March, 2002

March 1, 2002

March already! Here's a picture -- not great, but hopefully it will do. Compare it to the ones in February and January. Okay, I know the chair pushed back like that makes him look giant. He isn't. We just needed to be able to walk him forward, so we couldn't leave the chair where it had been in the other pictures. (We tried. Trust me, we tried.)

He's getting big. I don't think of him as a puppy -- he just looks like a miniature dog to me. He's on the leading edge of adolescence. He has gotten his adult teeth in front -- won't be long until he loses his canines. I love it when dogs get their adult teeth. Those teeth aren't as painful as puppy teeth (though Pax hasn't been a painful biter since Christmas), and they're soooo much bigger. Very impressive. Pax has got to be tired of me playing with his mouth and making silly noises over his "big dog teeth."

This will be a big month for him, I think. He starts his clicker class on Monday night, and we're going to a Sue Ailsby seminar at the end of the month. I also joined ClickSupport to give me some structure for practicing shaping.

About a year and a half ago, I tried demonstrating shaping to a friend of mine. I picked a random object in the room and gradually shaped Rain to walk over and touch it. My friend was unimpressed. "Wouldn't it be faster to..." she said. Not to mention, who cares if he touches that object?? She was absolutely right. When training, the first rule is "Get the Behavior." Although I capture as many gross behaviors as possible, when I get to more complex formal behaviors, it's often faster to lure the initial gross behavior and then shape it into something more precise. Then why shape from scratch at all? Why not always lure initially? Because luring doesn't create a thinking dog the same way that shaping does.

Have you ever played "The Training Game" with another person? It's shaping practice where one person clicker trains -- shapes -- the other person to do a behavior. Obviously, the person being shaped knows what's going on and actively, willing participates, trying to figure out what the "trainer" wants him to do. A dog that has been extensively free-shaped participates exactly the same way -- just as cognizantly and deliberately as the human who had a verbal discussion about how the game is played. I have seen a lot of *incredibly* well-trained dogs -- working dogs, competition dogs, trick dogs -- but I've seen only a couple of dogs that exhibited that kind of awareness. They had been almost exclusively shaped during their lives.

The level of communication between them and their trainers seemed telepathic. It wasn't, of course. It was merely an example of what the clicker can do. (My demonstration to my friend fell dreadfully short. Rain hasn't been extensively shaped. I'm hoping Pax will be better.)

So how do you begin shaping? First, let me say that if you're new to clicker training, don't shape. Learn the technology first. Practice with discrete behaviors -- behaviors with a clear "click now" point. Figure out how to juggle leash, treats, clicker, and dog before you start trying to break down behavior and figure out how (and when) to increase criteria. When you are ready to start shaping, practice simple, unimportant behaviors. Don't start out shaping behaviors you need in a competition venue -- that will put unnecessary pressure on both of you! Start with a basic behavior -- knocking over a paper cup, raising a particular paw, putting all four feet on a towel. Once you and your dog begin to catch on, and you're able to maintain a reasonably high rate of reinforcement, then begin to shape more complex behaviors -- like tricks. Again, don't shape "important" behaviors. Stick with the unimportant, fun stuff until you and your dog are truly proficient.

March 2, 2002

It's another rare sunny day in Seattle, so we took the boys for a run. What a great time they had. I forgot to take my camera (again), BUT we're planning to go back tomorrow, so I have another chance then.

Rain had a tennis ball, and Pax had a stick. At first we threw only on the paths, but then I tried throwing the stick into the grass. Pax didn't find it the first time or two, but then he figured out the game and pursued it doggedly. We stuck to low grass at first, but eventually we were throwing into some pretty dense weeds. Rain had to help him occasionally, but overall, I was pleased with his ability to mark (see and remember) where the stick fell. I'm going to bring some bumpers out tomorrow and try again.

It's a major pet peeve of mine that the AKC limits hunt tests to retrievers. I mean, come on. What do they care who participates? It's more money for them, and it's more people pursuing a dog sport. I sent them a very polite e-mail asking about the policy, and I got back a curt one-line reply, "Hunt tests and field trials were developed for retrievers." Big whoop. My whole reason for going off on this rant is that Rain would have done wonderfully in hunt tests. I've already decided to concentrate on obedience and agilty first with Pax, but when I get to hunt tests, I'm training Rain right alongside him. He *loves* to retrieve, and God knows he's an excellent water dog.

