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

Day: 5

Session: 1

Confine dog (double amount of training time): training after a night of sleep

Two 30 min or one 60 session: 30 minute session

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

Leash Length: 2′

Distractions: people

Soak time: 5 minutes

Sit on the dog: none

We were back at our second training location this morning, down to a 2′ leash.  I think my theory was proven this morning; Bradley works better with structure.  What I mean is that at 15′ he was SO free that it seemed there were no rules except to keep within a 15′ radius.  At 5′, he seemed to understand that the pattern walking was a task.  And at 2′ he definitely understood what he was supposed to do.  In my own form of logic, it makes sense because he is mostly on a 2 to 3′ leash on our regular walks (basically we fold the last two or three feet of a six foot leash when we walk him.

Bradley’s most improved area has to be the starting and stopping.  He absolutely catches himself when I stop and start.  In fact, this morning, he started to sit on his own when I stopped.  And, as a side note, he sat and shook a paw this morning when I bent down to put his training collar on (I’m not sure if he was just being polite or begging me to change my mind about putting it on).  Either way it was very cute.

I can tell that he sometimes gets lost in the walk about halfway between the start and stop points.  He is still walking nicely beside me, but he literally looks like he’s daydreaming.  His head is sort of off looking left, and he catches himself getting onto a diagonal path.  Those are the times I find myself doing a drop and run.  I’m wondering if his daydreaming is good because he’s not focused on a distraction, or bad because he’s not focused on me?

We were outside a few minutes later than usual this morning, mostly so that I could try and catch some distractions,and that worked.  The odd person walked through the park and Bradley would stop walking, like he usually does when he sees someone, and sat hoping that the person would come and pay him some attention.  Luckily at that time of the morning people are in a hurry to get where they’re going, so the distraction was fair.  I would run a few steps forward, and he would catch up with me, excited and smiling as if we’ve just played some fabulous game.

I think I am seeing the progress come together for him.  Because Bradley is such a happy dog (I know most dogs are happy, but he always looks like he’s having the best moment of his life), it’s hard to tell if he’s taking the training seriously or he just thinks it’s a game for half an hour.  Having said that, his body language and reactions to us are changing so underneath those goofy smiles he must be learning and thinking.

Unfortunately Bradley had to get to doggy daycare this morning and I had to get to work, so once again sit on the dog has to wait.

I can’t help thinking, after re-reading my words here, how lucky we are to have this dog that reminds me everyday how happy he is.  Not many things in life provide us that sort of gratification and confidence.

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Correct Companion – Week 1 – Training Day 4, Session 2

Bradley getting sat on

Day: 4

Session: 2

Confine dog (double amount of training time): crated 2 hours

Two 30 min or one 60 session: 30 minute session

Location #2, pattern: Schoolyard, square pattern

Leash Length: 5′

Distractions: minimal – sock

Soak time: 5-10 minutes

Sit on the dog: 45 minutes

Bradley and I returned to the schoolyard this evening for his second correct companion training session of the day. At first I was freaked out because I thought he had forgotten all his training. There was a lot of drop-and-running going on. But after a couple of minutes, he seemed to remember how its done. It was still hard to keep track but after all was said and done there was definitely less drop-and-running than yesterday.

I thought I noticed something yesterday but wasn’t sure. Today I am sure though: Bradley is starting to walk and stop on my cue. When I walk, he walks. When I stop, he stops. He’s also looking at me a fair amount when we’re walking… almost like he’s paying attention to me.

Distractions were practically non-existent, which is unusual because that is typically a hot-spot for dogs. Bradley still found something to distract him though. Out of the corner of my eye I could see that he was panting a lot near the end of the 25 minute session, but because it was dark, it took me a couple of seconds to see that it wasn’t his tongue hanging out of his mouth but actually a child’s pink sock. Yum!

Today’s session flew by thanks to the latest TWiT podcast, so I gave him a couple extra minutes of soak time while I milled about and listened.

