Bradley, 1 Year Old, Spent

Bradley, 1 Year Old, Spent

Bradley turned 1 year old today and this first year has tired him out. We’re sure he’ll be much more subdued from now on…

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Correct Companion – Week 3 – Training Day 1

Sandwich Heeling:  40 feet between automatic sits, with 3 speeds and 3 turns.

Sit-Stay: Nose-to-knees, start with 15, move to 30 seconds.  Use exercise finished.

Stand: 15 seconds, use exercise finished.

Sandwich (heeling and soak time)

Sit on the Dog

We kept going with Week 2 last week, to reinforce the automatic sits.  Bradley is not automatically sitting in the way that he is supposed to.  He certainly knows he is supposed to sit when we stop, and does if he can focus.  He will sit if we use the command, physically manipulate him, nudge him in the hind quarters, snap near his ear, say “hey”, give an actual correction, ask him what he’s supposed to be doing… pretty much anything to snap him out of focusing on something else.  Fundamentally, I know this is a problem because he is relying on a cue.  This is why we will probably be taking this class again.

Week 3 exercises proved to be interesting.  Bradley does not seem to like it when I stand in front of his face.  He tries to look around me, or turn around.  But he does stay where he’s put for the most part, and will do it for as long as we ask.  One problem we have is that Bradley just lies down while he waits for the next command.  The stand was very good, which is surprising because in Basic Companion, this was the one thing that Bradley did not really like to do.

The sandwich-ing is good when we finish an exercise, but not perfect when we stop again after a few feet.  Because Bradley’s favorite speed is super-fast, taking two steps and then stopping again is difficult because he’s practically at a run already.

We practiced some more inside the house, but it was frustrating because although Bradley did the automatic sits very well, he quickly lied down.  Now, part of the problem is that our floors are hardwood, and Bradley naturally slides into a down when he sits.  He’s also used to only being on a leash indoors when he’s being sat on, so he may think he should be lying down.  I’m not sure, anyway the stand may work for practice indoors, but not the sit-stay.

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Correct Companion – Week 2 – Training Day 4

Day: 4

Session: 1

Duration: approx. 45 minutes

Location: around the large Roselawn block

Heel distance: 20′

# of Sits: approx. 100

Soak time: 5 mins

Sit on the dog: Bradley’s so exhausted that he is sitting on himself.

It’s actually the fifth day, but we’re on Day 4 because we missed yesterday.  Bradley is always easier to train after he’s spent the day at Tailwags, because he lets out his excess energy there.  Today was much easier than Tuesday because he was not as wild and trying to sniff everything.  We did encounter various distractions which I found interesting.  Rather than running to the distraction, Bradley just turned his body in that direction and sat.

Bradley was very good today at keeping within a 2′ “force” for 20′.  He is not sitting on his own yet, but we’ll introduce that tomorrow.  He is having trouble with the slow pace so we’re working on that one in particular.  And although he starts when I start with no problem, he is not stopping right away when I stop.  He consistently stops when he hears the collar tightening. Given the way this week is going, we will probably continue this week for a few extra days for good measure.

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Correct Companion – Week 2 – Training Day 3

Day: 3

Session: 1

Duration: approx. 40 minutes

Location: around the Roselawn-Castlefield block

Heel distance: 20′

# of Sits: approx. 100

Soak time: 5 mins

Sit on the dog: none

This was a tough night.  Bradley was so full of energy he couldn’t focus to walk 20 feet without pulling away onto everyone’s lawns.  The sits were fine, he’s basically doing it on his own.  He really just pulled the whole way around the block.  Definitely the most difficult session yet.

