2-Minute dog trainer, Tempest week 2

For the past week we’ve been continuing a few protocols from week 1, specifically:

A. Tempest automatically sits to exit his pen or crate. I’m now asking for eye contact for a second before opening the gate. If I wait longer than a second he offers a down, thinking perhaps he’s misunderstood the exercise.

B. Pottying every time he exits the house. As a friend wrote about her new puppy, “they sure PEE a lot!”  So far, no accidents in the house and he gets anxious when he needs to pee, so I’m learning to recognize the urgency in his voice.

C. Once a day we get his meal, my clicker, and work on attention and name. I’ve added the recall to this exercise by taking a single piece of kibble, tossing it away saying “find it!”, then calling “T, come!”, clicking and feeding for a nice recall.

D. Going to the agility building once a day for experience on the big-dog toys. I’ve been encouraging Tempest to get onto the pause table but, at 12″, it’s a tough climb for him. The string cheese won out, though, and yesterday he discovered his rear legs were capable of propelling him onto the surface of the table. Now he approaches the table and hops on.

I’ve discovered that my advice to others holds true for my puppy as well — if you want to wear out the puppy, exercise his brain. The training sessions are kept brief, just 2-3 minutes, and there are no repetitive motion elements. He is, afterall, just a baby at 10-1/2 weeks.

We had a breakthrough today on the recall.

First, let me confess to being a control freak with the dogs.  I establish and stick to routines, they don’t have to wonder what is expected of them, and they’re not free to just do “whatever” unless that is safe play.

The first two weeks Tempest was with us he progressed from being a clingy baby to being more independent. Now he likes to be out in the yard playing with Kory. He doesn’t care for coming in at this time.

I started calling him in a playful tone, and that worked at first. I continued the once-a-day training with attention and name, adding the recall to the exercise.

Still, his desire to be free outside trumped his desire to respond to my recall. On a few occasions I called, he turned away and ran from me, I followed until he gave up on his escape plan. It was comical but I’ve learned not to laugh out loud at such antics. But that cute butt trotting away from me, those big ole ears glued to the side of his head, listening as he tried to escape, all was just too funny for words.

I put a bowl of puppy chow at the door and rattled it while calling. The lure of food drew him into the house.

I knew I needed to switch from lure to reward. But the recall had to happen before I could reward it.

Tonight we had a breakthrough. Without holding and shaking the food bowl, and with Tempest standing on the deck and looking toward the yard longingly, I said, “T come!”

I could see the wheels turning. He looked at me, looked at the yard, looked back at me. He shifted his weight my direction and I said “Yes! What a good boy!” And he trotted into the house.

I was so proud of him.

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One Response to “2-Minute dog trainer, Tempest week 2”

  1. zootdoggydog Says:

    I have an almost 4 month old Golden puppy as our newest household member. I put a pause table on the ground, and he’s been happily sitting or lying on it. this week I’ll start asking him to go to it and offer a sit or a down on it. He’s been on the dog walk as well, at two feet off the ground. I have someone hold him at one end, and I call him to the other end. He’ll gallop the length of it now, totally unafraid. When he went careening off at one point, we just made a big deal out of “wow if you get back on there are COOKIES!!”, and he jumped right back on. We are very careful to NOT have him go anywhere near the teeter yet, as I don’t want him to run that board quite yet. 🙂 but he does play on tippy boards…they don’t look like a dog walk or a teeter though. 🙂

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