit position for me to throw for fetch and optional on kick ball, but if I ask, they need to s-i-t.
Running in the play pen after the kick ball–now the favorite toy.

I don’t know if I told you but I just learned that the dogs never had any kind of contact with humans until recently. They were so wild that the original owner kept away from them and slipped their food bowls under the gate.

No wonder they are so crazed for attention and affection!

They both are so entrenched with the ballistic patterns it is tough to get the right response 100% of the time. However, we are at about 80-90% –so that works for now. I have a couple of weeks left in the intensive program and anticipate success.

Neck and neck retrieve. One dog has the kick ball and the other dog has a tennis ball.
Retrieving kick ball and the other dog is waiting to see if I will throw a tennis ball. Sometimes I will kick the other ball (there are two kick balls) when the other ball is brought back so I can keep them moving. It tires them out…and remember? A tired dog is a good dog!

Playing with the kick ball.
Get that kick ball!

In the pen we worked a little on “come,” “release” ( or “give”) and “leave it.” They know the “leave it” command pretty well–compliance in high excitement can be an issue though.

We did not have any distractions like yesterday since everybody else was in for a while as the camp owner was gone. Dogs are able to focus and comply easier when the distraction level is minimal. The conditions today were good for learning a new behavior.

So, I took each out on their own for one-on-one work on “down.” The good news is that both did not pitch any type of fit when left alone nor did they scream and whine. This is good.

The one left in the pen did not move away from the gate once we moved off to work. BUT upon return neither tried to escape through the gate. This is a very good sign. They forget but they do get it and with practice should only continue to get better.

Dog “A” did excellent. She has a sold minute and a half “sit, stay” at six feet. She also got the “down” behavior by the fourth try. A tummy rub seems to be the preferred reward after releasing from the behavior!

Dog “B” is doing okay. She has a solid 35 second “sit, stay” at four feet. She did get the “down” but is slower on this. She also likes the tummy rub idea, too.

Once we returned to their quarters. I crated both and then worked each one in front of the other. Dogs learn from watching each other and I was able to get each one to work a bit better by alternating.

The feeding went well. Both dogs were only about four feet apart and didn’t try to invade the other’s dish.

Sunday is going to be a day of rest for all of us. I want to see how they act when they don’t get out and worked for a day. Also, I am beat. Nothing like training and hiking up and down hills several hours a day at high altitude–best work out you can get!

Next week the dogs are going to be taking rides with me to different parts of the valley. I’ll be integrating them into a home and things should start to get more interesting–maybe not to you but the learning curve is going to be a tough one because I want the gals to be able to work onsite at their own home sometime before they are released to go home.
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