As I type this, Bradley is getting sat on and from the looks of it, he is tuckered.

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Correct Companion – Week 1 – Training Day 4, Session 1

Day: 4

Session: 1

Confine dog (double amount of training time): training after a night of sleep

Two 30 min or one 60 session: 30 minute session

Location #2, pattern: Schoolyard, square pattern

Leash Length: 5′

Distractions: none

Soak time: 5 minutes

Sit on the dog: none

I took Bradley back to our first training location, the schoolyard.  Unfortunately that early in the morning there are no distractions, other than the ones Bradley creates for himself.  Again, Bradley is usually better in our morning sessions because he’s still waking up.  This particular location is also better for him because it’s not harsh on his paws.

He did not pull at the 5′ mark at all this morning.  He walked very nicely beside me, although on my right which seems to be becoming a habit.

Soak time still doesn’t seem to be ‘soaking in’, but I will not presume I know what he is thinking.

I had to get to work, so sit on the dog will have to wait until this evening.

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Correct Companion – Week 1 – Training Day 3, Session 2

Day: 3

Session: 2

Confine dog (double amount of training time): crated for 1 hour

Two 30 min or one 60 session: 30 minute session

Location #2, pattern: parking lot of nearby school, rectangular pattern

Leash Length: 5′

Distractions: minimal

Soak time: 5 minutes

Sit on the dog: 45 minutes

Both of us took Bradley back to the parking lot of a nearby school this evening for a 30 minute session. A couple of times we even caught him paying close attention to us.

The theme of today’s session was “drop-n-run”. I had trouble keeping track, but if I had to guess, I would say we had to employ the drop and run technique about 10 times in order to get Bradley’s attention. We aren’t sure if he’s learning anything from that though.

Distractions were minimal compared to the baseball diamond yesterday. At worst, Bradley was distracted by a puddle or by nature calling.

He’s being sat on as I write this, something that he is an expert at.

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Correct Companion – Week 1 – Training Day 3, Session 1

Day: 3

Session: 1

Confine dog (double amount of training time): trained after a night of sleep

Two 30 min or one 60 session: 25 minute session

Location #2, pattern: parking lot of nearby school, rectangular pattern

Leash Length:  5′

Distractions: none

Soak time: 5 minutes

Sit on the dog: none

Bradley seems to be having difficulty walking on the frozen snow.  It must be uncomfortable on his little paws, and since we tend to have to train early in the morning or after dark in the evening the snow is always frozen.  So the challenge today was to find a nice clear area to walk in.  We don’t have many of those areas nearby, but we do have a large rectangular shaped parking lot which belongs to the school closest to our house.  At 6am that parking lot is empty, so it presented a good training location, despite not being wide enough to make a 50 foot square.

I used the larger training collar on Bradley this morning, and that seemed to work better.  There were no distractions this morning, and Bradley seemed to “get” what we were doing at the 5′ length.  I have to wonder if at 15′ he felt like he was on the loose, and at 5′ he felt more connected and paid more attention?  He really walked well beside me, and only reached the end of the line twice where I had to ‘drop and run’.

We did a slightly shorter session at 20 minutes of walking and 5 minutes of soak time.  Bradley really doesn’t understand soak time.  He thinks it’s time for him to roam and sniff things, but not necessarily be close to me.  He wanted to wander away from me more than he wanted to stay close, and he pulled on the leash more during that time than he did for the entire training session.  Maybe that part will come, we’ll have to be patient and see what happens.

I really must get my iPod filled up again, because the minutes pass by like hours…

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

Day: 2

Session: 2

Confine dog (double amount of training time): crated for 2 hours

Two 30 min or one 60 session: 30 minute session

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

Soak time: 5 minutes

Sit on the dog: none, we arrived home after 9pm and still had not made dinner so Bradley had to think about what had just happened on his own.

