We had some good successes this week in training - we also had some frustrations which is to be expected with all puppies. Boots is learning his service dog behaviors such as: relax, lay on and lap. He LOVES lap - putting his paws on your lap on cue and resting there until released. He's getting the concept of relax (resting his head in your lap) but tries almost too hard so this week we'll do some fine tuning. He's so lovable and wants to snuggle right into you which is great. When he fetches he comes bounding back and wants to give you a great big hug along with the retrieved item. He's one big love bug for sure!
This week we worked on the following...
Lesson 2.5 "STAND" (This comes in handy when visiting the vet or groomer's! Asking your puppy to stand on his own is much more pleasant than trying to force the position. Practice puppy push-ups alternating between sit, down or stand.)
Lesson 3.2 "KISS & NO LICK" (Boots happens to lick a lot! He LOVES to give kisses which seems great but not so good if he's going to be a service dog. I taught 'NO LICK" to him this week and he did impressively well. There's still more work to be done but he's understanding the concept. Anytime he goes to lick I catch him before the action with a quick, "NO LICK" and he refrains. Nice work buddy! I know this is a hard one.)
Lesson 2.7 "SETTLE" (I use this command to relax a puppy who is too wound up! I say it with a relaxed tone and use it to interrupt rough play. I expect the puppy to lie down and chill out. It's also good to hold a puppy in your lap with his back against you until he melts and completely relaxes. Boots does this naturally so putting it on cue was a pretty easy task. )
This week we plan on completing the following:
Lesson 1.12 "BACK" (Boots doesn't love moving back (he'd rather turn around) so I'm focusing on this one during the week to improve it. Sometimes in training we teach something then go back and reteach it if our puppy struggles. That's where we are with this one. A hallway or narrow area helps with this cue so we'll spend some time in a tight space this week.)
Lesson 2.9 "HEEL" (Heel is coming along nicely though we aren't out of the lure phase. This week I hope to move from the lure to the reward. Remember you can lure your puppy in position but as soon as he knows the word we want to stop using a treat to get him to do something and only pull out the treat AFTER he does what we ask. This prevents him from being "food dependent" and only doing something for a treat.)
Lesson 2.8 "LET's GO" (I am very pleased with Boots and his loose leash walking! He's doing great. Because we are working on two behaviors he struggles with, I'm also focusing on this one because he is good at it. This is a training concept which is helpful in keeping our puppy motivated to work. If everything is too hard they tend to give up or lack drive to perform. So I throw in things they are good at to build confidence and improve our sessions.)
As for field trips, we are going to a high school soccer game full of people, sounds, new surfaces (have you tried bleachers with your puppy yet?) and excitement! I plan on practicing all the behaviors he knows to help Boots generalize them in a new location.
Also this Wednesday at 1:00 PM Mountain I'm teaching week five of a six-week Canine Coaching series "TRAINING 101" which is an online puppy class for members. I hope to see as many of you there as can make it. I will record it as well and post it on the Canine Coaching page for those of you who can't attend. Topics this week include: Body Language, Adding a New Dog to the Family, Adolescence & Greetings. Bring your puppy and practice along with Boots and me!
As always, if you have any comments or questions, please contact us online at BAXTER & Bella and we look forward to seeing you soon!