Pax, by the way, shows great promise as a field dog -- it's really too bad that *I* prefer to concentrate on, <cough>, warm indoor sports. He runs straight lines, even in the field -- right through brush, diagonally across roads, through water. He is very birdy -- when he sees a bird in the air, he fixates and watches it. And he loves water. Even though it's still falling below freezing at night, he plays in the baby pool and in puddles and such. I haven't had the opportunity to take him swimming yet, so I don't know how deep he'll go.

I love my boys!

March 3, 2002

Another fabulous day. We went out for another run and remembered to take the cameras this time. Our friend Debi went along and did the filming so Jay and I could concentrate on the dogs. (Thanks, Debi!)

Today was the first time Pax ever saw (much less retrieved) a plastic bumper like field dogs practice with. He did fabulously -- especially considering that the retrieving he did yesterday was the first retrieving he did out of our house or back yard. We took several videos of him today...

  • This one starts with a pretty headshot and then follows him close-up as he runs to the bumper. (1.7 MB)
  • This one is a little blurry, but it's a good wide shot of a retrieve. (2.2 MB)
  • This shows a pretty run and a terrific mark in tall grass. (1.8 MB)
  • In this one, I had Jay throw from a distance away while I held Pax. This is closer to what he would experience during retriever training (though Jay wasn't far enough away). (1.3 MB)
  • Rain wasn't to be outdone. In this one they both went for the bumper, and big brother won in style. (2.6 MB)

We really had a terrific time -- I hope Jay and I can make time to do this more often.

Last night I made a trip to PetSmart to buy some tennis balls for Rain to retrieve, and I found a cool toy. It was a faux soccar ball with a harness thing around it that gave it two tug ropes on either side. Oooh. Neato cool. Unfortunately, Rain claimed it, and it lasted about five minutes before he popped it. Five minutes. Sigh. But at least I got a photo.

March 5, 2002

I have *so* much on my plate today. Last thing in the world I need to be doing is updating my Web site. But, alas, I am alsothe Queen of Procrastination so here I am.

Pax had a busy day yesterday. On the first Monday of the month, a group of local positive trainers gets together for lunch and networking. (Great group!) Yesterday was the day, so Pax and I drove up to Magnolia for the meeting. He didn't have to go, but I knew I wouldn't be home for four or five hours, and I didn't really want him to be stuck in the crate the whole time. I figured stuck in a down-stay at my feet getting treats was at least marginally better. He did pretty well, though he was fairly distracted by Scout, a year old yellow Lab who was also there. Scout's tail was soooo intriguing -- it kept bopping Pax in the head. Pax developed some very cute crawl behaviors to try to inch his way over to play. Fun to watch.

On the way home from the meeting, I went by the train station and let Pax retrieve a bumper in the fields. I found a big puddle (or small lake, depending on your point of view -- there were ducks there this weekend), and tossed the bumper over it, so Pax would have to go through it. He didn't flinch. The water was just a few inches deep, and he's used to that. I changed the criteria a bit -- I asked him to sit at heel before I threw the bumper. I haven't asked him to hold a stay while I throw it yet. After a few bumpers, we walked back to the car. Frankly, we were both tired.

Last night, Pax had his first clicker class with Diana Hoyem. She's awesome! Already I can tell that this class -- as clicker classes tend to be -- was the polar opposite of the traditional class Pax attended. There are only six dogs in the class. Last night was the introduction to the clicker, and we did a fair amount of listening. Diana was good though -- she broke up listening with bouts of "charging the clicker." She wants us to make sure our dogs aren't sitting or lying down while we do this (and probably other) exercises. She is a *performance* coach, and she doesn't want the dogs to default to stationary positions. Although Pax has been taught to go into new situations and sit or lie down, he's just as happy to be up and moving.

Diana had us all choose a "mystery trick" out of a hat. We're supposed to train that trick ourselves outside of class, and then we'll demo it during the last class and explain how we taught it. My trick is "circle," which is a spin to the left. I'm planning to free-shape it, since I really want to shape as much as I can.

Diana told us we need three things for the class -- a long target stick, a square tupperware container, and a hula hoop. Sounds like a great class!!

Today is primarily a rest day for Pax. I have several things on my plate, which will keep me either heads down or completely out of the house. He has puppy daycare tomorrow, so rest probably isn't a bad thing for him today.

