Wow, Obe’s gained almost five pounds in the week that I’ve had him. The list of learning is pretty long, he’s a very quick study, but with reward based training many dogs are. One week packed full of things, built on each other for a 6-month-old recently purchased pup.
He learned to understand pointing for close things, to catch, push a big red ball, be a speed demon on the in the crate/out of the crate games. He’s learned some of the rules of tug, especially the ‘thank you’ which means stop, offer a sit and we might re-engage.
He’s learned to run on a leash next to my bike (today), learned to be quiet when left in the car and mostly always quiet in the crate even when we ‘abandon’ him to go elsewhere, and if he’s not it’s really brief. He’s sitting for doorways and offering sit a lot for other things, lying down quietly to get released from his crate, met 44 people politely, met the horses (two – nose to nose), met the cat and didn’t try to chase him and learned not to try to take Jazzie’s (adult ACD female) toys.
He knows his new name, comes nicely and is very easy to walk on the flexi-lead, He’s starting to learn the R+ zone beside me which will be heel. He can back up the stairs (physically understanding how to use his rear legs) and is very competent with hand touch, which makes twirl and spin easy and he’s even got the beginning of sit pretty. And he knows about ‘have a drink?’ for water. And he truly does seem to be house-trained, as far as potty goes.
He’s way more relaxed and happy. We visited the vet clinic again today – just a drop-in get petted visit and one of the staff thought he was a different dog because of his confidence (well she did have 409 cleaning spray on her hands last week). But he is expecting nice greetings now and no longer hesitates, I’ll have to start practicing non-greeting, just him sitting or lying down in the near future so he doesn’t decide that everyone needs greeting. It does seem a bit odd that people are so drawn to him, he is a Doberman after all.
He learned to lift his leg sometimes (such a grown-up boy), I mention this because he has seemed to mature a lot this week.
Bad stuff this week? Well he got his toe stuck in the crate gate, really stuck. For a while there I wasn’t sure I could get him loose (wheowee), but he was just laying still, not jerking it and not panicking. I got it released. He limped for a while that day and I postponed teaching him any real physical things because I couldn’t tell how badly it had been hurt, but it didn’t swell and it looked normal. Otherwise, both Jazzie and Max (elder adult male shepherd) got growly with him, he was being a little too testosterone filled. Jazz bit him in the nose and squeezed it pretty hard. But he just became more polite with them, so it was OK and not overwhelming…seemed about right actually.
A good week all in all. I’m feeling happy that I purchased him, I think he will do excellently despite going through two other families so quickly.
So why the stuff I have worked on? Well I want a balance of control cues like sit, down, wait, walk with me, settle in crate and car and action games like tug, fetch, run with the bicycle and come to me fast and play a game. And socialization…whatever area of it needs the most encouragement; for him it was make sure he had a lot of meet and greets that were good ones because he was only mildly tentative about it. If conversely, he had been too wild about meet and greets or too worried about them, we would have done observer sitting for rewards without the meeting. One of the socialization things we will be working on, and I guess we have actually already started is having him totally focus on interacting with me instead of any distractions.
Why did those other families give up and want him out of their lives? Well, I don’t know for sure, but smart, athletic dogs are often very difficult for novice or laissez-faire or dominance-thought-pattern dog owners. They probably breathed a huge sigh of relief while I’m celebrating the good karma.