Socializing with Major

Whew! Where the heck did the week go? Here’s the rundown from the days I missed:

Wednesday

German Shepherd and a pigThe weather Wednesday left much to be desired, so we stuck mostly to indoor training.

That said, we had a nice session that morning — Riley actually gave me a bow on command several times, so that’s super exciting. She still gets confused occasionally and lays down instead of stopping at a bow, but it seems to be getting better (of course she also offered a prolonged bow before laying down when I gave her a down command, so we’ll definitely have to do some alternating once she’s got the new command).

I also started trying to work her on her “let’s go” command off lead in the backyard. Having reliable off lead performance is super important to me for a number of reasons. So we’ll also be working some more on that (unlike recall-fetch, “let’s go” doesn’t involve sitting or laying down in the mud, so I don’t mind doing that on bad weather days as much).

We were supposed to go to training class but unfortunately wound up having to cancel because something came up.

Thursday

We skipped hounds on the town on Thursday because I was slammed with work and hadn’t had a chance in about a week and a half to run errands — I was completely out of cat food. We did a few short training sessions around the house but nothing major. Overall, nothing exciting to report.

I tried to work on some things other than the bow command just because we haven’t done much other practice since we’ve been working so hard on the one command.

I also created a baby food can with peanut butter in it instead of baby food for rewards. Man, she loves her some peanut butter.

Friday

And now we’re caught up! Today was awesome. I had a meeting first thing this morning, but as soon as I got home Riley and I went out to play some fetch and got in some recall-fetch. I didn’t train too hard with her, instead opting to do short 5 minute session throughout the day.

For the last few days we’ve been trying a new method to distraction-proof her: using meal time as training time.

She’s always had to sit and stay for her dinner, but now we’re also calling her away mid-meal. She’s actually doing really well with it now that she knows she’ll be allowed to go back to eating once she’s done whatever we ask of her.

I was also happy because our neighbor, who has two dogs, and a friend of hers who has a dog were all around and I got to work with Riley a bit on her dog distraction issues. She started off barking like a crazy dog but we got her calmed down and she actually did some decent greets with one of the other dogs. She was behaving well enough that we even let the two of them play off leash for a bit (the other dog was extremely well trained—I was more than a little impressed… but we’ll get there).

Riley is a bit like a bull in a China shop sometimes when meeting other dogs so we’re teaching her that it’s much better to do what Suzie, our trainer, calls a “crescent.” Basically, each dog smells the other’s butt. No nice way to put it.

She did two nice greetings with Major before we let them play — and play  they did! Tag and chase, back and forth all over the yard. And when they strayed a bit too far and I hollered her name she came back (not as close as I would have liked, but I also didn’t actually use her recall command, just her name so I’m okay with it).

Anyway, both Riley and I had a ball. Nothing quite like two shut ins getting a chance to be social. And tomorrow we get to see if she’ll bow in class. I’ll keep you posted.

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