Kenai isn’t sure that’s a good enough reason to get up, 16 mo old
Oh, I did a dodo booby-bird again. I mistakenly said in the last post that Karen Pryor wrote a book called “Click to Calm”. Luckily, someone caught the mistake and mentioned it in a comment. I meant to say “Click to Calm” was written by Emma Parsons, and the link to it was on Karen Pryor’s website. I’m sorry. Duh.
And there’s a link to another Dane SD, a program trained dog named Katie, on the blogroll, and here too: http://greatdanesd.wordpress.com/ It’s gonna be alot of fun reading about how Katie and Jade do together when they are an “official” working pair this summer. How exciting! Good luck, hon, and best wishes.
Kenai and BB’s two at once obedience practices are going along pretty well. I’m still working with them both, (Mom?) varying the excitement level and such. Sometimes it’s a get-BB-to-think practice, sometimes it’s an everybody-quiet-down-relax practice.
During the relaxtion practice, I slowly fold back the expen. This morning’s was really good in one way: BB wasn’t relaxing, but Kenai held his stay on the bed, no expen between them, even as his brother popped up and down like a high-strung gopher.
But by the end of it, I was down to whispers, and they were rolled onto their rumps instead of on the haunches like a sphinx. It takes time for Beebs to catch the peaceful drift. He won’t hold if you walk behind him yet, but he’s holding his stay better when I sit on “his” side of the couch with Mom. He’s got “in the crate” down solid.
Sometimes I want a high energy practice from them, so they learn to think even when stimulated. Last night’s was a good example: send Kenai to the couch, BB give me a down. Boom. I raised my voice pitch and energy, then said “BB, in the crate” and “Kenai off”. I got the off, but BB went for the treats. (Bro might get there first…)
The best way to get BB’s attention and prove that the pushy pup don’t get the treats is to immediately turn to Kenai and get a yowza come/stop/down or the like command chain. Little bro sees big bro gettin the chow and really starts to rile up. Then I can lure Beebs to the crate and get a sharp spin and plop in it.
I also use the high energy, competitive practices to build BB’s self control. Oh it’s so hard to “wait” when bro is leaping on the bed and munching his lamb crunchie! Bent Bottoms boy almost trembles with excitement. Lemme practice, lemme practice too *grin*
Kenai has the idea of stay. He’s 99% perfect on stay while I run BB through his commands. I find myself almost forgetting about him! But he sucks up his brother’s scattered energy when I try simultaneous commands. I need to work on how to un-scatter him when his attention looks like buck-shot: everywhere!
They are the two ends of the spectrum, these boys. Kenai’s master of the calm and relax practices, BB can refocus under pressure. Their baselines are so different. That may well be their underlying “village idiots” cause: take them somewhere together and they’re jerks.
Example: our double date vet visit today. Dogs are an excitement trigger, less only than squirrels and cats. Not any kind of aggressive, but hyper play-with-me. When by themselves, just a refocus and reminder with some firmness will do the trick.
When it’s just me with one of the boys:
Kenai will stand beside me, leash loose, and maybe a bit of foot shifting once the initial bows and hopping is corrected. I have to give him a serious “hey”, then when the dog is gone, he can sniff the floor. BB will lay back down once his attention is caught by my fun-pitch “BB”, and given a soft voiced “down”.
I have a pitch when calling BB, from our outside playtimes, that sounds like a coo-coo clock. It never fails to bring a big pair of sparkly brown eyes my way. He will then pay attention and lay down. Alert, wanting to play, but down.
Put them together:
It’s ridiculous. BB can be redirected, but Kenai goes native. We’ve been working on this, and he is so much better by himself!!! Grrr. Anyway, it took 4 dogs coming and going before the leashes were loose this morning, and BB was laying down.
Then the one Maltese decided to fight it’s leash…Both boys went into the stratosphere.
BB took one solid “finger bite” on the neck from beside him to back up and lay down. Oh, and a pointed finger with the maternal look of death. Anyone with a Mom has seen that. Knows it works too. Shrivel me timbers…
Mr. Impervious however, had to have the law laid down on his bull elephant butt. He got snout snatched and growled at from in front of him. Then he moved two steps back and whiney wumped his frustration. I’m almost thankful BB is disabled–his leash yank isn’t half of his brother’s.
I think since BB’s base line of excitement is high most of the time, he’s not as overwhelmed by exciting things. Kenai’s threshold is naturally much lower. Points out my failure when he was a tot: I relied on his non-reactivity, not thinking that might change as he grew up.
So you take that mix of thresholds, drop it in at a vet, with the littermate excitement factor on top, and you don’t get a brownie sundae: you get village idiots. It’s almost embarrassing.
With a morning like this one, we’re all a bit worn out. Brown won’t get up from his nap. BB is splushed out on his couch. Mom’s dead to the world. And I’m blabber-blogging with my eyes at half mast. My requisite nap is as far ahead as I’m going to consider.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on March 30, 2009
Kenai practicing ignore-you outside, 15 mo old
I greatly appreciate the approach of positive, operant conditioning training. It can have remarkable effects, if you know what you’re doing. My only complaint is it takes awhile to actually know what you’re doing, at least for fog-heads like me.
