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Showing posts from November, 2013

Socialization: The Big Red R

Malcolm is such a fun puppy and so very tiring.  I had planned on taking him to The Big Red R on Saturday, but I was so tired after a week of health flares that I spent the day resting in my chair and training Malcolm on Level 1 behaviors and Focus and Mat behaviors.  He was so excited to train and we got so very far on his training.

He is giving solid nose touches with target now.  He can do it up and down and to either side.  He can do it straight on and take up to 8 steps to touch my hand with a solid touch.  I was very happy with this.  he'd been hit or miss with targeting and I didn't want to progress much further until I saw his nose pressed tightly into my hand.  Once I saw that I worked on him touching a wooden spoon, a plastic spoon and a metal ladle.  He did nice firm touches on all of them, though he's still a bit mouthy with them.  It's now time to work on targeting with items and my hand daily until targeting is on his brain and build up to him targeting …

14 Weeks: Training - Days 30 - 34

He is going to drive me into an early grave.  He's so busy and independent that I am tired by the end of each day.  What makes it worse is he's just discovered there is an "us" and "them".  The first inkling of that was on Saturday when he reacted to the children, but I have seen it since.  In class on Monday he barked at the other puppies and today in the vet office he reacted to a dog in the lobby.  He's not aggressive, just telling me a stranger is in the area and he's not certain what to do about it.  It's a normal puppy stage and one I knew we'd have to work though, so I am not upset or surprised by it.

He has a level of focus that is surprising and a level of distractability that reminds me he's still very young and not close to trained.  He has hit a point where he sees and recognizes there are things outside of the fence line and if he's out to potty he'll forget and watch with a stillness that tells me he's trying t…

Socialization: Malcolm vs The Ferret

Carol and Dana Byrnes own Diamonds in the Ruff and their son Travis Byrnes also works at the Ruff House.  Travis is also a friend from my convention involvement with SpoCon and RadCon and shares a love for science fiction and role playing games.  He has three lovely children and a lovely wife who share the same interests.  His children are intelligent and active and perfect for introducing a young puppy to the concept that not all children stand calmly at a bus stop and wait quietly there.  Travis was one of the people who volunteered to be part of Malcolm's village when doing his early socialization.

He had a friend, Peter, who had ferrets who were dog savvy and had agreed to introduce to Malcolm.  We had to shuffle a bit over these past busy weeks to find a time we could meet, and a location to do the meeting and finally settled on Saturday at Travis' home.  What a perfectly wonderful, chaotic event this was and what perfect timing in Malcolm's socialization.

Malcolm is…

13 Weeks: Training - Days 25 - 29

As a disabled handler it can be a roller coaster of good days and bad when training a dog.  In my case, I am training more than one dog, trying to launch a business and keep up with a high energy puppy.  I felt like I was spiraling out of control and I could feel that my temper was shifting from level and tolerant to volatile.  When this happens I back off and just manage the dogs with games, free play and cuddle times so I can regain my self control.

You may ask why this is important and I will share it with you - I have Borderline Personality Disorder.  This means my temper goes from okay to volcano in a matter of seconds if I don't do a lot of little intervening steps to keep myself calm.  This has been an issue all of my life.  I used to not have those controls in place and it meant when my temper flipped that switch I would be out of control with a tiny voice in the back of my mind screaming "STOP!" and me scrambling to regain control.  The safetys had to be added …