We both participated in the evening training session, because it is dark outside and I am not comfortable walking alone in squares in a dark and empty park.  The challenges were that it was dark, and Bradley seemed a bit nervous about that as well as the snow had hardened which made it uncomfortable terrain for all of us.  Bradley headed for home every time we approached the dugout from which we entered.  When we weren’t near that area of the square we were walking in, Bradley stayed pretty close.

Overall I would say it was a challenging session.  The frozen snow created little hitches for the leash to latch onto, which would pull on Bradley’s training collar, which probably made it a bit confusing for him.  I’m not sure that he got the full effect of what the training session should have been.

During soak time, he didn’t behave as expected.  It seemed as though he thought since we were slowing down that maybe we were going home, and he just kept pulling toward the exit to go home.

When we put his regular leash on, he pulled us almost the entire way home.  It was clear he did not like what was going on, and just wanted to go home.  We did not have time for sit on the dog because we had to have dinner before it was bedtime, but Bradley was well behaved and tired so he slept while we finished our dinner.

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

Day: 2

Session: 1

Confine dog (double amount of training time): crated for 1 hour

Two 30 min or one 60 session: 30 minute session

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

Soak time: 5 minutes

Sit on the dog: 45 minutes

We went to a nearby park today and walked around the bases on the snow-covered baseball diamond. It was an ideal spot because I could set his walking leash aside on the dugout bench, as well as my touque and gloves because it’s a warm and sunny day out there.

Whether it was distractions, getting tangled, doing his business, or running ahead excitedly, Bradley spent most of the time at the end of the 15′ leash.

There was no shortage of distractions. Whenever we walked close to the fence enclosure along the first and third base lines, he would want to go through the openings in the fence to the dugouts or walk along the fence. At one point a strange dog ran over and introduced himself to Bradley with a sniff. It was a large black dog with shaggy hair called Louie. His owner quickly followed and I told him we were doing some training. He got the message and gave us some space. Another strange dog came by and interrupted us after that. And when those distractions are removed, there is always Bradley’s general fascination with snow and his curiosity about what might be found underneath it to keep him from focussing on the task at hand.

Bradley only got tangled once and got himself untangled quickly when I gave him some slack on the leash. At one point he excitedly grabbed the leash with his mouth and ran with it so I had to do an “out” correction.

It would have been exceptionally boring if I had not brought my iPhone to listen to the latest Adam Carolla Podcast. But as such, the time flew by.

He’s being sat on as I write this. He lied down at my feet immediately when I sat down at my desk.

Update: and I just realized I forgot to use Bradley’s training collar for this session.

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

Well, we have to be realists as Jill says.  We just didn’t get to Session 2 today because we were at a family function.  Oh well, we’ll work twice as hard tomorrow.

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

Day: 1

Session: 1

Confine dog (double amount of training time):  overnight sleep

Two 30 minute or One 60 minute session:  30 minute session

Location #1, pattern:  Schoolyard, square pattern

Soak time:  5 minutes

Sit on the Dog:  ~ 45 minutes

Bradley’s first training session in Correct Companion went well, I think.  For the most part, he ran along beside me but at a distance of 15′.  He was not really distracted, so he was happy to run alongside.  I put his training collar on along with his regular collar, and attached his longe line leash when we got to our training location.

We started the session first thing in the morning, so I did have to stop a couple of times while he did his business.  But otherwise, a couple of times he got excited and tangled up in the longe line and playing with it in his mouth and those were the only times he was not doing what he was supposed to be doing.

Another dog entered the schoolyard just as we were finishing, which definitely threw Bradley off because he wanted to run to the other dog but he was being choked.  Quickly he realized he wasn’t allowed to play yet, and he ignored him periodically.  After our session, he did get to play for a few minutes after training was over.

He was so tired after all of that, that sit on the dog was no problem.

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Decorating the Xmas Tree in 43 Seconds

Kim and Bradley and I decorate the Christmas tree at break-neck speed.

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