Oh, I found out that there's a picnic trial this weekend. That's a "practice" field trial. The trial is on Saturday and Sunday, I think. On Sunday, Chad Gleason, the really nice professional trainer I observed a few months ago, is holding a training day, offering advice to any dogs and trainers who show up. I can't decide whether I'll bring Pax or not. He hasn't been started in the field. More importantly, I haven't introduced him to gunfire, and I don't want to overwhelm him. I found a nearby outdoors gun range. Maybe I'll run him by there a few times this week and gauge his reaction. Oh well, no biggie if I don't take him. Though I'd like to show him to Chad and Shari, I expect I'll catch a *lot* of flack from the other people there because he isn't a Lab.

March 8, 2002

Pax is in a fear period -- not an unusual or unexpected thing at his age. Of course, it would have been nice if he had skipped it like he did the one that normally hits around 10 weeks. He'll have a couple more before he reaches adulthood. It's something you just have to have a sense of humor and a bit of patience with. The best way to handle the sudden, unprecedented fears (OH MY GOD! There's a CAR right there!) is to let your dog investigate the scary thing on his own, reinforcing any calm or approaching behavior, not pushing it to approach any faster than it's comfortable with.

It's bizarre to see fearful behavior in Pax. He's the most confident puppy I've ever seen. Last night something outside scared him, and he was determined to escape into my lap even though I was working on my computer. It would have been amusing if it hadn't been so sad. Poor little scared puppy.

I had a couple of appointments in Tacoma today, so I called my friend Marcye, who owns Puget Hound Doggy Daycare, where I used to teach classes. She said they had a small group there today and said it was fine to bring Pax. So I decided it would be more fun for him to spend the day at daycare than home alone in his crate. Of course, being smack in a fear period, he was really slow to get comfortable in that new place with all those new dogs. I'm not sure Marcye believed me when I said he wasn't a shy dog. By the time I picked him, he had relaxed and thrown himself whole-heartedly into the game. Nikki, Marcye's partner, was there when I went to pick Pax up, and she said he was in the middle of everything the whole time she was there -- she didn't even know he had been reticent when he first got there.

I'm not going to take him to the picnic trial this weekend. I *want* to, but I'm just not going to throw a pup in a fear period into all that gunfire. He might be fine -- but he might not. Hopefully, they'll schedule another soon. I really want to give him an opportunity to retrieve some birds.

March 17, 2002

Holy cow! I can't believe I forgot to make an update last week -- especially since Pax had his second clicker class.

The class was great. I really like Diana. She started by introducing the target stick. I had already introduced it, so Pax knew what to do. Of course, that didn't keep him from trying to bite the end, so I had to make sure to click before he touched -- before he bit. Diana pointed out that I have a tendency to go for the food while Pax is supposed to be concentrating, which distracts him. That's something Bob Bailey cautions against too. A good trainer needs to be very quiet with his body until after the click. A coach can really help with that.

Diana talked about different types of cues and introduced the next trick -- sit up and beg. She teaches this trick through luring, and she does it with a purpose -- to illustrate to students how difficult it can be to fade the physical cue. Not the food, mind you, but the hand signal. Our challenge is to teach the behavior and then put it completely on a verbal cue.

For whatever reason, I've never taught a dog to sit up before, so this has been a novel experience. Pax is still a baby, and Diana cautioned me not to overdo it. His joints are still lax. I can see, when we practice, that he'll start getting really sloppy if I do more than a few at a time. It's frustrating, because I feel like we're not making much progress.

Oh! Almost forgot. We wrapped up the night with recalls. I can't remember what she called them, but basically, she held them at one end of the room, and we were to go away at a brisk pace, call the dog, and run away. Pax has an adorable recall, so I wasn't at all worried about this exercise. I didn't even have to run away. He just ran as fast as he could to get to me. Too cute!

My biggest challenge in the class thus far has been getting and maintaining Pax's attention. The class is held in his daycare, remember, so he really wants to run and play with the other dogs. As long as we can be busy and maintain a high rate of reinforcement, he will focus on me, but he's easily distracted otherwise. The problem with a high rate of reinforcement during class is satiation -- he'll get full eventually. I can't mix in non-food reinforcers during the class (especially during lectures), because that would distract the other students. Hmmm.

March 18, 2002

I am a lousy trainer.

You know, most of the time, it doesn't really matter. I'm a really good writer, and that's what I base most of my self-esteem on, so when I totally SUCK at something else, I don't sweat about it too much. But I hate demonstrating my utter incompetence in front of other people.

Pax had clicker class tonight. For the vast majority of the night, I couldn't buy a break. I was frustrated -- and got continually more frustrated -- and that eventually stressed him out. I HATE TRAINING!!!!!!!!

