Tuesday, December 11, 2012

So much! Visitor, reactivity, cafe, baby

So much going on!!

Kira the Yorkie visited again for a few hours. Next weekend she will be staying overnight. Once again Chimera was super happy to see her and was pushy about playing and toys. He always wanted whatever toy or chewie she was playing with, and would steal them right out of her mouth! Then if she approached while he had something, he would growl and snap his teeth. That's my boy, the bully. I body blocked him from stealing her stuff unless she had dropped it, and he was a bit less obnoxious about it by the end. I also timed him out for overt, bullying guarding, but I had to take away the most coveted chewie. The guarding from other dogs doesn't bother me too much as I'm committed to having one dog at a time, and during the rare times we have doggy visitors I can always pick up his favorite stuff. As long as he's not being too much of an asshole.

After Kira left we took a trip to Petco to work on his reactivity. I had my turkey leftovers at the ready and stuffed them in his mouth the moment he heard tags jangling or saw another dog. I've realized that that's the key -- after about ten minutes of that, he's able to calm down enough to do Look at That and be rewarded for looking at the other dog for a second or two at a time. We ended on a great note: he calmly watched a big German Shepherd walking down the aisle.

I was about to write how he's maturing and not doing things like eating the carpet fibers anymore, but JUST NOW he started pulling at the carpet anymore. Sigh. At least he doesn't chew the electrical cords anymore. He settled down to sleep more easily when the're nothing going on, and he settles in his crate even when excited if I stand close by for a few minutes. He's starting to signal more frequently when he needs to go out: he'll go to the door or the gate nearest the front door and stare at me. If I'm in the kitchen sometimes he'll run in, look at me, and then run out.  Unfortunately if I don't notice the signal, then he'll quickly give up and go on the carpet. I may be a trainer, but I suck at potty training.

We met my sister and another friend for lunch at Crepe Vine in Rockridge. They were late arriving, so we had an hour to walk around the street on our own and work on his leash reactivity again. He had a couple of big outbursts but many more moments of eating turkey while quietly looking at another dog or looking at me when he knew a dog was close by. His loose leash walking skills are coming along very well. I kept up a high rate of reinforcement still. He only started doing erratic pulling when he needed to potty. He was even affiliative with people who wanted to say hello -- walking up, wagging his tail widely, allowing them to pet him all over, even handle his ears (though he did, understandably, pull back a bit when they did). I was very proud of the little man.

Once the rest of the party arrived, we got a table on the patio, I secured him to my chair, and gave him a pig ear to munch on. Again he was quite well behaved and entertained himself without much fuss.

We visited my friend Miki and her husband and four month old (human) baby. Her baby daughter was born the day after Chimera was! She is learning how to make new sounds, and lately the sounds are extremely high-pitched. We expected Cai to startle, but he was surprisingly unconcerned. He would look at her or turn his ears in her direction, but otherwise calmly hung out under the table where we were sitting. When we were on the couch, he would walk right up to the baby. He barked at Miki's Cavalier when he wanted to play but did not hump him like he did last time. In fact, he was oddly calm for the entire first hour! He even asked to go outside when he needed to pee but looking at me and then heading downstairs and to the door when I stood up.

He lifted his leg while peeing for the first time! My baby is growing up!! He's been peeing more frequently on walks and hikes, and had started hunching his back in an odd way. Today was the second day that he lifted his leg, when peeing on a high tuft of grass he couldn't squat over.

Today he got a tick attacked to his chin. It fell off into my palm as I was scratching him under the chin. EWWW. It's tick season around here, and I've been flicking and pulling them off of all my hiking dogs.

Training update:
We haven't been doing much training at home since we've been so busy.

Last time we worked on the dumbbell, he was firmly taking it from my hand, but then he started to walk off with it and didn't want to give it back. Hmm.

We had accidentally taken an long break from his platform training, and when we did a session again he suddenly understood how to get all four feet onto the platform. I'm guessing it's because I'd been shaping him to climb into multiple cardboard boxes in the meantime. But then he peed on the platform because his bladder was full. Oops.

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