Thursday, October 29, 2015

Delilah Graduated "Good Manners" Basic Obedience Class!

Last night Delilah graduated her "Good Manners" class!

She performed the three tricks we had been learning this past week.  The first one was "twirl" where she jumped and spinned.  The second was "shake," pretty self explanatory, I held my hand out and she put her paw in it.  It took a couple tries but she did it.  The last one was "drop it."  We had been practicing with her toys at home and she was getting pretty good at it.  I forgot to bring a toy to demonstrate with so they gave us a toy to use.  It was a stuffed hedgehog that made giggling noises.  She was so excited about it that she fixated on it and wanted to destroy the sound box (she loves noises).  She wouldn't drop it.  That's okay because the trainers were very understanding (and amused).  She still got to keep the toy and graduate from class.

We're still practicing what we've learned- "set up," "touch," "come," "down-stay," "drop it," "shake," "twirl," and "place."

After class the trainers all told us we should do agility!  And recommended that I read "Control Unleashed."  It looks good, I'll have to check it out.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Hiking at Ethan Allen Homestead

On Thursday we went to the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum and Historic site where there are a lot of hiking trails.  We walked along the river, through fields, and in the woods a bit.  I loved the variety of ecosystems.  The trails required the dog to be on leash so she was on leash most of the time but I did let her run around some fields when there was no one else around.  Her recall has gotten really good but there were a few times where she was distracted by squirrels and mice.


Good sit!

Delilah, come!

A herd of wild Holsteins!

Can you spot the terrier?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Past Week's Training Update

I've been preoccupied with Delilah getting sick so I haven't really posted much about training.  Here are a few updates:

Class 10/14

Sam and I went to class with Delilah- we learned the left side sit ("setup"), sit-stay, and down-stay.  This wasn't a good class.  Delilah yapped almost the entire time- either she was yapping and I couldn't hear the instructions or I was trying to work with her to be quiet and I missed them.  I have pretty bad social anxiety and I was getting anxious about her drawing attention to us.  We were learning the left side sit and I was to the edge of the room where I felt most comfortable and one of the trainers told us to move more towards the center so we'd have more room.  At that point I had an anxiety attack and started crying and Sam had to work with Delilah for the rest of the class.  I was really ashamed of myself.  If I can't handle a simple class how am I ever going to be able to do agility with Delilah?

Class 10/21

This class went much better- we had been practicing the "setup" and stays and we were doing pretty well.   Delilah got complimented during the class that she was doing it perfectly.  The only this is towards the end she started getting bored/distracted and breaking the stay.  In the beginning she was doing it perfectly though.  Our homework for next week is to teach Delilah three new tricks.  I taught her "twirl" yesterday and now I have to think of two more!

Training 10/22

I taught Delilah twirl, we practiced sit-stays and down-stays.  I also took her on a two hour hike and she was off leash for some of the time- her recall's getting really good but there are still times when her prey drive takes over and prevents her from listening.  I have pictures from the hike that I'll share in a new post!

Training 10/23

Sam's friend stayed over last night and this morning I took Delilah out to "meet" him.  She's REALLY BAD with people in the house- she yaps, snarls, and darts in as if to nip them.  I had her on the other side of the room on a lead and played the Look At That game with her.  Whenever she looked at him quietly she got a click and a treat.  She barked a few times but overall did really well and I was able to walk her past him quietly to put her back in our bedroom.  I still think she would have barked and maybe even have bit him if he tried to interact with her directly but he was really good about ignoring her so we were able to do some training.

I'm going to do some more trick training and practice "stay" with her later today.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Delilah's Been Sick

Delilah spent a few days last week having bloody diarrhea.  I took her to the vet and it cost $200 for the diagnosis and treatment.  She has roundworm and whipworm.  Both parasites can come from soil contaminated with feces.