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Correct Companion – Week 2 – Training Day 2, Session 2

Day: 2

Session: 2

Duration: approx. 40 minutes

Location: around the Roselawn-Castlefield block

Heel distance: 10′

# of Sits: approx. 100

Soak time: 10 mins

Sit on the dog: none

I figured out that it takes less than 10 seconds to take 6 steps and “sit-your-dog”.  That means there is potential for 6 sits per minute, and 150 in 20 minutes!  Even if I am underestimating how much time it takes, I could easily do 100 sits in 20 minutes.  I needed to do the math so I didn’t have to figure out how I was going to count and make sure that we did 100.  Another way to figure it out is, say I walk a kilometer (which is what Bradley and I did tonight), that’s about 3,000 feet.  Less than half of that was for soak time, so call it 2,000 feet.  If I’m stopping every 10 feet for a sit, that’s 200 sits!  No matter how you look at it, a 20 minute, half kilometer walk will get your 100 sits done.  Not so overwhelming when you do the math.

As I suspected, Bradley was more distracted for this evening’s walk.  He still did the work well, but he didn’t melt into his sits the way he was this morning.  I saw him looking up at me a couple of times during his sits, and I’m pretty sure he was wondering what the heck was going on.  He wasn’t terribly happy to be “sat” on wet sidewalks, etc.  But all in all, he was good.  The actual heeling was very good.  He again looked behind us a lot when he heard things, to see if something was coming I suppose.

Soak time was good, Bradley enjoyed meandering along the edge of people’s yards.  After soak time, we walked briskly home.  I think I’m learning things about Bradley that I didn’t know before.  It seems Bradley’s favorite pace of walking is power-walk speed.  He can maintain that pace, looks around happily, and his nose is about an inch from my leg.

Similar to this morning’s after-training puppy burst, when we got home Bradley had a crazy puppy burst, tearing through the house and letting loose like he’d had a hard day at work.  It’s so much fun to see that happen.

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Correct Companion – Week 2 – Training Day 2, Session 1

Day: 2

Session: 1

Duration: approx. 30 minutes

Location: perimeter of school

Heel distance: 10′

# of Sits: approx. 50

Soak time: 10 mins

Sit on the dog: none

I have to give Bradley the credit he is due… he is a superstar at week 2!  He is already melting into his sits, and obviously at 6 steps he doesn’t have trouble staying right beside me.  He seemed to memorize the pattern of 6-steps-and-a-sit when we were walking in a straight line.  He just seemed to let go and do whatever it was he was told.  So when I turned, he turned, and when I stopped he stopped.

If I am being realistic though, it was very early in the morning and I think when he is more awake and excited like he usually is in the evening, I may not be able to brag quite as much.

I’m sure he’ll also be challenged when it’s not such a regimented and short walking distance, but at this stage he’s doing great.  So my theory is, either he made more progress than we recognized last week; or he is just particularly good at this exercise and/or enjoys it.  I must admit, the first time around he also seemed to “get” this week better than the first week, but he’s even better at it this time.  Can you tell how pleased I am?

Bradley does this thing with me when we walk, where when he sees someone walking in the distance (as much as two blocks away, and even when they are behind us walking in the same direction) he will sit, as if that good behavior will get him some attention from the passerby.  I’m pretty sure Bradley thinks he can get anything he wants if he sits, because he commits to it… he will not move until that person passes by.  So this morning, someone was about 30 or 40 feet behind us, walking in the same direction and Bradley kept looking behind us and trying to sit in the middle of our heeling.  It was pretty cute, because he stuck with me and heeled and sat, and heeled and sat, but all the while checking out behind us every couple of seconds and trying to maintain his sit at every 10 feet.

Soak time was very effective this morning.  Bradley was just milling about, and then all of a sudden had a puppy burst and was jumping around and grabbing the leash… it seemed like he was letting out his energy that he was doing so well at keeping in while he focused on work.  Definitely a contrast.

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Correct Companion – Week 2 – Training Day 1, Session 1

Day: 1

Session: 1

Duration: approx. 25 minutes

Location: length of schoolyard, along adjacent street

Heel distance: 10′

# of Sits: approx. 25

Soak time: none

Sit on the dog: none

I was looking forward to starting this morning, because I like this week so much better than last!  There was a minor glitch in the session, but otherwise Bradley did fantastic.