There’s nothing you can’t teach a dog with a clicker and goodie bag they say, and I believe that. Heck, zoos use clicker training on lions and elephants and such, to make vet visits safer. People teach their dogs to balance on balls, and cats to do tricks, and horses too. So you’d think yowza, give me a clicker and a goodie bag, here I come!!
My first foray into it was a yowza, and 6 mo old Kenai went from blah and uninterested to on-fire happy, look-at-me-ma-I’m-having-fun. Oh it was a blast! But like everything else, the beginner’s luck wore off, ya know? Then it was figure out how to shape, how to lure, find what motivates him more than a scent trail now that he’s a teenager.
Learning the ins and outs of clicker training can be a fair amount of effort for the human if the dog doesn’t seem to be willing to give you their attention. Of course, the more traditional training styles have that same problem too. What I’m wanting is simple. It’s got to be simple; fog-head, remember?
That’s why I liked Sue Ailsby’s training levels–good humor, work with what the dog gives ya, little by little, with no 6-wk class time frame. Laid out step by step, so the planning of a cohesive training scheme wasn’t up to me. It’s sort of idiot proof, which appeals to me! http://www.dragonflyllama.com/%20DOGS/%20Dog1/levels.html
And considering my fog and anxiety, telling me to be the perfect calm trainer/whisperer at all times is wasted breath. That’s why I like Karen Pryor’s “Click to Calm” book premise–the handler can’t always have perfect control of their own reactions, so change how the dog responds to the handler’s reactions. http://www.clickertraining.com/node/339
I can get the best, the bomb, the most fantabulous snazzy obedience practice out of Kenai in any room of the house with a clicker and lamb crunchies. The yowza boy. The moment his foot steps out of doors now, even if he just pokes his head out, the only motivation he feels is to chase, sniff, and ignore.
So, okay, get some advice on how to gain his willing attention outside–how to take on not a behavior, but an instinct and win. A gazillion ideas are offered, so many the question is where to start. I feel somewhat like a mosquito invading a nudist colony: too many places to bite.
I get to contemplate the sheer amount of work this will be for me, since he has no interest in food or toy rewards outside. If I can figure out what to make a reward, I’ll have my foot in the door! The sits and downs are easy. The instincts aren’t. So while I blow up brain cells being creative about outside training…
Kenai’s had less boredom inside. I’m playing with him more, while I do this and do that. Toss an empty shampoo bottle down (a new toy!) as the eggs cook. Come along with me, and I’ll play boo when we get to the living room. That kind of thing. Entertain the brain.
He had a public outing yesterday and the day before, at the gas station, vet for paperwork, and the smoke shop. No harness, just vest and gentle leader. Overall, not bad. Still not relaxed, but enjoyed being released to see people a couple times. Hopefully, that will return a bit of enjoyment to his outings.
His new favorite game is “bury my head”. He stuffs his entire head into the toy box, rooting around, then sending piles of stuffies flying in one big fling. That way he can pick and choose more easily, you see. I’m gonna have to teach BB to put them back in the box, since Brown is uninterested in such things, lamb crunchies notwithstanding.
Last summer I’d taught BB to pick up sticks and drop them on a pile, so hopefully he won’t feel the need to play with them awhile and leave them in the next room. Beebs has the inclination to retrieve, and willingness to do what I want. Brown, not so much.
Such is life with an adolescent. I’m out of not-demolished empty shampoo bottles now…
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on March 27, 2009
Peek-a-boo, Kenai the ambush puppy, 15 mo old
We did something that was probably foolish, and got lucky: we put BB in the kennel and let Kenai have a turn running around it. Normally, Kenai’s inside the kennel and BB’s outside of it. I thought (prayed) Brown would want to stay near to monkey with his bro. He hasn’t been out of doors off leash in 6 mo, since the critter chases started.
For the most part, he did stick close to the kennel. But I still have absolutely no control of him off leash. Nada, nit, zilch. I’m not even interesting enough to play with, the poop. So I don’t know that I’ll swap the boys again soon. I was fortunate he didn’t take a notion to visit the neighbors…I’m a lucky fool.
But it was soooo nice to see him running free again. I’ve missed it as much as he has, maybe more. The pick above is a flashback to his stinky-toddler days *grin*, where he’d play hide and seek, poking his head out from behind something to see if I was getting warm. Then it was my turn to hide and be “found”.
Sorta like this.
So Kenai had himself a free-run, and I chewed my nails. I do have ideas of how to gain some control over him outside, but it’s really still in the planning stages.
If I could give any advice to owner/trainers of a new pup, be it for a companion dog or competition dog, and especially a service dog candidate it’s this: worry about the sits and downs later, WORK ON ATTENTIVENESS. That’s in all caps because it’s a profound lesson learned very much the hard way.
Even if your pup is naturally given to paying attention, spend the majority of your time on attentiveness exercises. There’s tons of them in the book “Control Unleashed” by Leslie McDevitt, and Sue Ailsby’s clicker training levels. Paying attention is the absolute foundation for a working relationship.
Reward them for looking at you anytime and anywhere, all day long. Work to build their focus in every possible environment. Make paying attention such a default behavior it reliably overrides their instincts. And maintain that attentiveness with more vigilance than the perfect down stay.
