Metric and I finished week two of our training class last night. Click here to read about our first class:
This week, we added to what we learned last week. Again, I’m learning that his training has more to do with me than with him. He is perfectly trainable and craves consistency; I am also trainable, but am not so consistent.
We started with tie down approaches, which we worked on last week. Once again, he only got praise if he kept his bottom on the ground. Otherwise, I shut off all emotion and turned my back until he sat again. He is much improved at this. It’s so hard not to praise him regardless of what he’s doing, though I understand this is part of being consistent as he is not fluent in English and is not a mind reader.
We then worked on long sits and long lay downs. Once he was sitting (or laying down), he got a treat every 5 seconds until he received 13 treats. If he broke his sit, I would turn off and direct my frustration away from him, though in a way that he knew I was frustrated. This consisted of kicking at the ground and pacing around with my back to him. I’m learning that dogs are emotional and are eager to please. He made it through the first round easily, at which point we worked with fewer treats at longer intervals. He did great with longer intervals as well. I didn’t have many opportunities to act frustrated (which was kind of fun as it was like acting).
The last thing we worked on consisted of me sitting in a chair and him getting treats at intervals if he sat in front of me. We did this first with him next to me, his leash in my hand, and then with him at a distance and me calling him to me. He wanted to jump into my lap at first, though calmed down quickly. I made the mistake of being too excited the first time I called him to me. I showed him the treats, then ran to the chair. I yelled, “Metric! Metric! Metric!” with my arms all over the place. He ran to me with just as much energy and tackled me, which scared me at first. Metric was immediately calm, as he knew I was different and possibly upset. Chris, the trainer, told me that it’s best to say, “Metric, here” and not to show that much enthusiasm. The next two rounds went much better. Metric still ran to me, though sat much faster and got lots of treats and (calmer) praise.
My biggest lesson: I need to be calmer than the dog. He feeds off my energy and, being a puppy at heart, he has a lot of energy. He is so eager to please and needs consistency. This is my challenge, as how consistent are we from day to day, moment to moment? Metric, however, learns quickly and responds in a similar manner when I am consistent.
So, I plan to work on my consistency and work with him some more this week (see below: us practicing at the PetSmart adoption site last week).
Check back next week to read about week 3!
Metric and Jennie