My initial goal was to walk around the block, because I estimate that to be at least 500 feet, and if we stop every 10 feet or so to sit, that would be about 50 sits.  However, we were less than halfway when Bradley was seriously scared by something.  I’m not sure what, because I didn’t see or hear anything but it could have been as simple as the loud birds chirping.  Anyway, he turned and ran so that even when I was running, he was still at the end of the leash and pulling despite the training collar.

That snag out of the way, once we were to a point that Bradley was comfortable, he was a superstar.  He got used to the stopping every 6 steps pattern very quickly, and most of the time was seated before I could physically seat him.  It makes it difficult to manipulate him when he’s already sitting, although I know we’re supposed to do it anyway.

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Correct Companion – Week 1 – Training Day 6, Session 2

Day: 6

Session: 2

Confine dog (double amount of training time): training immediately after returning home from daycare

Two 30 min or one 60 session: 30 minute session

Location #2, pattern: nearby school parking lot

Leash Length: 2′

Distractions: kids playing, dogs playing, Kim

Soak time: 5 minutes

Sit on the dog: none

Kim and I trained Bradley together at the nearby school parking lot tonight. All in all, I think it was a win.

There was a lot of drop and run, but it has changed significantly. Most of the time, Bradley didn’t even let me hit the end of the leash when I drop-and-ran. Instead, he chased me like it was a game and a couple of times he chased after the leash and grabbed it with his mouth. It was a weird feeling doing the drop-and-run and not having him hit the end of the leash.

Drop-and-runs aside, most of the walk was spent with him at my side, still walking and stopping on my cue.

He was distracted by a large grey poodle playing in the schoolyard next to the parking lot at one point, but he still walked closely along side me as if he was multitasking. Kim also provided a nice distraction by walking around erratically at one point… although it also kind of distracted me too.

Soak time was kind of different today. He spent much of the time just walking with us. He walked either closely behind or on the side of us. And yet again, Bradley enjoyed some extra soak time in the bath tub once we got home.

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Correct Companion – Week 1 – Training Day 5, Session 2

Day: 5

Session: 2

Confine dog (double amount of training time): training immediately after returning home from daycare

Two 30 min or one 60 session: 30 minute session

Location #2, pattern: nearby park, baseball diamond, square pattern

Leash Length: 2′

Distractions: rough terrain, dog

Soak time: 5 minutes

Sit on the dog: 1 hour

Last night Bradley and I returned to the baseball diamond at the nearby park. The walking terrain was awful. Throughout the course of the day, the snow had melted some and then froze again, so there was lots of unsure footings on unstable snow/ice with mud underneath.

Despite this, Bradley did well. The drop and run technique was still prevalent, but it didn’t seem fair to him since he was mostly distracted by the ground situation.

This park is usually a hot-spot for dog activity, but only one dog could be found there last night, probably because of the lousy conditions. Bradley didn’t pay any attention to that dog.

He was still consistently starting and stopping when I start and stop and followed close when he could manage the terrain.

During soak time, I noticed that he spent a large portion of the time just following me around instead of being curious. It’s like he was still waiting for me to give him cues.

Bradley got a double dose of soak time last night. One soak at the park and one in the bath tub when we got home.

Following that, he was sat on for about an hour during Kim’s piano lesson.

Last night’s training session flew by thanks to the latest Macbreak Weekly podcast.

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Correct Companion – Week 1 – Training Day 6 – Session 1

Oops… slept through my alarm this morning.  We’ll have to catch up tonight or add a session tomorrow morning.

I did however receive some very encouraging news this morning from the owner of Tailwags Doggy Daycare, Rick.  He said we must be working with Bradley on his pulling on the leash during walks, because he has been much better this week in that regard.  Yay!  An unsolicited recognition of Bradley’s hard work was totally unexpected.  It makes me really realize that progress is being made when a third party notices a difference.

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