I didn’t do that, being so very proud of Kenai’s natural calmness. “As long as he lays there quietly,” I thought, “he doesn’t have to be watching me all the time”. I allowed following his own instincts to become a deeply entrenched habit. He learned to rely on himself, so when I wanted to change a behavior here or there, I didn’t have the influence I needed.
Now I am forced to go back to the very beginning, and bust my parts trying to gain mental control over a highly instinctive, independent dog. I may never get-r-done. It’s going to take considerable focus and constancy on my part, which is no easy thing having fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. If I could get my leg up high enough I’d kick my own butt.
Okay, so I’m a half-lucky fool. Learn from my mistake!
BB had his boy bottoms quite a bit of fun yesterday
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on March 24, 2009
Kenai’s acrobatics, 15 mo old
Gonna get you jolly ball!
Kenai’s been outside alot this week, while I piddle about in the yard. He sometimes has his little bro running about the outside so they can chase each other minus the pile up. Flowers are blooming and weeds are growing. It’s that time of year.
I’ve been working on a page about training techniques and plans, interspersed with some eyeball crossing veterinary research on digestive disorders. I think I dug in too deep, because I’m a lost in a fog bank this morning. Hopefully the training pages will go up today or tommorrow, if the mental fog lights come on.
Kenai’s enjoyed his outside time, and a couple car rides. He romps about and stands about, and wore himself out enough to lay down and pant. Then he lays there all manly and dignified supervising my hedge trimming so it gets done right.
I’m slowly getting him used to my being out of his sight outside. I’ll go out front and come back, then do something in the backyard where he can see me. Since I can’t trust his recall, he’s stuck in the kennel while I work.
He doesn’t seem to mind that arrangement. I do, since I’d rather have him out and helping me. But that’s where we are right now. Maybe in the future I’ll have the gumption to practice recall until it overrides his chase and sniff instincts. I’m going to need help with that.
Mom hasn’t started BB’s practices, though I actually believe she might. She’s had a long talk with her doc about her depression, and that’s what’s stolen her will to even try with Beebs. Her motivation may be coming back. Yay! No one should live hunkered down and unhappy.
Mom used to be a remarkable lady. Still is, it’s just buried at the moment. She’s literally a coal miner’s daughter, one of 8 children in a Pennsylvania Dutch family. She worked her way through nursing school, and got a job as an emergency room nurse in South Philly. She signed up for Vietnam because, get this, she was bored.
Told ya she has moxy to spare! One of these days I’m gonna make good on my threat to buy her a rubber chicken, since she’s a tough old bird…grin.
Since I haven’t put many pics of Mom up with the boys, I think I will. But don’t tell Mom: most of the them were taken in playtime, before she was “presentable”. The boys don’t care, and I don’t care if her hair wasn’t brushed, but she’s a different generation. It’s our little secret.
This was the pic that started it all…the pic where Kenai was first called “Sasquatch”, and it bloomed into “Messin with Sasquatch Time” in the Grammy bathroom. Remember this confident little turd? “Stop taking pictures, and play with me!”
Aww, BB love! Clean your ears, ma!
What ya got? Is it fun? Do it play good? We both used to fit in here, but things is gettin smaller on me!
Uh-oh, Grammy scolding…I was just havin some fun…
Oh, that was toooooo icky! Me not like that! Rub it off, I’m wet!
There’s more than snows on my nose–it all jumped on me from that tree. Who’s in there that did that?
Ha, Ha! Got ya slipper, he-he! This is my sneaky snitch face…
So that’s an introduction to Mom. With a little luck and grace, she’ll pull out of her depression and go back to having fun with the guys. That’d be just fine by me.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on March 20, 2009
Saturday was a down day for me. Kenai is sliding back into fearful behavior again, his loose stools are getting looser for reasons no one can figure out…and because I stupidly forgot to write a pay pal order in my check book, I discovered I was overdrawn by $90 bucks (thanks to fees). Sadness sort of jumped me, and sunk its gnarly teeth in.
So I cheered myself up by enlisting Mom for a really noisy, onery, boy fun called “Messing with Sasquatch” time. We head to the master bath, and when Mom shows up, Kenai gets to backtalk, whar-whar, bark, bow, and be as loud as he wants.
“Is she coming yet?”
The sassy mouth sasquatch had to have his warm up stretches, as soon as Mom came in and took up “the perch”, sitting down and calling him funny names.
He won’t do this for me, but Mom has a way of getting him noisy, and he never fails to make the most of his grammy-play.
Mom can move from one place to the next, but the fun will continue! He swings around, stomping his feet while he barks, and smacking those snow-shoe paws down in yet another play bow.
She makes faces at him, insists she doesn’t believe him, and it’s BOY FUN to tell her off. He tells her boy secrets, complains, yips, and yowls and rattles the windows. You know, all the things that make a fella feel BIG.
Provided of course, I stick close. He is after all, a Momma’s boy. If I go sit on the bed or something, he gives me this look, like “you’re not doing it right!” So I have to take up my required position, on one side of his rump or the other, where he can lean and mouth off at the same time.
“I know you’re in there!!”
Part of the fun is following Mom around and making noisy noises all the louder for finding her! Hiding in the closet doesn’t help. He brings out the boy wrinkles, listening to her from behind the door.
Kenai doesn’t nose nudge, and no feet are allowed on doors, so he gets good and riled up while Mom teases him from inside the closet or laundry room.
