training Kory in Bud’s absence

When I’m faced with 3-4 days of training Bud’s dogs in his absence I generally pick a specific behavior that needs to be added to the puppy’s reperitoire, but which won’t detract from what Bud’s working on at the time.

For the next 3 days Bud’s judging USDAA at Janet Kemerer’s place in Washingtonville, Ohio. Like a lot of folks who offer trials in this lousy economy, Janet found that entries didn’t justify 2 judges so she asked Bud to judge all 30-some classes over 3 days. He’s going to work his butt off for the next few days so feeding and training Kory is the least I can do.

FYI — I heard on Ohio Public Radio this week that 279,000 more Ohioans lost their jobs in the last quarter, bringing the total number of lost jobs in Ohio to over 679,000. The economy in our part of the state has been stagnant for many years, so this latest crisis isn’t hitting us as hard as it’s hitting the highly populated parts of the state. We had no bubble to burst.

Anyway ….. I’ve chosen a skill to teach Kory that will enhance his life, his relationship with our pack, and our lives.

Kory is going to learn how to put his head in his food bowl and eat without dumping his food, without playing with his bowl, without timing out.

Our pack needs about 90-120 seconds to consume their breakfast, and about another 90-120 seconds to consume their dinner. A puppy who shows little interest in his food bowl, who wanders and nibs into other bowls, is going to get into trouble and is going to have his food stolen.

Until now Kory has been fed separately with Bud implementing mealtime training protocols. Hopefully, by Monday, Kory will be ready to join the pack for a hearty meal without starting any squabbles or suffering meal theft.

I began with our first meal opportunity — Thursday’s dinner. Bud left a couple of hours ago so I fed the pack as usual at about 5:00 p.m.

When everyone had finished their business I blocked them in and brought Kory and his dinner to the basement. I brought along my clicker as well — Kory has been worked a good bit with his clicker so he gets excited when he earns a click.

When I set his full bowl on the floor Kory sniffed it, got a click, and I fed him a few pieces of kibble from my hand. He had no interest in putting his snout in the bowl but I continued to click any instance of Kory’s snout facing the bowl, touching the bowl, going in the bowl.

Each click was accompanied by kibble from my hand which piqued his interest a bit more. As it began to dawn on him that the click occurred when his snout went into the bowl he became more and more intent on continuing to eat.

After about 45 seconds I discontinued feeding him from hand. He put his snout in the bowl, I clicked, he ate kibble.

It took him approximately 5 minutes to finish his bowl of kibble. By the end of the meal he was focused on finishing the food, getting periodic clicks for diving in with gusto after pausing to chew a mouthful.

After dinner I convinced him to produce “poopage” in the back yard quickly, and without the hours of delay he gives Bud. Unless Bud decides to read my blog he’ll have no idea what’s going on here. <g>

………… hours later ………….

Got back into the house from our Thursday night fun run event. Kory and I played fetch with the green kong toy for a few minutes. On his last fetch he caught the kong, spit it out, licked his lips, sniffed a spot on the ground, and gingerly picked up the kong again.

Yep, when I checked, there was a tooth on the ground. He’s dropping them everywhere. We both wear shoes in the house ’cause walking into a puppy tooth, barefoot, on hardwood floors, is just not worth thinking about.

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