This Week, And Second Puppy Class

We had our second puppy class. My expectations are to get basic things in hand, and I think that those expectations will e met. Even so, I’m a little bothered. I’m thinking maybe our trainer isn’t really an out of the box thinker. It’s OK, some people aren’t. I am one of them in some respects, so it isn’t really an indictment or condemnation or something like that, it’s just a thing.

During part of class, she tells me that she’s been looking into service dogs, and they aren’t really started on formal service dog task training until they’re 18-24 months old. OK, I know this is traditionally the case, or really, usually guide dog school starts around 14-15 months a lot of the time. How would I not know this? I’ve had three program trained guide dogs…did they just fall out of the sky? Did I just get three dogs and no background? And, I might want to get some professional help, and she doesn’t know how I’d train the dog to go around obstacles. Good thing I don’t expect to have to do this right now. Seriously, I have a lot of time to work on this. I don’t happen to agree that I need a professional guide dog trainer to help me, since I know a bunch of smart people who have done this before I have. Meaning to cast no aspersions on professional guide dog trainers (Hi Christie!) I don’t think I’ll get too stuck and if I do, I know I have a lot of help to get un-stuck. I don’t believe I need some professional to hold my hand, once I get a start on communicating properly with my dog. But that this trainer thinks I might need professional help indicates one of two things to my mind:

1) I’m not a very good student. While I think this is a possibility, I don’t think it’s a great possibility. Maybe I’m thicker than I think I am, but I think I’ll do all right.

2) The trainer isn’t really sure how to work with me, and thinks maybe I’m going to be limited in what/how far I can go in working with my dog. This seems to me to be a bit more likely. I’m not sure how to best address this, and anyway, it’s a six week class at a pretty low price, relatively speaking, so I reckon I’ll get the most I can out of it and go on.

I’m honestly not sure why this is a worry at this point anyway, since Hilda is only three months old for goodness sake. Gotta walk before you can run, gotta crawl before you can walk.

When I brought up our steps backward in housebreaking, the trainer said “Maybe take her out more often”, and reward when she goes in appropriate places. OK, I can get that. I think she just thinks that places to go that aren’t appropriate *are* appropriate. School proves that she can hold it. I gave her a chance to go after class, in the grass near the place that classes are held, and she didn’t go. When we got home, however, she did. Enough that I actually heard it. Anyway, I mentioned that the trick was knowing exactly when she went. (Sometimes it’s very quick.) Well…maybe I can get someone to go out with me and tell me exactly when she’s going. OK…who? She suggested alena. Great idea, except Alena would probably tell me, except well after she’d finished. So this is just something I’ll have to keep plugging away at. It’s a process.

We’re working on sits and downs with stay. We’ve been doing this a bit already. I was amused…Hilda would go down for me with a lure, and she didn’t want to at first for the trainer.

With the hand touches, I mentioned she’d do them once I had her attention. Well, says trainer, that’s the point, you use that to get their attention. Yeah, I get it. That’s the ultimate goal. But what about when she’s paying attention to something else? I understand the ultimate goal, and we’re working toward that. Not there yet.

Next week, we’ll work on “Come” and loose leash walking. She uses a tunnel to help with come. These are a couple things that will be helpful.

Sometimes, I wonder what made me think i could do this thing. Except, maybe I’m crazy, but I still think I can.

Steps Backwards?

Puppy class on Friday. I think I’ll be glad to start that. Since Melanie’s gotten home, I’ve been as busy as ever though. Which also means that I haven’t had a lot of time to do a lot of training with the Beast. Seriously, it’s felt like I’m always doing something with a dog. Usually involving taking one or another of them out to park. Of course, that’s not entirely true. I wish I could let her have some freedom in the house, but I can’t. In part because of the housebreaking. In part because of the propensity for indiscriminately picking up and possibly chewing anything and everything. Picking up the oxygen tubing and giving it a good chomp would probably be a bad thing. Especially if I don’t notice. I’ll feel a lot better about it once I can start getting a good recall on her. At least with the bell, I can keep track of where she is, except of course when she got away from me this evening when I was getting her into the crate to do something with dinner. She took a merry run around the downstairs, and eventually came back on her own. The coming back on her own was a good thing.

Today was a busy day for me, not so much for Hilda. Tomorrow will probably be the same.

Today, I had to take Fiona to the vet. Fiona was a spaz at the vet. Panting, squirming, trying to be everywhere at once. I think there was some anxiety going. (On a side note, I think she’s not entirely happy about Hilda. Lots of growling and snapping, and I don’t think it’s always playful. I do keep them separated as much as possible for that reason, but Fiona also barks as if she wants to play with the other two, except maybe she doesn’t want to when she has the opportunity.)

Anyway, I put her in the crate. I wanted to take her out one more time before I left, but of course, the cab came for us right away, as opposed to later. However, as I took her out only a half hour or so before, I figured it’d be OK. I put Leno in with her, hoping that would help. instead, they both set up barking! Oops. And she peed. And licked it. And walked in it. (I think she laid in it yesterday after I gave her a bath…I can’t think of another reason the whole side of her was all wet after she dried out.) She repeated this performance a couple other times, even though I’d taken her out only a short time before, each time. I had to go to the store and came back to a similar mess. And another time later. And again this evening. When I took her outside each time, she still had more, too, so I think it was a physical rather than a mental or training problem. On a different note, she’s never, apart from the first or second day, defecated in the house. And she’s gone through the night every night after the first week or so, knock on wood.

Speaking of the bath, yep…I gave her one yesterday. She was a little squirmy, there was a tiny bit of whining, she made a halfhearted attempt to get out of the bathtub, but over all, no real problems with that.

I’m also getting less pulling on the leash when we walk to go out to park. I’m looking forward to trying another walk around the block.

Her leash definitely has puppy teeth at it. She hasn’t chewed through it yesterday, but it’s definitely been chewed from the couple times I accidentally left it on her while confined. I’m going to send off for a couple more of these, just in case.

With Melanie having new attendants, and nurses, and therapists, and all sorts of people in and out, Hilda has met a bunch of people. She’s been very friendly to all of them. She is a jumper though. But she’s showed no anxiety with new people. Oh…and she definitely barks at the vacuum cleaner. Don’t think it’s a fear bark, because it sounds like the bark she barks at the cats.

A Little Setback…

Looks like it might be one of those days. That is, if so far is any indication.

I’ve got the spare room so that there shouldn’t be anything that Hilda can get into (umm…yeah, good luck with that, right?) So we may do some stuff in there without a leash and see how it goes. That may, however, be tempting fate. Last night at about 12:30, I woke up to loud Hilda complaints. I thought, well…she didn’t go much on our last trip, maybe she’s got to go. Well, turns out she done went, and the crate contained the contents of a pretty full puppy bladder. I’m not sure from where, since she hadn’t had water for quite a while. So out we went, we got another park, crate got cleaned up, back to bed we went.

We went out in the morning, she didn’t seem to want to do much. Got another park eventually, but she didn’t want breakfast. OK, I’ve heard of this, so we’ll just eat later. All good. After futile attempts to chase the cats, back into the downstairs crate so I could take care of Leno and feed the cats, and of course the whole time keeping an eye on Alena as she got herself together for school. Off to let her out, and again, the contents of a puppy bladder. Now she’s waiting upstairs, since I just cleaned the downstairs crate and now need to take care of my breakfast.