Perrin is starting to get settled into the city after the big move and then testing life as a farm dog. Our morning walks have consisted of going to the busy park across the street during rush hour and watching all the people, bikes, skateboards, kids, and dogs go by; just generally getting used to the noise and movement of the city again. In the afternoons we have been doing more serious ‘downtown’ walks that required thinking of Perrin. This has been lots of loose leash walking, heeling tightly, waiting to sniff until cued, not being able to pee on every blade of grass, sitting at crosswalks and lights, and being resilient to all the crazy city noises. He has done so well and blown me away with what he remembers from being a puppy in the city. Navigating the busy city seems to have taken all his brain capacity, as today was the first day since we have been here that he wanted to do some brain work.
Today we worked on sit-to-stands on a couch cushion for an unstable surface. After 3 months I am still waiting for the fitness equipment I want to come back into stock with the Canadian supplier, so until then we are improvising.
We then worked on a new shaping trick: unrolling a yoga mat. This was a completely new behaviour that I had never worked on shaping before. Perrin has never been taught to roll anything with his nose. The whole process is below, unedited, so it is full of my mistakes. Well, its mostly unedited, I pulled out the part where I ran out of treats and ran to the kitchen to get more.
Then we worked on putting ‘be sad’ (laying down with his face on the floor) on cue, then called it a day when Jake got home from work. It has only been three nights, but Perrin absolutely knows who is coming up the stairs after the buzzer to the apartment goes off.
Today we worked on brushing up on loose leash walking. Perrin is usually pretty good, but we have been walking off leash lately and he needed a few reminders.
In shaping, we worked on putting Perrin’s chin target on cue and shaping a left head turn.
The packing continues!
Things are going to get a little sparse as the move gets closer and then is executed, but I will do updates as I can.
Yesterday Perrin and I worked on shaping a head nod, then went out for another round of SAR practice and an offleash group walk with the same four dogs as last week. I feel like Perrin’s social skills are improving, although his play style is on the rougher side and I don’t see that changing. He did a good job of disengaging and moving on when things got a little tense.
We worked on some group down stays. Perrin has a decent down stay, but holding one so close to other dogs is new, so I stayed close to him to keep the level of difficulty down. I also experimented with a reward schedule where every time a dog in the group broke and Perrin stayed, I marked and rewarded him in the down position. My thought process was that every time another dog gets up, Perrin would look to me rather than getting up to follow. Will it work? What unanticipated side effects will I get? I dont know. I will have to wait and see what the results are from that experiment!
I learned that Perrin has a problem standing by while I work with other dogs. He made quite the racket in the car while I was playing tug with his Lab friend. Perrin and I will have to work on that given that he will be getting a little brother this summer!
Today we went and did some training with Perrin’s lab friend. We mainly worked on settling as they both needed that today.
The best part was afterwards! Even though it was raining, we went out to the woods and worked on some SAR training for the lab where I got to play the victim. It was really good practice for the potential future, because man that dog can tug! My triceps still hurt!
We then went on an off leash walk with all 4 dogs, and Perrin did so well. One of the dogs with us isn’t always dog friendly but generally does well if left un-pestered. I was concerned that Perrin would make things worse with his lack of social skills, but he handled everything beautifully and with tact. Several times he disengaged from the border collie ‘stare’ that he has had trouble with in the past, didn’t escalate posturing gestures like he normally does, and left the pup alone for the most part even at a higher energy level/arousal state. I would have never guessed that he had that level of social skill in him. Hopefully he is learning! They all had a lovely run in the woods, getting soaking wet and even going for a brief swim.
We worked on a number of things today. I did not plan out this training session, so it is pretty scattered. We did some heeling work and practiced his swing into heel, and some cone wraps and leg wraps. Perrin was very distracted because his very favourite person (my uncle) is visiting and was sitting at the end of the training area. I am happy with how all the behaviours are coming along though!
Lunch time training: Practicing going around a cone in both directions.
After Work: A really long walk in the woods with some recall and stay practice thrown in.
Once again, I am behind recording Perrin’s and my weekend work.