If I open the door for him, he makes the shoes on the rack bounce, letting out a bark and a bow at the same time. If I don’t, then we store up all the onery for when she jumps out at him!
“Ha Ha! I got ya slipper!”
We stored it up! This was the result: Mom’s feet were mobbed by boy poundage, and he stole the slipper right off her foot.
That’s the BEST fun of all, stealing slippers. He gets his sneaky snitch face on, leaps about and plays keep away with all his heart. Oh how fun it is to steal grammy’s slipper!
Being teased about it makes it even better, of course!
“Ha Ha! Grammy got ya nose!’
Then it’s poochie smoochie time, buggering and blowing raspberries until sasquatch lets go and Mom’s cold bare toes get their slipper back. (Or until I say “let go”, since he can get too rough when really excited). If I’m not taking pictures, I’m on the other side getting all the smoochies I can!
Then the game begins again, with more slipper snitching, backtalking, paw stomping, and wiggie wags of a boy tail. It’s all so fun, fun, fun. Anytime Mom heads for the bathroom, she has a brown shadow…
BB had to have his boy practice, having been left in the living room so brother could get uninterrupted Sasquatch Time. Can’t let the other funny boy go without play time. Of course, he thinks obedience practice is play time too. So out came the lamb crunchies, and Kenai got a down stay on the matress for Beebs to get his own two-people time.
“Do I get to practice? Please?”
Ah, love those boy wrinkles! I deliberately got him over-excited, so Mom could see how to bring him back to focus once he’s morphed into flubber (hardest thing for her). I worked on both sides of the expen, since he breaks his down stay when Kenai is getting my focus. Competition!
Oh, I made him earn his crunchies! I walked behind the couch, I peeked at him through the houseplant, I bobbed up and down, I sang, I made as jerky and unpredicatble movements as I could, and even sat down next to Mom on the couch–BB the down stay boy only broke his stays twice. He went right back to down when told, too.
To be sure he was having a ball, we included ear rubs and toy times between “watch me” down stays. When he burped, it was time to quit feeding the pooch, unfortunately. Beebs would practice all day long if we would–he’ll do anything for attention and treats. For a boy who can bounce off the walls, he can seriously focus when approached right.
I threaten to teach our flubber puppy to cook dinner, just to prove that point to unbelievers (Mom!) But that would take energy I can’t spare. For all the fun we had, there’s a limit to how long I can play. So it was settle down time, and we piled up on our couches and watched the boob tube.
Now Mom has to take over with BB, so he stops ignoring her when we’re practicing. She’s seen me do his practices, and has to start doing it herself, while I don’t participate. Then we can go back to working on the brothers relaxed proximity exercises. Right now, I’m the only trainer he pays attention to, so it’s not working just yet.
Soon though, soon.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on March 16, 2009
Ha ha, got a funny face! Kenai 15 mo old
I enjoy catching the less than majestic pics of Kenai, since such moments are fleeting. It’s a slightly mischievious competition, at least on my part. He doesn’t seem to be aware of this contest, but that doesn’t keep him from making it difficult! This pic here I call “Dracula Puppy”, for obvious reasons.
The main surge of hormones is wearing off, and he’s not as willful as he was earlier this week. There was some large critter in the darkened part of the field this morning, and he started to run that way to go check it out. A firm “stop” command and he halted, but it took forever after that for him to find a satisfactory place to leave a scrap pile.
He stopped without needing a leash yank, which means the testosterone is fading. That’s good, since I haven’t liked his intensity and frustrated behavior since Monday night. He’s not “bad”, mind you, not in terms of how thuggish intact males can get. I’ve had some serious knotheads, so Kenai’s a cake walk. Not fun for a couple days, but nowhere near as rangy as Merlin was.
Kenai does stuff like run from the kitchen to the living room, to bugger with his brother. (Running isn’t allowed inside!) Or drive me nuts freezing my parts off outside, standing there demanding he quit with the NOSE and actually DO HIS POTTY! Boy stuff, with more zeroed-in wilfulness.
It’s made our “Brother’s Grin” practices a bit more stressful, but I’ve done them anyway. The trainer wanted us to use the kitchen beds as their “spot” to down stay and relax while in close proximity. We haven’t used the beds yet, as a confession. So far the practice has been done by me alone, so I’ve modified it slightly.
While waiting for their meal, I get a few sits, in the crate, on your mat kinda of warm up stuff in. Then I start the down stays, folding the expen back one section at a time. Fold it back is a reward for a calm and held down. (In BB’s case, a focused on me down is good enough–calm is a foriegn thing to him).
The first time I did that on Tues night, Kenai saw an opportunity. Uhg. But after 3 more practices, he’s mastered the idea: parked on the matress bed and never moved. I walked behind the couch (a BB trigger), I was doing “ach, down BB” for a solid 10 minutes and Kenai held. Kenai held!!!
Of course I was whispering how good he was doing, and slipping lamb bites to him, but he didn’t get up. I love it when the testosterone lightens up. So today I decided to get Mom in on the act to reproduce the no-expen down stays as the trainer wanted while we are sitting down on the couch.
After Tuesday’s high activity level, and yesterday’s too, I’m still feeling roughed up, in the grip of ticked off fibro and fatigue. Anytime I can sit down to work them is welcomed. The proceedure is to reward calm down stays while we are relaxing, not up on our feet reinforcing: Mom controls BB, and I control Kenai.
