Thursday, May 14, 2009

Labs are fetching fools

Fourth day with my foster lab, Cooper

Started off this dog training day with another morning road run with the goft cart. I think Coopers feet maybe a touch tender from the gravel road because didn't run quite as fast for as long a distance as yesterday. I slowed the goft cart down some and stopped more.  Cooper also did more running on the road edge in the grass or where the gravel was thinner. It was also a little later in the morning than I usually work him because I worked out Howie the Hound (my other foster dog) first because his was leaving for transport north -- yippee he has been adopted and is heading to his new owners.

Dog Training Lessons...

On the stops we worked on: Heeling, Sit, Down, and Down/Stay. Also did a little more body touching to find his worry spots. Cooper like many foster dogs is not totally used to having all his body parts handled. So I play with his feet, tail, face, and ears. When he allows me without trying to move away or get monthy then I click and treat. This will soon have him looking forward to having his body part played with. 

What does it take to train dogs? Looks like it takes a lot of C's -- just found this on the Clarity Canine website: Van believes that to be effective, an animal trainer must be Calm, Creative, Clear, Concise, Concrete, Compassionate, Curious, Considerate, Comical, and aware that all of our actions, no matter how small, have Consequences whether we are aware of them or not.

Mid day fun
It about 1:30 pm I took Cooper out of his dog crate. He is still crying and barking when he sees me coming to get him (too excited) and I have to wait for him to calm down and sit quietly before clicking and opening his crate door. 

I did a little heeling work with him (after I let him find a good spot to pee). He kept getting ahead of me so we worked in a large circle with him on the inside of the circle. He did keep running into my legs/knees when he forged ahead.  Also did about-turns when he got too far ahead of me.  He will learn to pay more attention to where I am and where he is to me. He actions have consequences and if he doesn't like the consequence then he has to change his action. Whenever he is in the correct heeling postion then I click and treat and whatever gets marked and rewarded will soon be the action he is more willing to do. He sure does like the hot dog slices. 

Also did a bit of down/stay and touch work. Also started lightly squeezing his toe nails and clicking and treating when he kept his mouth and foot still. This will help make it easier to clip his toenails.

Meeting Dogs

Cooper meets other dogs quite easily without a lot of fuss and over the top excitement (unlike Travis did). This is a good energy and the dogs meeting Cooper are not overly worried about him and greet him good too. He also doesn't rip out your arm pulling on the leash trying to check out the new dog, which is nice.

Evening Ball Toss

At about five pm I took Cooper from his crate and did some ball tossing for him. He really enjoys fetching a ball and he run very fast to go get it. I left on is leash so I could step on the dragging end of it when he came close to me so I could try to get him to bring the ball back to me more consistently. Before thowing the ball again I asked and waited for him to sit and sometime I asked for a down. While he is excited with ball playing I am still not getting a down without me giving his leash a light tug down. But he is staying down better until I click and then toss the ball. 
Cooper may do well with Frisbee tossing too as he can jump pretty high for the ball.  

After the ball game I took him for a road run -- just a bit slower than we did yesterday. I also stopped and hooked his leash to the goft cart while I trimmed some rose bushes in my graden along the roadside.  He watched me and didn't bark or cry or pull on the leash, but I was not too far from him, maybe twenty feet at the most. 

Passing cars

Cooper does show some interest in passing cars and he may chase them if he was loose. Maybe if cars passed more often he wouldn't be so interested in them. Maybe I should try walking him along the highway in the morning 0ff-to-work time so he can get use to them more.

From Cooper Chocolate Lab

Here an overview video of clicker training a dog...


Clicker training -- great start for puppies! They love it!

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