Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Evals, graduation, hike, and lots of other stuff!

A while back, Don had his evaluations with our CFR. I got some good advice for Don's dog distractions (rewarding him for looking calmly ahead, not up at me) and I explained Don's terrible house manners and behavior of stealing inappropriate items. We decided to try a new method where, instead of correcting him for picking up the items, we would completely ignore him and walk out of the room so he wouldn't get any attention. But, this didn't seem to have much of an effect on Don, and after a couple days he was quite the terror. I even found him with all four paws on top of our coffee table! Apparently, it wasn't my attention that he was after. He simply wanted to have a good time playing with socks, dish towels, and shoes. The fact that corrections were bad hadn't really sunk in.

My leader came over yesterday to give me a couple more tools to work with. We decided to take a more physical, or "knucklehead" , approach. Basically, the second Don picks up an item, I step on his dragline and say "KNOCK IT OFF" while putting both my hands on his collar and correcting him. It works SO well. It's really unbelievable. Every since yesterday, he's been an angel. He didn't even go for my mom's slippers this morning. I'm hoping that the magic won't wear off :) We also worked on dog distractions with our leader's border collie Tango and CCI golden retriever breeder Selene. I got some more tips on how to handle him near dogs, like talking to him a lot, and focusing on walking briskly past them and not slowing our pace. It worked really well and Don was great. In the end, he was walking past both dogs without turning his head! Our leader seemed pretty positive about Don. She said dog distractions should be our biggest focus, because it is something the trainers will notice at GDB, whereas house manners will probably come with time, and if not, they don't have to be perfect. I think Don and I will starting talking walks past the dog park every day.

On saturday we had a puppy meeting at a schoolyard. Don got to practice his off-leash recall and did really well. He also got to meet all the new puppies in our club- Stefano, Quebec, Silky, and Keifer. Afterwards, we walked through the mall and then went to the Guide Dogs graduation. It was a great graduation, even the weather was nice, and I got to see Gabrina and Burgess up on stage. Then, we met Mimi and Cabana and Cassie and Dagan who were in the audience. Don and Cabana have the same father, Bosworth, which makes Don Cabana's half brother. The two got to play one of Guide Dog's fenced enclosures and had a great time. They both had lots of energy and were the perfect playmates. Don was nice and muddy afterwards, and very tired.

Don has gone on some pretty fun outings recently. He went to my volleyball tournament in a giant convention center and yesterday Don and I went for a hike on the mountain with some of ours friends. We hiked to a waterfall and Don had had a fun time splashing around in the stream and getting everyone else wet.

Don at the park at the trailhead. This was towards the end of the hike, which explains why he is sopping wet.

Don loves hiking! He wasn't very cooperative with me in taking photos- there were too many interesting smells and sounds!

The waterfall! I don't know what Don is doing in this photo- I think he might of seen a yummy piece of dirt on the ground and decided he just couldn't live without it.

Don amidst the tall trees and ferns.

Can we stop now? I'd really like to rest on this bench. please?

On the way home, we stopped at the Earthbath self pet wash station (in the pet store) to give Don a good sudsy bath. He didn't seem to mind it and loves the Mango Tango shampoo- he tries to eat it which can make things a bit complicated :) A long hike = a tired puppy. Don took a long nap when we got home. I have this week off from school so Don and I will get lots of walks and training in!


  1. Ha ha! That's great that the "knucklehead" approach is working! Some dogs need a bigger consequence. It sounds like Don is getting the idea! You're doing a great job, Lauren!!

  2. Sounds like he's making great progress! Love the hiking pictures too. Such fun to get outside -- plus, as you said, it's nice to wear them out once in a while!

  3. Toby has always been good at "drop it" or "leave it", but he has his "doggy distractions" sometimes:)

    Looking good Don!

    Toby's Raiser


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