Okay, what did we do? First, we went over touching the target stick. When he was in the mood to play the game, he was fine with that. Diana came over -- just one of the thousand times she had to come over and give me advice (it couldn't just be "good job" because we SUCKED) -- and told me to praise more to help keep his attention. Yes, it worked most of the time. The problem is, as soon as I stop -- you know, if I want him to *think* about something instead of just follow a bloody lure -- he lost interest again. Anyway, after we demonstrated that we could touch the stick, she discussed adding the cue. The steps...

  1. Hide the stick.
  2. Give the cue.
  3. Present the stick.
  4. Click.
  5. Treat.

Could it be easier? Of course, I screwed that up. I couldn't even keep my damn hands still long enough to say the cue without moving the stick around. Oh, and needless to say, if I tried to stay still, he lost interest again.

Next was sitting up and begging. When I could get his damn butt on the ground... "Duh... What's sit mean?"... he did the sitting up better than I've ever seen him do it. It was darn cute. We even managed to do it with Diana watching. A fluke, I'm sure.

Next we began one of our two new behaviors -- backing up. God, that was miserable. When I ask for a sit, he stands and stares at me. If I want him to stand up, he sits -- and then lies down. Again, if I was really animated, he would pay attention to me, but the second I wasn't, he was off doing other things. I finally was a little successful if I majorly invaded his space -- 'cause he had to move to keep from getting stepped on. Why couldn't I have Rain in the class? He practically runs backwards.

The other new behavior was shake. It was equally abysmal. I couldn't pay him enough to sit. Lying down was his position of preference. Diana came over, and he was more than happy to play the game with her -- stayed sitting up the whole time. As soon as I got him back, he was back on the mat.

I'm reading over her handout for the week. She says "Have fun." That's the problem. Training isn't fun for me. Theory is fun. Writing is fun. Playing with my dogs is fun. Going for walks in the woods and tossing a bumper for them is fun. Cuddling before bed is fun. Training is not fun. It is tedious, boring, slow, and frustrating as hell. I do not enjoy solving the puzzle (never have liked puzzles).

I am utterly hopeless at this. Poor Pax. He doesn't deserve such a loser mommy.

March 20, 2002

I've been taken to task for yesterday's entry, so I thought I'd give an update. I'm not quitting. Pax would be terribly disappointed (and drive me insane) -- he LOVES to play the training game most of the time.

I changed the way I did things yesterday. I wore the treat bag all day and had clickers around the house. Instead of doing formal sessions, I just did 1 - 5 reps at a time of a particular behavior. It worked pretty well. As Diana pointed out, Pax performs better when I am upbeat and praise a lot. That's fine if your luring behaviors, but it isn't conducive to shaping. Bugs me. I love seeing him think and actively work to figure out the puzzle. Big freaking deal if I can lure him into a position. Any dog can follow a piece of food in front of his nose.

Anyway, spreading the reps out worked well. The other thing I really, really need to work on is getting Pax's attention away from home. I need to take him out once a day, just for a short session doing a lot of reinforcing for paying attention to me. Unfortunately, we've been having really crappy weather lately -- not conducive to going out to train.

I know rain in Seattle isn't unusual, but we're having weird weather this March. We've had snow after snow, both in the city and the mountains. I just checked my favorite ski mountain, and here in mid-March when they should be into spring skiing conditions -- occasional new snow, but slushy/icy/"corn" to ski on -- they've had 31" of new powder in the past 24 hours. <grin> I bet they aren't complaining about the weather. I'm not complaining -- the dogs love to play in the snow -- but I won't drive with the dogs in the car when there's inclement weather. I trust myself, but I don't trust the other idiots.

This weekend will be interesting. Pax and I are driving up to Courtenay, BC for a Sue Ailsby seminar. He's not actually a working dog at the seminar, so we'll have to see how well it works out, since he'll have to be confined a lot. The facility has a good fenced area, though, so I'll take his bumper and try to run him frequently. I'll let you know how it worked out.

March 24, 2002

What a fabulous weekend! I'm so re-motivated. I had such a frustrating week, but this weekend really helped me feel better about everything.

