Sunday, August 29, 2010

Our new exit strategy

i think i posted awhile back about our issues with calm exits from the house. or at least Loks. well, we seems to finally have that sorted out. my initial vision for entryways was that my dogs would not bolt out of doors without permission and they would exit calmly upon receiving permission. well, we've had the not bolting down for ages. my dogs very rarely go out the door without permission. but we were having major issues with calm exits. it seemed that at least Lok had put far too much value on leaving the house and his release word "ok"had taken on the character of his flyball "go"command.

so, i decided that rather than my dogs assuming they were to stay inside until released, they may assume they can come outside with me unless told to stay in. this has totally transformed our doorway behavior. a simple "stay in" and all the dogs know theyre not coming with me. we even have it down to the point where i can tell one dog to stay and have the other two come with me. its very slick. Lok is not totally calm about exits yet, but he is a lot better than he used to be, and Jun and elo are perfect.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Elo and LAT

I can't believe how far Elo has come since I started seriously working with him on his behavior in public a couple months ago. He blew me away last night! I have to say, LAT is miraculous! Elo, as far as I can tell, freaks out at stuff simply because he doesn't know any other way to respond. LAT has given him a different way and it's so much fun to watch the wheels turning!

We went to the park last night to work on his "asshole training." There were quite a few cars there (mostly parked), lots of kids running around the playground, and even a dog WAY off in the distance. I didn't know if it would be too much for him, but we were quite a long distance away from the action, so I figured I'd give it a try. As soon as I got him out of his crate, he knew the game we were playing and his eyes were glued to mine. He didn't even bother to look around for things he might want to bark at. He was totally fine, so we moved a little closer, then a little closer. Giving me attention while walking (especially with any distractions) is way too much for him at this point, and motion gets him worked up, so we just took a few steps forward and kept working while stationary. He did awesome the whole time! Alternating between offering me little over the shoulder LAT glances, and giving me eye contact. Relaxing in a sit or a down. I thought we might have some trouble when a couple people came walking quickly towards us, but I broke his focus on them before he could react by calling his name and running backwards. He responded immediately and came to me, so he got a jackpot for that and we called it a day.

My other Elo brag--I took him to the park to run on a long line. Brag number 1: He was calm enough in the park to play fetch with a ball!! Last time we were there, he was WAY too distracted to play. Brag number 2: There is never ANYBODY in this park and nobody ever walks by, but of course some lady walked by with a dog and Elo saw it and took off before I could grab his long line (if he's this fast on 3 legs, I can't imagine how fast he would be with 4!). However . . . . when I called (ok, SCREAMED) his name, he STOPPED, turned around, and came to me!!!! Having no treats or toys for him at the exact moment, I rewarded him with a dog catch (his favorite trick) and some love.

It's been almost a year that he's been with me and I can't believe how far he's come! He really wants to be a good boy and I know we'll get there!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

traveling with three dogs

We got back from our trip to CO last night. Traveling with three dogs was interesting, and definitely a learning experience. I am VERY glad I bought a second car-sized crate before we went. Jun always rides crated. Lok and Elo are both great loose, but it was a huge sanity-saver to only have to deal with one of them loose at a time. Two crates fit perfectly in the back of my truck and Lok and Elo switched off during the drive.

Elo impressed me greatly on this trip! Not once did he react to a moving car, no matter how close to him they were!!! He only barked at motorcycles when they drove by us on the road. He did react to people in the hotel parking lot a couple times, but stopped that fairly quickly. During the competition days, he mostly stayed at the hotel, but near the end of one day I went and picked him up and brought him to the field. I carried him around on my shoulder for awhile, since he is not reactive when he's being carried, and just let him take in the sights. Then I finally set him down and let him hang out on the ground for a few minutes. We didn't try to walk around at all. We just worked on eye contact and LAT. Another dog walked towards him and he reacted, but recovered quickly, and after that was able to do LAT with other dogs sitting nearby without reacting. He was attentive to me when I called his name and sat or laid down calmly the whole time. I only gave him a few minutes, then picked him up and carried him back to the car, as I wanted to quit while he was successful.

Lok nearly got us kicked out of the hotel due to his barking, which caused Elo to howl. Pretty sure they woke up everyone in the hotel on Sunday morning at 7:30 and I learned that I cannot leave Lok loose while Elo is crated. I knew that, but haven't had them in that situation for so long that I forgot. Lok came with me wherever I went for most of the trip.

Other than that, they were pretty good dogs. It was a lot to handle, but we managed pretty well. It's good to be home though.