That was the plan.
Okay, snag number one: BB is so used to me passing out the treats for tricks that he pays Mom no attention, even with lamb bites in her hand. Having been the only person in fact to teach him, redirect, and correct him, I am now the primary distraction. Huh.
BB had his usual excitement about the treats, and resource competition with his brother. He was really wound up though, as usually happens when Mom’s around: the protective and possessive tendencies towards Mom show up. All three were frying his little boy brain at the same time…
I tried sending Kenai to the kitchen for a no-see-um stay. Didn’t settle Beebs much, and the ignoring Mom continued. So I sent myself to the kitchen for a no-see-Auntie stay. He still ignored Mom, gazing off towards the kitchen waiting for me! Stinker!
I put a call in to the trainer…seems maybe Mom has to spend a couple weeks being the only source of commands and treats before we can get anywhere with the you-watch-your-mom and I’ll-watch-mine. See what Susanne thinks.
I’m also trying to think of ways they can play together, since it’s normal for dogs to play together. But it can’t conflict with the relaxed proximity exercises. Sad to say, I’m too foggy right now, so I’m punting that topic off on the trainer too!
Right now they can do the run-with-me fun, Kenai in the kennel with BB running along the outside. But if there’s no barrier between them, the horseplay gets rough in a heartbeat. Mangled end BB doesn’t need that. When they are really really tired from exercise, and the legs allow, I can walk them in gentle leaders, one on each side.
There’s lots to read there…
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on March 13, 2009
Kenai trying to run off the hormone surge….15 mo old
Yeesh, yesterday was a day and a half. I’m still beat down like an old carpet today, so apologies ahead of time if this post has the fingerprints of fogginess or disjointed thoughts. I’ll try to focus, and stick to the point!
Knowing the trainer was coming, her disabled husband with her, I set out to run the boys completely out of steam. They would need traumeel liniment for their sore legs I was sure, but no way was I going to have two wound up knuckleheads around a man in pain with a walker.
Kenai had his first run at 7:30 am, in the nice warm weather. I think he’s got a testosterone surge or something: he wasn’t minding at all. Stubborn. And he actually tried to hump me when I bent down for the ball–that got met with feirce correction. He’s done that twice before over that past 6 mo, and all it takes is one big don’t-you-dare, and he doesn’t dare it again.
Still, he’s surging, and it comes out in stubbornness or frustrated energy since he can’t dominate. Stubborn, at least for him, is having to be told to do something rather than asked. Considering how males can get, he’s fairly mild. It lasts a couple of days, then fades down.
Anway, Beebs got up and fed, rested an hour, then both the boys went out for run-with-me fun. Once they seemed tired, the gentle leaders went on and we practiced walking them together. Mom’s pace is just too slow to channel their energy just yet. So I took them both and we marched, one on each side.
We turned around, we went left and right (BB’s now learning the words from big bro), and we MARCHED. When we stopped for a short moment or two, they got corrected for wanting to pile up in front of me. Then we marched some more. No time to be goobers.
My screaming legs handed BB back off to Mom after not long, and we all parked ourselves up on the deck for a rest. Whew. And that was by 10:30 am. I had about 15 minutes to rest, sitting on the steps letting the limbs shake and joints ache. Susanne pulled up in the drive, and the boy’s barking like a terrified do-do started.
They feed off each other, each escalating the other’s response. Left to themselves, they’ll go from normal alarm bark to running wildly and jumping about. I don’t leave them to themselves, of course! So Kenai and I walked around front. Divide and conquer.
Even with the gentle leader he pulled once Susanne was in petting distance. Steve stayed in the car, so my worries were needless. I don’t regret the extra running though. We walked together around back, and went into the kitchen.
Kenai’s resistance to his kitchen bed continued…ugh. I had to leave the gentle leader on, just to keep him from stubbornly interrupting BB’s getting to know Susanne. I had hoped for less energy from Kenai. Not in a surge, I guess.
At least Beebs was crapped out. He only got off his bed for an unsanctioned pet-me once. I want to get them not to go right up into people’s faces, since not everyone wants a face full of doggie breath, ya know? They are so tall, they can’t help but be in your face when they stand up. The downs are neccessary and the sits naturally move them back.
Susanne gave us Kenai’s conditional service dog ID badge, with pictures on front and back. He’s had way over 50 hours (that’s conditional SDit), but right now, he’s more of a candidate than a SD in serious training. That’s okay. I know his potential is very much intact. It’ll come out when it comes out, and the training will ante up when it’s time.
He’s had over 400 hours of public practice, by the way. Our outings had added up. The one pic on the ID identifies him, and the other can prove he’s mine if we’re ever seperated. That last one doesn’t worry me: all I’d have to do is call him, and he’d road-rash the person holding him to get to me!
Then we started working with the boys together: the beds were moved so they were about 2 feet apart, and any sniffs or looks at each other got met with a firm leave it. When they relaxed, they got a treat. The kitchen is where they do best together, but I would have liked Susanne to see how BB pesters us when Kenai and I are cooking. Next time.
We moved into the living room, and took the beds. The idea is the same, though they had to be farther apart. Kenai gave me the most “trouble”, just not wanting to be on that particular bed. He doesn’t like that bed from the kitchen. I’m going to not use it, just insist he stay down on the floor or the mat he’s used to in that room.
