Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Educating Ellie: Dog Treat Vending Machine

We made it completely around the block, with half that block being busy Palo Verde Park with only one pull, no stops.

Tonight's strategy was "click-n-treat vending machine". We started with the signal "Let's Go", took off walking and clicked every time she checked in with me while still moving. We went before dinner, and her treats were Wilderness Blue kibble mixed in with bits of leftover frozen steak and bits of hot dogs.

Not a single lunge! Huzzah!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Educating Ellie: Why Hatha Yoga?

Ellie isn't very large for a German Shepherd, but when she lunges, launching herself into the air and out and away from me, she gets some pretty good momentum going.

My task is to stand strong, Tadasana, Mountain Pose, exhale deeply, visualize that I am connected to the ground through my feet, and staying calm,focused, ready to capture her attention and help her back to the task at hand, which is simply to walk on a loose leash, regardless of distraction.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ellie's First Outing

Today we took Ellie to Lincoln Park, a bird and nature sanctuary near Pima Community College East for her first outing. To paraphrase Scotty from the recent Star Trek movie, "It's exciting!"

In truth, everything is exciting for Ellie and the outing helped me to understand Ellie's behavior better.

At this stage, Ellie is not really bonded to either of us.
Her focus is externally directed.
She's not strongly motivated by food.
She's not strongly motivated by touch or pats (and in fact passive-actively avoids hands around her head).
She IS motivated by 'the game'.

Our clicker sessions then have to be The Great Game.