Very slow hike in Redwood this morning. Chimera had a good recall and was getting good socialization off leash when he was a baby, but right now he has to be on a ten foot line because of his reactivity and poor recall. Repeat to self: it's just adolescence. Just keep plugging away.
I brought hot dogs and boiled chicken, and sometimes he ate it but much of the time he was overstimlated and turned it down or spit it out. Hung out at the entrance for a long time, rewarding him for looking calmly at dogs and people. He was still eating food here unless a dog got within ten feet, so we got good practice in. After this food beginning, his reactivity level was low for the rest of the trip. I was pleasantly surprised to see a decrease in his worry about people with hats and walking sticks. Still a lot of over-sniffing of dogs, especially at the beginning, and I had to pull him away a few times. Also worked on stopping when he was at the end of the line, putting in a bit of slack so there wasn't tension, and waiting for eye contact (a la Kay Laurence).
At home, introduced birch for Nosework to replace the green tea bags, which didn't smell as strongly and the smell didn't carry very well. Lots of reminders to myself to go very slowly with raising the challenge level. Warmed him up with lots of treats for nose targeting the tin, then did a few very easy hides in the kitchen. He was happy to nose the tin, but his body language really lit up with excitement when I hid the tin behind my back and he heard it snap to the fridge door. Proof that he enjoys the hunt!
Practiced metal scent articles, with a pile of eight canning rings. Was 100% correct in picking up the right one, and I was extra pleased that he was bringing it toward me and even toward my hand rather than just playing with it. I really need to get my leather articles. Not working on a formal send or front yet, just his understanding of selecting the correct article.
Started to shape picking up a plastic pill bottle. I want him to be able to retrieve more items. Realized that I need to add a verbal cue ("bring it") to the behavior with known objects, so that I can tell him what I want with new objects.
Worked on picking up the dumbbell from the floor. (He prefers to take it from my hand.) Set it in fun places, then tossed it just around the doorframe so that he had to go look for it. Saw his body language perk up as he would locate it. Brought it back to my hand 100% of the time -- big improvement!
Played tug with the squirrel and asked him to sit or down in between tugging. He correctly sat, then sat again, then laid down, and after that he started to just stare at me blankly when I said "sit". He might have been guessing or cuing off inadvertent body cues the first two times. I hate not having a reliable verbal response to sit and down, but I also hate working on instilling it. Ugh.
For agility, worked on sit-stay - focus forward - go! with shortened
tunnel, tossing a long-handled rabbit fur tug as a reward. He may be
starting to figure the focus forward thing out. I stopped working on it
for a number of weeks because he couldn't figure it out and would get
Napped in his crate while I left to teach two classes. Not one of four expected students showed up. Spent ninety minutes chatting with Alison and Metro Dog staff members.
After not peeing all day since the hike, Cai had to go multiple times in the evening. I'm keeping him close by because he's still not reliable if he's loose with access to the living room. Three or four times, he started to bug me -- paw or bark at me or even pull on my sleeves -- when he had to pee. Good boy, sort of. At first I thought that he was just being a bored puppy, but he kept at it until I figured out what he wanted.
Of course we also spent lots of time cuddling and I told him how much I love him and what a wonderful, adorable puppy he is.
Before bed I will brush his teeth and his fluffy fur.