Friday, February 26, 2016

Best Friends Share


I just bought a blender (Nutribullet) this past week and it's the best investment I've ever made!  I'm a horribly picky eater and not a fan of most vegetables, but now I'm getting my super foods every day in the form of creamy, fruity goodness.  This morning I made a tropical smoothie with mangos, pineapples, banana, orange juice, yogurt, broccoli, and kale.  Delilah was eager to help me finish it off.  I found some dog friendly smoothie recipes online that I'm excited for us to try together!



Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Good One and the Crazy One


I'm watching Mia this weekend.   The fluffy collection is reunited!  Can you see Sophie making a cameo appearance in the background?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Always Be Prepared!

So proud of both the girls today!

I was in Essex running errands and I decided to stop at my parents' house with Delilah and hang out with Mia.  No one was home so I took them for a walk.

There I was, walking with two dogs (one of them insane), a bag of poop, and in the process of bending down and picking up another poop, when the clip to Delilah's harness broke and she took off sprinting down the street!  Bewildered, I quickly inverted the poop bag and thought for a few seconds about what I should do.  Delilah's crazy and has an incredibly high prey drive.  She is also very independent and will become fixated on small things she sees, smells, or hears.  I thought she was running off after a leaf or something blowing in the wind.

I dropped Mia's leash, and Mia, being the perfect dog that she is, just stood there and waited while I got up and started after Delilah.  I called "Delilah, come!"  She stopped and looked at me.  I called again and she turned around and started sprinting in my direction!  I was sooooo impressed and proud.  Recall is not something we've been practicing during the winter- we hike a lot when it's warm out but the past few months have been too cold for Delilah to spend too much time outside.  She had stopped and thought about what I was telling her, and then decided to listen!

I scooped her up and picked up Mia's leash (she had waited patiently the entire time) and we all went home.

The reason the lesson here is "always be prepared" is because that emergency recall is probably the number 1 most important thing that Delilah could know but I didn't have any treats or a toy to reinforce it!  I gave her a lot of praise and carried her home but I don't think that was appropriate reinforcement for that behavior- especially considering the loss of her freedom and me grabbing her to pick her up may have actually been aversive!  I really wish I had brought a high value reinforcer on that walk!  There's always a training opportunity waiting to happen!

Complementary picture of the girls from today (and an accurate portrayal of Mia's relationship with Delilah)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Delilah Won't Poop...

...because she's worried about the invasion of the tiny white particles.

video

She did this the. Entire. Walk.


video

And she was too excited to poop!




Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Protocol for Relaxation: Day 2

Day 2: Dog's Task 
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 1 step back and return
Sit while you take 3 steps back and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 3 steps to the right and return
Sit while you take 3 steps to the left and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 3 steps to the right and clap your hands
Sit while you take 3 steps to the left and clap your hands
Sit for 5 seconds
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you walk one fourth of the way around the dog to the right
Sit while you take 4 steps back
Sit while you walk one fourth of the way around the dog to the left
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 5 steps back from the dog, clapping your hands, and return
Sit while you walk halfway around the dog to the right and return
Sit while you walk halfway around the dog to the left and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you jog quietly in place for 3 seconds
Sit while you jog quietly in place for 5 seconds
Sit while you jog quietly in place for 10 seconds
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you jog one fourth of the way around the dog to the right and return
Sit while you jog one fourth of the way around the dog to the left and return
Sit for 5 seconds
Sit for 10 seconds

Delilah did really well today up until the "sit while you take 5 steps back... clapping..." part.  That confused her and at first she wanted to get up and follow me.  We tried that one a few times and she eventually got it!  Today it took us about 15 minutes to complete the exercises in the living room.  She keeps lifting her paw up during the sit though and just holds it in the air.  Weirdo.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Protocol for Relaxation: Day 1

The book I've been reading, "Control Unleashed," recommended teaching conditioned relaxation and utilizing Dr. Karen Overall's Protocol for Relaxation.  I thought, "Great, another thing I need to buy."  But today I was looking for conditioned relaxation exercises online, and I found a copy of the protocol!  So we're starting to use this before moving on to other exercises in "Control Unleashed."

Day 1

We started in our living room, where most of our training sessions take place.  I'm using a mat for her "place" since sitting and lying down on our hard tile floors is uncomfortable for her bony little butt.

We successfully completed this series of tasks.  It took us about 10 minutes (while I was heating up lasagna).

Day 1: Dog's Task
Sit for 5 seconds
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 1 step back and return
Sit while you take 2 steps back and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 1 step to the right and return
Sit while you take 1 step to the left and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 2 steps back and return
Sit while you take 2 steps to the right and return
Sit for 15 seconds
Sit while you take 2 steps to the left and return
Sit while you clap your hands softly once
Sit while you take 3 steps back and return
Sit while you count out loud to 10
Sit while you clap your hands softly once
Sit while you count out loud to 20
Sit while you take 3 steps to the right and return
Sit while you clap your hands softly twice
Sit for 3 seconds
Sit for 5 seconds
Sit while you take 1 step back and return
Sit for 3 seconds
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit for 5 seconds
Sit for 3 seconds

At first, during the sit for 5 and sit for 10 seconds, she kept trying to go into a down.  This is because when we were first training a down-stay she would keep popping into a sit so we did a lot of work emphasizing the down.  I said "eh," put her back into a sit position and then told her "good" which she understands as being on the right track.  I know some trainers don't like using a verbal correction or no reward marker, but it helps communicate to Delilah exactly when she made the mistake.  If I say "eh" and then show her what I want her to do, she will self-correct her mistakes.  She understood very quickly what I was trying to communicate to her and after the first two exercises, she didn't have that problem again.

Overall, she did very well!  We're probably going to advance quickly through these exercises in the apartment, but take longer outdoors and in new locations.  I'm very excited to start this with her!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Delilah: Training Update

So the other day I signed up for Delilah's next training class!  It's not an agility class yet but it's the one we need before agility.  It will be in March.  We're very excited, Delilah loves classes!


I also ordered the book "Control Unleashed."  It's about helping "dogs with issues" (like Delilah) learn to relax and focus in situations that might stress them out or distract them.  I've only read the beginning so far and the first thing it recommended was teaching a conditioned relaxation.  So I've started working on that with Delilah- just marking and rewarding her whenever she's physically relaxed and calm.  We also worked on "place" using both her bed and a mat.  She loves "place" in her bed!  We're starting out in the house, but hopefully we'll be able to move outside in the next week or two if the weather continues to be nice (it was above 40*F in VT! Crazy!)

Watching me do dishes from her "place."
She's done a couple of things that made me proud in the past week.  The first is that I brought her to Petco (although it was later at night so there weren't many people around) and she didn't yap at all!  She was fairly calm and well behaved (although she REALLY wanted to kill the birds).  I'm going to continue bringing her to pet friendly places on my days off so she can get used to being in different environments and practicing training.




The other thing is that we've left her out of her crate a few times when we've gone out for short periods of time.  I only do it if she's peed and pooped before we leave.  She hasn't had any accidents or destroyed anything!  I peaked in through the window on my way home last night and she was lying in her bed!  Such a good girl!