Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Second day of fostering Bruce

Tuesday - Second Day - let the fun begin

Bright and early Tuesday morning I searched around for my clicker and treat bag for Bruce's lessons. I filled the treat bag with dog kibble and sliced hot dogs. After waiting for him to sit and look at me at the gate to the dog yard I clicked and open the gate while letting his head slide into the choke-chain with a four foot leash clipped on.

He quickly tried to drag me to the nearest tree. I changed direction and went the other way which soon had him hitting the end of the leash and turning and running ahead of me once again. I kept the leash loose and the only time the choke-chained tightened around his neck was when he hit the end of the four foot leash. After several more quick changes of direction he soon started to pay a bit of attention to where I was in relationship to himself.

I clicked for his attention and handed him a treat. Bruce nearly devoured my whole hand! I don't think he has had many people handing him treats. I closed my fist around the treat and wait for him to start licking other than biting at my hand before I opened my fist and let him have the treat. I asked for SIT and clicked and treated each sit. We also had to keep working on taking the treat nicely.

Exercise - time to run!

Bruce was wound up and needed to release energy. "A good dog is a tried dog" is a quote I have heard on dog training shows and in books and it seems to be true. Most dogs in America are not receiving the exercise they need to be healthy physically and mentally. Just letting your dog out in the small city or suburbia back yard to entertain himself is not exercise enough for nearly all dogs.

I ran Bruce up and down my gravel road along side of my golf cart. At first he pulled on the leash very hard and ran fast, but after a bit he slowed down a bit and trotted along on the golf cart on a loose leash. As soon as he was moving along on a loose lease I clicked and stopped and give him a treat. When I started moving again he would pull and run fast again. It will take him a while for him to figure out that it is easier to keep at the speed I am moving without all the pulling.

I would stop at my house and let him drink before moving on down the road again. We went up to the highway and then back down past my house to the other end of the road. I would stop from time to time and let walk him around a bit to mark the bushes and catch his breath.

After this road trip workout I put Bruce in a dog crate with a little dog kibble and then took my own three dogs and other foster dog for there morning hike. Of course Bruce threw a fit and barked and whined until I was out of hearing distance. He will have to learn that all that fusing doesn't accomplish anything.

When I returned from my hike with my dogs I placed Bruce back in his dog yard and gave him a raw beef bone to enjoy.

NOTE: Each time that I want to release Bruce from his crate or dog yard I stand and wait for him to quit jumping at the gate and to sit. You also want to wait for barking to stop if the dog is barking. Once he focuses on my eyes I click or blink (another marker signal) and then open the gate. I hold the choke-chain so that it slips over his head has he is going through the gate. I then ask and wait for a sit before clicking and moving on.

At lunch I repeated our road run and introduced Bruce to a dog head halter. I just put it on him to wear but continued to keep the leash connected to his neck collar. He attempted to remove it off his face, but I just kept him moving along. A head halter makes it easier for most people to control a large dog and make it harder for him to keep pulling at the leash.

In the evening I again repeated the road running and walking and sitting lessons. Then he was returned to his dog yard and giving some dog food and another raw beef bone to chew on. I noticed his teeth had some plaque and these bones will help clean his teeth.

So today Bruce had lessons on sitting, taking treats from a hand nicely, attention and focus on me, and self control. He did fairly well and showed improvement with each outing, but still has a way to go. Tuesday night Bruce did not whine and bark throughout the night. He just barked about the same as my other dogs when they heard the coyotes calling or the neighborhood dogs fussing. He did bark and whine when he heard me outside feeding our cat.

P.S. Please consider adopting Bruce from Labs4Rescue


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