I live in an apartment complex that kind of looks like an old two story motel.  We have a little yard in the back to bring our dogs out.  Some of my neighbors are young couples who seem like responsible dog owners but most of the tenants seem to be college kids.  They let their untrained dogs roam around off leash and charge up to people and dogs.  But "don't worry, he's friendly."  They'll be running after their dogs yelling "Mabel come, Mabel, get over here!" and of course the dogs don't listen.  The owners never bothered training them.  I don't know if they think dogs speak English or what?

Anyways we live on a somewhat busy road in our city and they just let the dogs out and don't even watch them.  Of course they can't pick up after them if they haven't even seen where the dogs have gone.  And when they do see, they still don't pick up after them.  I've witnessed this.

It's gotten to the point where I can't take my dog out at night without stepping in anything.

I've contacted the landlords about this.  I'm hoping that we can come up with a solution.  I really hate living in a city.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Sleepover with Mia!

This week my parents were out of state, so Mia got to spend the night at my apartment.

I was worried about how Delilah would react to sharing her house with another dog.  There was some resource guarding of me, toys, food, everything when she first met Mia a couple of months ago but they've been getting along really well since then.  I'd love another dog in a couple of years so I was really hoping this would work out.

Luckily everything went well, Delilah really enjoyed having Mia in the house.  She tried to play with her.  Not only did she like having Mia around, but she was also more confident outside with another dog.  Mia loves people and tries to walk over to strangers wagging her tail.  Delilah hates strangers but she would follow Mia curiously and watch what she was doing.  She seemed more comfortable around people and loud vehicles with Mia around and seeing that Mia wasn't scared.

The Fluffy Collection reunited!  From left to right: Mia, Sophie, Delilah.
Sophie and Mia were both neutral to see each other again.  Usually Sophie really loves Mia and Mia is scared of Sophie.  But they weren't particularly interested during the visit.  Here is a video of Sophie playing with Mia a few years ago when we used to live with my parents.

I brought Mia and Delilah on a long walk to the waterfront and let them run around the dog park (which was unoccupied) before we headed back.  Mia was exhausted when we got home, it didn't seem to have any impact on Delilah's energy.  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Delilah Goes Apple Picking

Yesterday Delilah got to go apple picking with "Mommy" and "Daddy" at Chapin Orchard.  She was so excited and seemed comfortable with being near the other apple pickers.  A few little kids tried to run up and pet her but we blocked them and we heard their parents tell them that they can't just run up to strange dogs.  People in the country are so much better about being around dogs than people in the city.

It was so beautiful out there with the leaves changing to vibrant oranges and deep reds- it made me really want to move to the country.  Someday- the sooner the better.

Didn't take too many pictures.  I was too busy enjoying the day and keeping an eye on the little troublemaker.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Last Night's Class

The trainer was back for our class last night!  We got to move on to new stuff, yay!

During class Delilah was very yappy.  Especially in the beginning.  It was kind of distracting for me because I was trying to keep her quiet when I should have been listening to the trainer or watching the demo.  Delilah REALLY loves this trainer though.  She usually hates people but last night when she saw the trainer (who she had only met once previously) she started yapping and lunging at her.  But not in an aggressive or fearful way like she does with most people that give her attention.  Her entire little body was wiggling!  It's very interesting to me.

She did well with mat work and with down.  She lay on her mat for most of class.  When she got up to yap I'd remind her "place" or "down" and she'd lie right back down!  So while her behavior was worse, she listened better, if that makes any sense.  Now down is her go to behavior whenever I have a toy or treat she wants.  It used to be sit but now she lies down!  All of that work last week has paid off so far.

The new exercises we did were "It's Your Choice" to work on impulse control, the collar game, and restrained recall.  "It's Your Choice" is a game where you hold or place the treat in front of the dog and if she tries to take it before you hand it to her, you cover the treat.  Once she leaves your hand alone you open it.  When she leaves the exposed treat alone you can hand it to her.  The collar game is to get her used to her collar/harness being grabbed.  You grab the collar or harness, give her a treat, and let go.  The last one is restrained recall where one person holds the dog, the other person shows her a treat or toy and runs away calling "come" so the dog chases them when she's released.  Delilah already has a decent recall but she LOVES this "game."