This is Sunday, and Pax and I have spent the last two days at a Sue Ailsby seminar. I absolutely adore Sue. I'm a Sue groupie. :-) I went to one of her seminars last fall before I got Pax. One of the things we discussed then was structure and movement, and I was so impressed with her knowledge that, now that I have Pax, I wanted her to evaluate him -- and explain to me what's good and bad and why. So this morning, before the seminar started, we put Pax up on a table, and she got her hands on him. Sue, by the way, has *extensive* experience in conformation and obedience. She had her hand in the development of a couple of breed standards in Canada and I *think* she was a conformation judge at one time, probably of Giant Schnauzers if nothing else. She's not a Curly judge, but she printed off the AKC curly standard last night and reviewed it. (Isn't that wonderful of her?)

Her evaluation was very favorable. She said I can finish him, but he wouldn't special -- which is exactly what I wanted. A special is a dog that keeps showing after it gets it championship, going for Groups and Best In Show (not to say non-specials never ever with Groups or Bests in Show). Specials cost a *lot* of money to campaign -- don't think it's all based on the quality of the dog!! I have no intention of turning my dog over to a professional handler who will campaign him every weekend, nor do I intend to spend $30,000 a year on him. (Yes, that was 30 THOUSAND dollars.) But I would like him to get his championship, in addition to participation in other sports.

She said he has a lovely front and good shoulders. I remember from her talk on structure that she'd much rather have good shoulders and a weak rear in her breeding program because shoulders are nigh to impossible to fix. He has good thick pads, good bone, and is up on his feet well. His head is very nice. I was worried that it was too narrow, and she explained that puppy skulls grow, and a puppy with a wide head will look coarse when it matures. She complimented everything about his head, eyes, cheeks, muzzle, and ears except for the shape of the skull going back between the ears -- behind the stop. She thought that was a bit too round. She loved his eyes (as do I). Nice neck, good shoulders, nice spring of ribs, good deep chest.

His back end is weaker than the front, but she said several times that there was nothing horrible about it -- it just wasn't outstanding. His tail set is a bit low, and his croup is a bit too round. Now this is the worst part, and I know I'm getting it confused... I trotted him back and forth and towards and away, and she noticed that his rear hocks turn in a bit too much -- or are a bit too close. She put him up on the table again and showed me -- if you press on his hocks, it's easier to press them in and his feet move a bit when you do it. He doesn't -- and never will because the angle of the bone is insufficient to allow it -- have extremely strong muscles in his hind end. She said in a dog in good condition, she likes to feel a "ridge she can cut herself on" along the thigh muscle. But on him, the muscle is just mush. Otherwise, both in muscle and weight, he's in excellent condition, she said. (Yay! That's the one thing I can influence.)

Again, his back end isn't horrible. She said the problems are minor, even as those problems go. There are no faults in his structure that will in any way limit or prevent me from doing the things I want to do with him. <grin> And she gave me hints on grooming for the show ring that will minimize those problems and maximize his assets. Overall, she said he's a lovely dog, and I should be quite happy with him. I had several people compliment him this weekend, which also made me feel good. It's nice to be appreciated.

All that structure aside, the seminar was on clicker training. I'd basically heard it before -- last fall. However, this time I have a dog I'm currently working with, so I had several lightbulb moments. One had to do with evaluating progress. I use Bob Bailey's 80% rule -- when the dog is 8 out of 10 at a level (or even 4 out of 5), he's ready to progress. Sue says "10 in a row" -- and she means 10 in a row. If the dog makes a mistake on number 10, she starts the count over. I don't knoww if I'll do that or not -- I might give it a try. What I *did* like, though, was "If the dog makes a mistake twince in a row, STOP." Don't beat a dead horse. Don't let the dog get frustrated. The dog needs to be successful nearly all the time.

Similarly, the rate of reinforcement needs to be high. When shaping, she wants her students clicking a minimum of once every FOUR seconds. I thought about all the time I spend staring at the dog, getting frustrated, letting the dog do everything but what I want it to. Bad trainer!!! I think my shaping is going to improve.

There were tons more things we did in the seminar. Tons and tons. I don't have time to list it all now. I highly, highly recommend that you find and attend a Sue Ailsby seminar. She is beyond excellent. My only regret is that she doesn't live neaer to me. Boy, would she get sick of me!

Pax and I head home tomorrow. He has been an awesome boy during our trip. He was an excellent traveler. I thought he might get lonely in the back of the station wagon, so I bought him a seatbelt harness and let him ride in the back seat instead. He settled within about five minutes and rode like a champ. He has a dog door at home, so I worried a bit about the reliability of his housebreaking. I didn't need to worry though. He quickly figured out the potty-on-leash thing, and he held it no matter how much he needed to go. At one seminar break, I took him out, and he jumped out the door and peed as soon as he hit the grass. Such a doll! I had his crate with me, but he did better sleeping out of it. (I brought an extra sheet, so he could be on the bed without worrying about getting their bedspread muddy. I don't want my puppy to leave mud and cause a motel to stop allowing pets. Likewise, I take plastic bags and pick up after my dog outside.)

