Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day four of fostering Bruce

Thursday - end of the road runs

On Bruce's morning road run he again seems to be a bit tender footed and kept to the side of the road where the gravel was the thinnest. I work him at a slower speed and took more walking brakes and worked on the DOWN command.

I stopped by a puddle and let Bruce check it out. Being a lab that met walking right in and laying down in the water while he drank. I also stopped a the pond along the road and let him walk into it as far as his leash length allowed. I could tell he wanted to go much deeper into the pond -- maybe tomorrow I will put him on a long leash and let him swim.

I clipped his leash to the gold cart and took a few photos and then clipped it to a fence to take a few more. I introduced the word, STAY when I walked away from him to take the photos, but it will take a more lessons on STAY before he gets its meaning and more still before he will stay put without being leashed to the spot.

When I go into my yard and Bruce see me he will start barking and whining wanting me to go let him out. He needs time to learn that all that noise doesn't get him what he wants.

New game

The evening run didn't happen because my golf cart broke as I was heading up the road. So I tied an old sock to my pony whip and flicked it at Bruce through the fence. When he showed interest in the sock I click and treated. My other foster dog in the next yard showed interest in this game and I flick the sock at him and clicked and treated his interest too. When I did this Bruce would bark up a storm wanting to draw back my attention to him. I would wait until he quit barking and then ask him to sit - which I would click and treat him for.

Bruce got very excited about this new sock on a whip game and jumped and leaped to try to grab the sock. To kept him from going to wild I would stand still from time to time and ask for a sit before I would click and then continue the game. He finally caught the sock and it pulled off of the whip string. He then bounced around a minute chomping on the sock then dropped it. I then practice SIT with him to calm him down some. Between sits he would jump up at the gate.

My clicker broke and I had to go inside for another one, but I didn't have anymore of the clickers that had a loud sound only a medium sound click. For outside training I like the loud clicker and it is what is needed for working on a gravel road with a golf cart.

My son found my cat in the yard and brought her inside his room so I could let Bruce out into my larger yard to check it out. I didn't want to take a chance that he would find the cat on his own. I put my smallest dog, Boo-Boo inside -- she can be of a trouble maker with new dogs -- an left Gigit my heeler(ACD)/corgi mix out. She is usually OK with new dogs if they are not to overwhelming.

I let Bruce out and he walked around sniffing and marking. Gigit walked up to him and they sniffed each other. Gigit was a bit stiff legged which showed she felt a bit stressed at this meeting, but Bruce just sniffed and then went on to sniff other things. I walked to the back of the yard and both dogs followed.

At the back fence the neighbor's cows saw us and came to the fence. Gigit barked at them when they crowded too close to the fence line. I told her to stop barking. Bruce gave them a sniff or two through the fence and did the same to my two ponies that were in the next yard then lost interest in them. Now if the cows or ponies were running Bruce may show more interest.

Soon Bruce found an old bone and laid down to chew on it. When he stopped chewing after a minute I showed him the old sock and had him sit in front of me. I can tossed the sock in the air above him and clicked when he jumped up and grabbed the sock. I did this about four more times and tossed the sock a little few yards away where he had to run to grab it. I clicked when he grabbed the sock. He sometimes dropped the sock then came for his treat or sometimes he would carry it back before dropping it for the treat. The treats were dry dog kibble and sometimes slices of hot dogs.

I then tossed the sock back into his yard and he followed. I clicked and treated and then shut his gate. I went inside and came back with a few raw beef bones to give him and the others. I think Bruce will sleep quietly tonight.

Bruce keeps trying demand what he want so would do best an owner willing to keep reminding him that they are the pack leader. So far he also seems on the hyper excitable side and will need someone willing to keep his mind and body well exercised with active training and game/play time. I could be many years before he would be willing to be a couch potato. My nine year old shepherd still needs a good long walk at least once a day.


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