The idea is to reward relaxation while Mom and I are sitting down, but I seemed to have to pop up alot, returning one or the other to their spot. Kenai wouldn’t stay down. It wasn’t so much wanting to bugger with BB, he just didn’t want to down stay. Uhg. Surge strikes again.
I got a quick breather on my end of the couch while holding a leashed Kenai: Susanne was working on BB’s possessive/protective behavior about Mom. She shook Mom’s hand which was okay, but when she hugged her, BB got right up and tried getting between them. His next trigger was when she walked behind the couch, with Mom sitting there.
This is all stuff we’ve worked on, and in the same way. The thing will be getting Mom to do her part, rather than sit there and make me do it all. I’m hoping that our two practices a day will work out as one for me and one for Mom. She has to be able to control the two. Especially when I’m tired like I was.
As an aside, the morning all felt chaotic to me. Someone else wouldn’t have been bothered by the activity level, and I know it’s me needing calmer behavior around me when I’m pooped. The running of the bulls and walking them, then an hour of controlling Kenai wiped me out.
I get more sensitive to noise and moving about for some reason as I tire. I start losing the feeling of control ya have to have to be training dogs. It’s a strange sensation, feeling like everything’s coming at me faster, the Meniere’s starts making the room seem to be moving in a different direction than I am. Noises are harsher, unexpected movement startles me.
I seem to switch from controlled response to instinctive reaction as the fatigue grinds me down. That’s when it’s quitting time. When by brother lived here, there was no such thing as quitting time, which made that 8 1/2 months so terribly hard. My health still hasn’t rebounded, 5 mo later.
Anyway, two dogs are a giant energy drain, and I was so exhausted after yesterday’s session with the trainer, my nap went on for 5 hours. There was liniment all around when I got up. We’d dropped almost 40 degrees during my nap, from 72 to 33 degrees.
Big front means big pain. I grunted my way around making Kenai’s supper, and had our first homework practice. The hamburger excited them, but little by little the expen was folded back, each pup getting a command and reward while the other waited.
I pushed my luck, and got them both on the same bed, and Kenai’s surge struck yet again. He tried enticing his bro to roughhouse. Big bad scolding, and he had to stay on the bed with no attention while BB finished his practice. Then the pen went back up and Kenai could come with me to the kitchen.
He stiff-legged around like an old fart until the liniment made him feel better. He’s still a grumpy old fart today, and so am I. But when he’s hurting, I give up the grump to make sure he gets his baby massage, and liniment, and “momma time” napping together.
We “lick each other’s wounds” so to speak. Most of the time, he gets cuddly, though sometimes he just wants to be near but left alone. I know the feeling, so I respect it. Just together is good enough, too. He’s a sweetie, even if he is a brat sometimes.
So that was my 24 hour day and a half. Today’s 24 hours needs to be half a day!
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on March 11, 2009
my baby fall down…Kenai 15 mo
This pic gave me a chuckle, mostly because I find myself in the same situation frequently: how do I pick up what I dropped with the least amount of difficulty. Now if Kenai was in a playful mood, he’d leap right off my bed and pounce it to death. But Danes are given to shiftlessness when the puppy stuff wears off.
So Brown here is trying to figure out how he can get his baby back without disturbing his current comfort. I do the very same thing, of course, since bending over can mean a headstand when my ears are bothering me. Kenai being Kenai, he came up with a plan:
“You get it for me, please?” was the plan. It almost worked out how he’d thought! I did get his baby for him, but it came with smushy face games, smoochie the poochie, and pester the puppy as payment. Aren’t I just terrible? Oooo it was so fun! It’s amazing what a dog will put up with to get what they want…
The trainer was supposed to come Friday, and Friday morning twisted the heck out of her knee, so Tuesday is the next date. I was disappointed, but Susanne’s the one who got the short end of the stick, propped up with an ice pack on her knee. Ouch.
BB and Kenai will make a new friend. And do what all “children” do to their “parents”: embarrass them crooked. Thank God for Gentle Leaders and exercise! At least I don’t have to worry they’ll show their “pretty” panties to the preacher or something truly shriveling…
Hopefully by Tuesday the boys will be used to the hour lost in Daylight Savings time. Kenai was wondering why I was getting up at what felt like 4 am this morning. He hasn’t learned to read clocks or count dings.
The theory of Daylight Savings eludes him. Personally, I’d be glad to be rid of it as well–it felt like 4 am to me too. The idea is to have more light during the day to work, but the brilliant thinkers forgot bodies have their own clocks, that don’t switch so easy.
Kenai’s body adjusts faster than mine, since he’s willing to eat anytime a bowl is offered. But he wanted a nippy nap (can’t say kitty nap or cat nap on a dog blog!) after we finished the eat-out-in routine. When he wakes up, he’ll want a good run in the kennel, and I might have a car ride for him in the plans.
I have to go up for the mail anyway, so maybe I’ll put some gas in the car. Toffee tush likes the girls at the gas station, and normally handles himself pretty well there. I don’t know. The lost hour might mean a nippy nap for me too this morning! In addition to the afternoon’s required snooze.