This trip bodes well for our trip to San Diego in May.

March 28, 2002

I had a nice warm and fuzzy this morning. I took Rain in for a chiropractic adjustment. While we were waiting a patient with two young children came out. The boy was probably two, and his sister was nearly five. They stared at Rain with big eyes. I asked if theyd like to pet him. The mother said the little girl was afraid of dogs but brought the boy over. She showed him how to pet politely. Rain sat so still that the little girl got intrigued. I asked if she'd like to stand behind him (away from his head) and pet him. She said yes and carefully walked around him. They both stood and petted him for a minute, then the doctor was ready for Rain. As the family left, I heard the little girl say, "That was a nice dog."

What a nice compliment. Rain is such a sweetie -- so gentle with children.

Pax's breeder, Cathy Lew, e-mailed me yesterday after reading Sue's evaluation of Pax. She said Pax sounds just like his dad, Jet. When he was a pup, he also had a great front and weak rear. He had a littermate who had a great rear and weak front who specialed early. However as adults, it's Jet the breeders are interested in. She said when he gets older roadwork will help with a soft topline and weak hocks. She also said Sue is right on about the head. She said some pups are shown early because their head is "correct" but then they grow into the "uglies" and have a Rottweiler head. I'm glad Pax's head is like it is. I think it's absolutely beautiful!

I need to get Pax out more -- he needs to learn to concentrate and work in bigger distractions. I'd love to show him as a puppy, if only for experience, but right now he's too distractable.

We missed class on Monday, but I have the homework sheet. Hopefully we'll get caught up by Monday. They started transferring the touch behavior to a Tupperware container. I think we'll end up shaping them to push it around with their nose. Also they introduced a hoop, teaching the dogs to walk through. I'm off to buy one right now so I can get started on that. I introdcued "touch the container" on Tuesday and Pax got it quickly. I haven't worked on sit up or shake, but I did do a little with backing up. I didn't have much success with moving into his space -- I had to be very overt about it or he just sat down -- so I'm trying something different. I'm dropping the treat between my feet and clicking the shift backwards after he eats it.

March 29, 2002

I realized this morning how well Pax is doing on his behaviors for class. He's sitting up fairly well (a tough behavior for his puppy body, so we do it infrequently), he shakes on a verbal cue (not reliably, but we're getting there), he touches the target stick and the box, and he goes through the hoop on a hand signal. Since I wasn't in class when they introduced the hoop, I'm not sure if she wants us to fade the hand signal. I expect she does -- she's big on verbal cues. Of course, being able to do these behaviors here at home isn't the same as doing them in class. I need to get him out and work on attention away from home.

I'm proud of my little boy. When his mom is on the ball he does quite well.

March 30, 2002

Okay, I have an ugly little secret to admit. Until yesterday, I had never taken Pax for a walk. Yes, it's true. For exercise, we play retrieving games, and take off-leash runs. He and Rain play together, and he goes to doggy daycare. All of his loose leash walking had either been training -- work on the street in front of our house or trips to PetSmart -- or practical trips from y to z. Rain is walked every day, but not by me, and I didn't want someone else to "ruin" Pax's training, so I wouldn't let him go.

Yesterday, Pax and I took our first walk. We walked about two blocks one direction before the distractions simply overwhelmed him. Then we stopped, and I simply clicked and treated for any glances toward me. We did that for a while, and then walked home the same way we'd come. I noticed then that the trip home was easier than the trip out. Today we went out again. This time we made it about three blocks, to a little library nearby, before he was overwhelmed. We followed the same path we took yesterday, and I was amazed at how well he did all the way to the point where the walk ended yesterday. He was much better able to concentrate today.

When we got home today, he went absolutely bonkers. Manic. Wild. Although the trip took only about 15 minutes -- I was in a hurry and couldn't spend any time just clicking and treating for attention -- he was just bubbling over with contained energy. Fifteen minutes was apparently a long time to be polite, in his opinion.

It will be interesting to see how far we get tomorrow. The next block goes past an elementary school....


| Next page | Diary Home |

| ClickerSolutions Home |

List and Site Owner: Melissa Alexander, mca @