Friday and Saturday were light on training and heavy on packing and organization. We went for some trail runs instead, which Perrin really enjoys.
On Sunday we did some work on nose touches on a target on the floor. Perrin has struggled with this in the past, as he initially thought a foot target was the right answer to the question. So I picked up the target until he was consistantly nose touching it, then slowly moved it closer to the ground, which seemed to be working. I had stopped working on that for a while and came back to it on Sunday. I started with the target in my hand and moved it to the floor, then started going for a more sustained nose touch rather than a ‘drive-by’. Perrin had other ideas though, and started picking the target up. I tried clicking earlier to head that off, but I just couldn’t get my timing right so I cut my losses and decided to think it over a bit. I decided to try using a hand target on the floor. Perrin understands a hand target, but we had never tried moving it to the floor before. I think that worked really well, and I will continue with that track until Perrin understands that nose targeting something on the floor is a pay-able behaviour.
I needed to pick up some packing supplies and Perrin was getting restless after a couple of days with little mental simulation, so Perrin and I headed over to the local dog friendly Canadian Tire to kill two birds with one stone. Perrin absolutely rocked it! The store was pretty busy, with lots of people and a few other dogs, but he wasn’t fazed. His heeling was spot on (awesome pivots, side steps, straight lines and a bit of backing up), his focus was impeccable, his enthusiasm was high; he was just the picture of joy and teamwork. It was amazing! I wish I had a video of it. His happy face drew lots of looks, but his mind was all on the task at hand. What a sweet fluff!
Today was a relaxation day!
At lunch Perrin and I cuddled and played some tag, biteyface and tug. Tonight we went for a lovely long walk in the woods and investigated the prairie crocuses that are now coming up, as well as a funny bush with teeny tiny pinecones. Perrin sniffed around to his heart’s content and also was a perfect gentleman when a little off leash dog ran up to him and started barking in his face. So proud! (Normally he barks right back).
Lunch time training today consisted of conditioning work. We worked on several variations of shoulder exercise, but I haven’t got the video edited yet. I will add it here when I do:
After my riding lesson, Perrin and I headed to the park as we were invited to be a distraction dog for the service dogs in training. They were working on ignoring big, bouncy, friendly dogs who want to come meet them while out walking. Perrin provided a challenge for the first few loops (he really wanted to visit!), but soon settled in and was wonderful for the rest of the hour working on that exercise. We then moved on to some settling work and Perrin did awesome at that; just chilling out in a down stay. In between I worked on some little Rally bits; his ‘swing into heel on cue’ is getting really solid! I am very happy with it thus far. Perrin’s favourite part of the evening was when he met a new friend: the security guard at the park pavilion. Perrin thinks that he was really good at giving butt scritches.
Lunch time training consisted of heel work. Pivots left and right, side steps to the left and swinging into heel down the hall, and then some simple pivots and swinging into heel out on the lawn of the apartment building.
Evening training consisted of more heel work, but we started with working on retreiving frisbee rollers (he did really well!). For heeling, I worked on picking up my pace to a more normal walking speed (I seem to slow down to an artificially slow speed if I don’t actively think about it), tightening up pivots, big gradual circles, and lots of left turns and circles. We also worked on a bit of agility work: jumping from the back side, threadles and weave poles. He did well at that, but the amazing part was that we were able to work off leash in the same space as his Lab friend! Perrin has been doing really well at off leash work around other moving dogs as long as he is in a down stay. He was doing really well, so I decided to try working off leash in a situation where I know both dogs get along and there was a high probability of success. Perrin rocked it! He didn’t try to run off and play, even when they were moving quickly quite close together. I even had Perrin in a sit while I was re-adjusting weave pole spacing when Perrin’s Lab friend started running up to him and got to within a couple of feet before going back to his work. And Perrin didn’t break his sit! I was shocked! He then got almost half of the treats in my bait bag. Jackpot!
We ended the evening by going out for a run/walk/hobble through the woods where Perrin got to sniff around as much as he wanted. I am ready for this mud to dry up and for spring to be over!