I’ve missed the afternoon nap 3 days this week, and was rewarded with an eye-watering migraine for 2 solid days. I was drugged out and going to bed at 8 pm. So the week is a total blur. Can’t miss those naps. Lesson re-learned. And Mom wants me to drive her to Fayetteville and back? 12 hours, no nap? Uh-uh.
Okay, I know Kenai gets bored. I do to. Most people have 20 gazillion things going on everyday, doing most of them on auto-pilot while dealing with lost shoes, tantrums, or cruddy bosses. That’s not my life, and never can be. CFS/FMS allows me the energy for one or two major activities a day, so I make “mountains” of the “molehills” to occupy my thoughts.
My major activities revolve around Kenai. It’s really a mountainous undertaking for a disabled person to exercise, train, and play with a vigorous young dog. He has to have exercise, he has to have his training, he has to have regular outings. That eats up alot of energy.
Most of his life I have thoroughly enjoyed his training and outings, watching him learn, having him take on more tasks. It wasn’t easy, but I was the one getting the real reward. For roughly 5 months though, Kenai’s not been feeling like himself, and seeing him act skittish hasn’t been a reward.
The reward is postponed, until he’s returned to his confidence. So we’re not doing much compared to his younger days, and it makes us both restless. We’ll come out of this holding pattern eventually, no doubt. I’m just holding the sit stay, trying not to ooch or get ansty enough to break my stay. Patience is a lesson we humans have to learn too.
Not that I’m whining, mind you. Things will fall into place eventually. And he still keeps me busy, at least what my body considers busy: dropping babies, romping in the kennel, wandering on a long leash, riding in the car, figuring out how to outwit a smart dog…He keeps me active.
Being an opportunist, I take every chance at getting smoochies and laughing while he plays. A big part of the joy of having a dog is just having them around. Kenai’s fairly sedate, but BB’s always pulling a stunt of some kind.
Even sedate Kenai gets his boy self in fixes from time to time, or yanks out a new silly when provoked enough. They give me lots of laughs, and smushy-lips fun, happy just for the interaction. Simple stuff makes the wait more enjoyable.
Who wouldn’t find that an invitation to smile and initiate tummy-time!
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on March 8, 2009
Kenai inviting me to have a zoomie with him…15 mo old
Kenai loves to let it rip. Here’s he’s waiting for me to set off a goober run. One play stomp of my food and he was zipping and zagging! Goodness how he loves to run. I am looking into personal government grants: enough money and I could fence in the field where he can really stretch those gorgeous legs.
His outing Wednesday wasn’t as good for him. He was kinda nervous. So I gave him some wander time in a field where the nose was in charge. I put his harness on him, hoping the confidence he feels when sniffing his way around would become associated with the harness. Not this time. He had fun, but the tail never came up.
So we left the field and walked a quiet sidewalk. He did pretty well with the step, go right, and all. He still wants to walk ahead of me though, watching everything around us. I think the harness makes him feel less confident? Oh well, Kenai is where he is, and I’m not gonna stress about it. He’ll improve as he matures and his health improves even more.
The trainer is coming to the house this afternoon, to get a load of the Brother’s Grin. There home behavior is a little embarrassing when someone comes. All training goes out the window while they feed off each other’s excitement. That’s a loose end that needs dealing with while I wait for Kenai’s nerves to go away.
I just love Chloe’s blog, the hearing/balance SD (www.hearingelmo.wordpress.com). I learn so much of the daily stuff from them. Such as Fidos for Freedom use gentle leaders even for long graduated dogs. The GL sparks controversy in trainer circles, and many Good Canine Citizen testers won’t give the test to a dog that has a GL on.
It seemed silly to me before, and seems sillier now. Some disabled folks can’t afford even one leash pull since a wobbly soul like myself would hit the floor, or someone with osteoporosis would wind up with broken bones. No dog will be perfect 100% of the time & forever. If a program that high-end doesn’t mind GL, what’s the beef?
I also learned that it’s okay for service dogs to act like dogs. Even Chloe, as magnificently trained and socialized as she is, broke a down stay when dolphins were performing. She once took a fright at someone in a costume. Dogs are dogs, and will sometimes react. It’s not that big a deal, just put them back in the down stay and get over it.
I wasn’t getting over it, by the way. I realized I was really uptight about him in some situations, like restaurants or doctor’s offices. My uptight doesn’t help his uptight. Duh. There’s some places I really want him to toe the mark, though, so I’m hoping the trainer can give me some guidance on what to expect of him.
Here he is in a field wander Wednesday. A little toy breed just noticed us across the street and had a coniption trying to get through the fence. Kenai watched awhile, then we moved on, though he kept an eye over yonder.
Seeing this pic reminds me I need to lower the chest plate for him with the top straps. It’s high enough to push into the neck if I’m pulling back on the handle. That’s uncomfie. Getting it fitted just right has been a tinker for me, not being experienced.
Oh, and one of my boy’s internet friends, Oliver the blue Dane (he’s blogless, sorry) has pulled a Kenai: he overnight hit his teen stage a month early. And Wow did he hit it.
It can be disconcerting to have such a big dog decide to be pushy, to jump up, even grab your sleeve when they want something. The tiny dogs get away with it because it seems cute, but 130 pounds demanding attention ain’t cute. (it’s bad bad doggie manners for the little dogs too).
