Posts tagged ‘clicker’

Back to School.

In the Garden.
In the Garden.

We’re back at Puppy Gurus to learn advanced obedience for the next six weeks. This is really about training the humans more than the canine… We’re going to be learning the “Instant Long Distance Down”, target training using a target stick, the agility weave plus a novelty trick or two just to keep us on our toes. There was also talk about re-enacting scenes from Hamlet but we think this was a joke…?

In other news, Phoenix has grown big enough to now sproing off, around and over the sofa, plus when our guard is down, to break into the bedroom and briefly go ape on the bed.  We try not to think of hip scores and fragile puppy bones – denial is always the first course of action in this household.  At the height of hysterical excitement it’s like her brain short-circuits and she tries to do everything at once; sit, stand, chew, wag, steal, shake hands, bark and dribble. It’s a sight to see.

30/04/2009 at 16:10 Leave a comment

The Graduate.

puppy-gurus-rosette

Officially Socialised.

Phoenix graduated from Puppy Gurus tonight! She’s officially socialised. She is now the proud possessor of a purple rosette and a certificate. We haven’t attempted to pin the rosette on her crate because she would just chew it into tiny purple shreds. But it’s there in spirit.

Phoenix can now “do” – sit, up (which is stand), down (which is er…down), wait, come, stay, fetch, drop, shake paw, stand (which is stack), heel, off.

'Stifficate.

'Stifficate.

About two weeks ago she suddenly clicked into “learning mode” with a vengeance and is now at the stage where she can be taught just about anything and can pick it up almost immediately; so far we’ve taught particle physics (God don’t get her started on quarks), brain surgery and hatha yoga. We think this is because she has settled into her environment and is really happy and confident in every aspect of her home and routine. She knows what’s what and what’s expected of her. She’s also sleeping through the night now too.  Which is nice.

09/03/2009 at 20:31 Leave a comment

Ice is Nice.

Walking on Water.

Walking on Water.

First journey around the land – we live on five acres of land which is planted up with around 1900 trees and shrubs. There’s also a river and a woodland. This was the first time our pond had frozen up – Adam took a chance and walked out into the middle. Phoenix decided it looked like fun and slip-walked her way out too, causing mild heart attacks all round. The words “hip dysplasia” and “astronomical vet bills” echoed in our heads as Phoenix effortlessly glided over the ice.  Luckily, she soon wandered onto land again.

Phoenix is more or less toilet trained now – apart from an occasional accident. It’s been the use of the crate that has regulated her bladder,we were unsure about the whole crate thing as it seemed like we were caging her up, but she has found it a place of safety and comfort, retreating whenever she needed to. A bit like a den in the wild.

This, along with clicking and treating at the right moment, in the right place, has worked really quickly and really well.

She seems to be a smart cookie this one…but then we would say that wouldn’t we?!

09/01/2009 at 11:11 Leave a comment

Party Animal

Tim trying out new sling indoors.

Tim trying out new sling indoors.

First attempts at “stacking” using the clicker and treat method – as a preparation for Phoenix’s big turn in the (future?) show ring…show-biz is calling.

… we had a semi hunger strike on our hands. Phoenix took  a look at her biscuit based breakfast and basically refused to eat – where’s the good stuff? Y’know the meaty stuff. Biscuits no longer working as a treat – not cutting the mustard anymore. Luckily we’d already stocked a freezer up with her specialist raw food. We made a 50/50 blend of raw food and biscuit, mixing them up. This was accepted without any problem.

There were only a couple of other dogs at the puppy party – organised by the lovely nurses at the vets in their own time – seven were expected and only two turned up.  A springer-spaniel called Sasha (who barked a lot – an unfortunate trick which Phoenix immediately took up as her own. Arf and indeed Arf!). The other party animal was a beautifully trained 14 month old rescue border collie belonging to one of the nurses.

Sasha was quite timid and over-awed by the whole thing and also by Phoenix’s confidence and bouncy demeanour.  Phoenix and the collie had an intensive play session and as usual she gave as good as she got…

Sleep update: not much of a problem, a bit of a howl at night but then all is well.

Chewing: oh, the chewing! We have been following the advice of Ian Dunbar (“Before and After Getting Your Puppy”) who says you should allow your dog to bite you in order to give appropriate feedback as to the intensity of the bite, so they can gradually soften the bite pressure. This is called bite inhibition. She seems to be softening her bite: only mouthing gently…

08/01/2009 at 17:36 Leave a comment

So it begins…

Camouflaged amongst the chair legs.

Camouflaged amongst the chair legs.

Day 2:  Phoenix woke up every hour on the hour, not much sleep for Daddy A (Tim) and Daddy X (Adam) Phoenix was introduced to the world of clicker and treat today, Phoenix learnt her name, and learnt to sit. Toys were chewed.

First contact was made with the cats, who didn’t want to play. At all. Phoenix couldn’t really understand why her new fluffy puppy friends didn’t want to rumble.

First trip outdoors: Phoenix was overwhelmed by being outdoors. It was really cold and frosty too, in contrast to her supreme confidence in every other situation.

Toilet Training bulletin: a bit hit and miss but give her a break it is day one in a new home!  A few puddles. We put in a turf filled tray for her to use but she didn’t know what grass was! Let alone frozen grass.

05/01/2009 at 17:14 Leave a comment


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