I like taking a class and learning new exercises and games to play with my dog.  I like having a trainer to guide us and I like the class structure.  I could train Delilah to do most of this myself like I've done with Mia, but taking a class is really nice for both of us.

I'm starting to think that maybe I should just accept that Delilah is a vocal dog and expresses her emotions with sound.  I thought she'd only yap if she was scared of someone, but last night she yapped because she was happy to see someone.  She cries when she's upset, screams when she's excited, and once made a strange yodeling sound when I gave her a new bone while pushing it with her nose.  She's so tiny and experiences emotion so strongly I don't think her little body can physically contain it, so she has to express herself with energy and noise.  She physically starts shaking when she's excited.  When she's happy she flings her body around, flailing her limbs and crashing into furniture.  She's just my crazy little dog.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

You Can Jump On My Shoulders

Delilah was hanging out on my shoulders last night while I was finishing "Show Dog" by Josh Dean.  At one point she was actually draped around my shoulders like a scarf!  It's really cute but it can also get annoying when you just want some space.  She is the epitome of a "velcro dog" or a "lap dog."

Training class tonight.  Hoping the trainer's back so we can move on to new stuff.  We've been practicing "down" all week and she's finally starting to get both the word and the hand signal- I don't have to lure her anymore!

Also put a word to her mat down- "place."  She goes to her mat, lays down, and stays there until I release her.  We're still working on the release but she's starting to get it- I can toss a treat and she'll stay until I tell her it's "okay" to get it.  I'm not sure if the place command is what the trainer had in mind when she said mat work, but it's a good one for Delilah to know anyways, and a pretty impressive string of some simple behaviors.  I'm proud of her at least.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Sam's iPhone Pictures

My boyfriend, Sam, sent me some cute pictures he took on his phone to post on my blog.

Exploring Oakledge Park

This Week's Training Class:

The trainer that teaches our class wasn't there because of an emergency so a different trainer taught it.  We were supposed to practice last week's homework which I thought Delilah had been doing well.  In class she was awesome at sit and touch.  The problem was with down.  We weren't supposed to lure them or use a hand signal/point- we were just supposed to say "down" and the dog was supposed to lie down with the voice command alone.  Delilah just stared at me blankly- she doesn't associate the cue word with the behavior.  I still had to lure her into the down.  This is kind of embarrassing but I got so frustrated and anxious that when I tried to ask a question I started stuttering and I got self conscious when I saw everyone else watching me and started crying.  It was really embarrassing and I got very upset with myself.  My boyfriend was not there to help me because he had work.  Ugh, I hate myself.

So anyways, we've spent the last few days practicing down practically non stop and it seems like she's starting to get it.  I asked on the dog forum again and got a lot of helpful advice, including an exercise we've been doing that she's caught on to pretty well.  Lure her into the down, click, feed her multiple treats one after another, and then hold a treat over her head so she has to stand to get it, and do it again.  Eventually she should start going down automatically which is when I should add the cue word.  When I tried this with the clicker, she'd pop up as soon as I clicked and before I could even give her the first treat, so I tried the exercise without the clicker and she went down and STAYED down each time!  So now I need to figure out the clicker problem.

Today's Adventure:

Today I gave Delilah a bath, which she hated so much.  So I decided to bring her somewhere fun to make it up to her.  I didn't want to drive to off leash hiking trails in Essex or Jericho (too far away) so I brought her to Oakledge Park right on Lake Champlain in Burlington.

There were sooo many squirrels, she spent the whole time tracking, chasing, and screaming at squirrels.  She wanted to murder all of them!  For such a poorly bred dog, she has a textbook terrier temperament and incredible prey drive.  I really want to do something like terrier racing or barn hunt with her so she can have an outlet for it.  The problem is it's hard to find a lot of dog sports in Vermont, other than like agility.


An awesome tree house!
The "I want to murder squirrels" expression

Screaming at waves.  She also screamed at all of the squirrels.