Ollie’s a good boy, overall. He’s just suddenly made up his mind to see what he can get away with. Sound like a teenager? Yep. Mild uh-uh’s and the puppy redirecting don’t get through the adolescent gunk, either.
Dealing with an adolescent dog in the throes of hormones requires more intense correction paired with more frequent rewarding of good behavior. Teens just need firmness. The rules don’t change, and will be enforced is what works. They push, you push back.
An agitated dog, lunging at the fence, snarling, is a whole different approach: physical correction then can get a person bit unless they do it just right. But an excited adolescent blowing you off sometimes needs the law laid down to settle themselves.
When older dogs don’t like something, they often go through a progression of increasingly intense responses. With little pups, they just get up and walk away. Step two is “back off” body language, with a heaping helping of vibes. An excited teen half the time is too wound up to take the hint!
The medium level of displeasure is a “snout snatch”. The irritated dog will grab the offender by the muzzle with it’s teeth, and give a deep warning growl. When I need to, I skip the talking and snatch up an unruly dog’s muzzle with both hands. Look ‘em in the eye and let them get a full frontal of ”I said NO”.
Only the rare serious troublemaker challenging your ‘pack position’ will go beyond that. Most dogs, even Kenai having a fit about the kitty, wilts from a snout-snatch. I’ve had to do it a grand total of 3 times his whole life, but that’s what makes it effective! The trick to corrections is matching the dog’s intensity. Too little is a waste of time, too much creates anxiety.
BB needs more intensity to settle his hash than Kenai, which makes it hard to correct the two together. Getting Beebs straightened out heightens the “energy” of the room, and sensitive Kenai absorbs enough to be uncomfortable. They make me balance, like some egg on one leg…
Teens of any species are a challenge, aren’t they? At least with dogs it’s over in a few weeks. They pass through phases with relative quickness. Thank goodness!
I know, this is a rambling sort of post, and not my usual funny. I spent yesterday’s nap time on Kenai’s 08 expenses for tax deductions. You’re lucky I can complete my sentences today… it’s astonishing how fast the costs add up, and I wasn’t including my time training!
Think I’ll reward myself with a steak and mashed potato dinner.Yum. I love beef. When I was a kid Dad raised black angus cattle. I was shocked the first time I ate a steak in a restaurant and needed a knife.
We had 3 foxtrotters (horses), of which my favorite was Big John. He was a huge bay, standing just shy of 18 hands, and had an affinity for little kids. Nothing I did would make him go faster than a walk unless Dad was in the saddle with me. He liked strawberries, hence, a fence went up around the strawberry patch.
Penny was the sweetest dun mare. She was the real cutting horse of the three. We warned Uncle Brud to hang on when she was working, and he learned the hard way! Three times he flew off when she stopped and turned. He threatened to tie himself to the saddle, and wasn’t sure if that would help any.
Mickey didn’t take after John or Penny, genetics be hanged. She had a mean streak. If Mickey didn’t want to be ridden that day, she’d try rubbing you off with a tree or catching your leg in the barbed wire fence. Once she foolishly bucked Dad off, and got put in her place for it. She was beautiful though, tall and pretty, with her mother’s dun coat.
Kenai is technically considered a “small animal”, as opposed to horses and other “large animal” species. Personally I think he lands somewhere in between, especially when he lands his rump on me in bed!
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on March 6, 2009
I promised you a post entitled “My Boyfriend’s Back” the day I could take Kenai into a restaurant and have a no-problem down stay. We aren’t there yet, but today we made a big advance in that direction! Today was the first day in a long time that he got suited up in his vest and went inside a place with me.
We had to pick up some paperwork from Walgreens, and since that seemed a good, quick in and out, on went his SDit vest and gentle leader. He went right through the doors, no hesitation. He went right and left, no mistakes. He handled it without any major Scooby manuevers!
He’s not back to himself entirely: the air tubes for the drive thru behind the counter made him a little nervous and he wanted to back away. But I asked him to come forward, and he did. He came to stand between me and the counter how he’s supposed to. He also wanted to see people, so there was a bit of pulling on the gentle leader. He’s rusty is all.
Just to be sure it wasn’t a fluke, I pulled in at the puppy store. It once was his favorite place, but last month he was just scared there too. Not today. He played, he picked out a new grunting toy, and had a good time. It wasn’t the most carefree he’s ever been, not romping about like a puppy. But he didn’t get nervous or upset, and that’s a big deal!
I don’t know who crashed first, me or him, when we got home. We’d made 5 stops (3 he stayed in the car for), and was gone for 2 1/2 hours. We ate our lunch and petered out, and I mean gone with the wind. I woke up over 4 hours later. That’s why I’m still up writing this. Oops.
Can’t say I’m encouraged so much as simply enjoying the lingering happy from a good day. I won’t preditct that it’s all downhill from here. But it was unbelievably satisfying to see him out in public without his tail tucked and eyes wide. I was so happy for him.
Today seems to be fast becoming a stay at home day, since I need to get his food and vet reciepts together for the tax preparer. Service dog’s care is tax deductible, in case you didn’t know. That’s what I’m told anyway. I really have to do a better job staying organized. (Who doesn’t?)
That’s what’s what here, and I’m pleased to have plenty of good things to write about these days. The downs are down, but the ups are really sweet.
Posted by greatdaneservicedog on March 3, 2009