Obe’s Progress – at week three by Jeanine Renzoni
Obe the Dobie continues to do brilliantly, he is so funny, such a big, long-legged puppy. At 7-months-old he’s in a major chew cycle, he’s kind of klutzy, he forgets to drink water because he’s having so much fun. He spills a lot of water too, slurp, slurp. He loves sticks and doesn’t chase the cat despite what his earlier family said – Smokey is a Zen cat. I sit on the floor to play some of the games with him and he always seems to end up with his back-end up in my face, I just call him “stinky butt boy” (it’s mostly not really stinky and this is oddly a good thing as originally he was worried about having his tail or rear touched – not anymore :)).
Today we were playing a kind of Rally-O game; kennel up and lay down equals a small handful of puppy kibble, wait equals larger handful, break (release from waiting in crate) and sit = handful, send into the shower stall in the bathroom (want him comfortable getting in and out of shower) and turn around = doled out handful, kennel up again = couple of pieces, front feet on wobble board (unstable surfaces, like cars, docks, boats, etc. often worry dogs) = handful, back foot on wobble board = jackpot, down the stairs and backwards up (dogs often have little understanding of controlling their rear feet) = some each step, sit pretty…offer paw… and on until breakfast was done being served.
Then it was time for just general play which included some sit, tug, sit, retrieve, tug, down, retrieve, tug, new toy to play with, retrieve, tug, trade toys again even though someone black and tan likes the multi-legged rope toy the best…the best, really it is the best. He does a really great frog-dog, you know it, back legs extended completely out while lying on the floor. If he heads for the floor-reclining-cat I just make a kiss kiss sound as a positive interrupter, the cat’s Zen, but he doesn’t really liked to be walked over.
Obe and I were at agility class as observers this week again, this time the see-saw was in use and it was really banging loudly, at first he was surprised, then after a couple bangs he just ignored it. We’re still working toward having down position observation while other dogs run/jump/bark, we’re getting there.
At agility I overheard a woman asking another club member about how to get a dog to release something from his mouth, lots of not-so-nice methods were mentioned, eek. We just trade or stop tugging. Once Obe realized we’d play again after he let go and sat or laid down he offered that after a really short interval. Ours is a very controlled wild game…calm start (no stealing), wild middle and calm end…sitting or down. Not to ignore that sometimes he wants to keep whatever he has (stick, tennis ball), then I just compliment his ability to carry stuff and ignore the item, soon he wants me to join in and take it or toss it.
Outside on our walk we (of course) played treat for potty, then reward for being in the zone (heeling) and some come/hand target games and then his favorite stick games – retrieve, tug, sit, retrieve and us walking both holding the stick – what a party. I’ve started some circle work and go outs for a piece of kibble or the flung tug toy. When cars go by we do sit/wait and show them the proper dog and maybe proper trainer.
Compared to several weeks ago now he is so much more relaxed and calmly comedic. It’s a very nice change to see, even though he was quite good before, now there is a lot of trust. So toenail clipping (clip one get treat), clip another (get treat), ear cleaning – he actually liked that right away – and rolling over is now just a chance for a belly rub.
The first, most obvious issue was his anxiety, barking, pummeling in the crate. I wrote an early post about launching into resolving that. And it was mostly…about 80 percent resolved in three days, but we’ve been working on refining crated quiet because even though he wasn’t barking or complaining all the time anymore he still was expressing his displeasure for several minutes if everyone else but him got to go outside. Or if I left and didn’t take him with me. It’s still reward when quiet and make sure he doesn’t think that barking or whining gets him released or gets me to come back in for him. I’ve played with my other dogs in the living room, while he’s in the crate and that’s a bit hard for him, but he’s getting rewarded for quiet and ignored for doggy commenting. So it’s not quite where I want it yet, but definitely getting there, he’s a smart boy and he’s real close to understanding this whole quiet boy in the crate system.
As far as his chew cycle…I just give him things to chew and expect that almost anything could be fair game, so I’m ready to redirect. Oddly enough he likes shredding fake lambskin (usually it’s so tough that it’s safe as a young dog kennel blanket) but he doesn’t rip up sweatshirt material or regular fleece blankets so these are his bedding for now.
I had to let his collar out one notch today…good grief, how much more is he going to grow?