Oz Working Dogs - Assistance & Working Dog Equipment

For assistance/service dog equipment, as well as guide, therapy, detection, search & rescue, police and dogs in training equipment check out my website http://www.ozworkingdogs.com.au - I make and sell vests, capes, belly bands, harnesses, handles and more... and will post to the world!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's the middle of the night, and an update

8 weeks 5 days old

Well I've just been outside in the middle of a rather chilly spring night, having a nice "chew the leash, leaves, dirt, himself, me, and the whole world" time with Knightley - which was meant to be a relieving himself time. Well, he did do that, but then proceeded to wreak havoc. It's some dog we have here. It's amazing how fast he'll drop a good squeaky toy for a nice patch of dirt or even better.... a TWIG. As my husband pointed out earlier this evening when I was going on about how cute Knightley was while sleeping, he's very cute when unconscious.

That's not to say that he is always a terror. I am continuing to work on loading the clicker some more, and am starting Sue Ailsby's Training Levels (see link above in the tabs). We have just worked on the sit, and have just started to put a cue to it. He definitely offers sits a lot. He isn't all that thrilled with the treats I am using at the moment, and I have experimented too! I've tried a few commercial treats, tiny over nuked sausage bits, and tiny cheese squares. I'm going to order some new stuff online and try that. My previous dog would do virtually anything for cheese, but not Knightley it seems, unless it's a puppy thing. Shame. I really don't want a picky dog.

We have been going really really well with house training - no more accidents since our second day.... until last night. We thought he needed a 'number 2' and took the bone he had been chewing on away from him, took him out, but nothing was evident, so he came in to be fed. He wasn't interested in the food and **I** thought he seemed to be sniffing around looking for the bone we just took away. Ooops. I did catch him in the middle of it at least, and he did the majority of it outside. Go me for misreading his signals, although they were very similar.

Offering a very nice sit

We haven't really started working on down, although I do
reinforce it occasionally, enough that I've noticed him offering
it some more.
We took him over to my parents place a couple of days ago, and he had a great time exploring their big back yard, although we kept him on a long line, as their yard isn't puppy proof these days. He concentrated so much on *exploring*, it was very cute. He had to see every bit of their yard.

Nothing really bothered him, a few things looked odd, but he very soon overcame any hesitance. Until now we have been using a small portable crate in the car, but for the trip over there and back I decided to go without a crate and just clip his harness into the seatbelt. I wanted a chance to train good car manners.
Me having a hug with a very tired out puppy. Visiting is
tiring you know?

My previous dog, Clipsy, was always a over excited in the car, and I want to make sure Knightley can relax without being in a crate. It went pretty well. I used little cubes of cheese to distract him, although I made a silly training mistake on the way over, he was doing well and so I slowed my rate of reinforcement. I instantly lost his focus and he started whining and jumping around a bit. In a very high distraction situation like that, where what I am doing is working, I should have just kept it up! Silly me, but I learnt from it on the way back and we did well. He was asleep by the time we got back - partly because he was just exhausted!!

Speaking of exhausted, at the end of each day I am completely out of spoons (read "The Spoon Theory" to understand spoons). I am certainly sleeping well!! Better than I have for many many months. I am just so very tired. Knightley is taking every tiny skerrick of energy I have.

It's several hours later now, daylight time. We've done some work on sit this morning, as well as getting him happy with nail clippers, which came in the post this morning. First I treated him for having them near him, then touching his paws with them, then stroking his paws (all of them) with them, then opening and closing them in front of his face, and then again near his paws. In some later sessions I will clip some twigs near him and treat that before I go anywhere near his nails. I want to make sure he is happy with having his nails cut. Clipsy, my previous dog, didn't like it very much!

I also plan to do some work on hand targeting today. I'll get a tiny bit of peanut butter and click/treat when he sniffs/touches/licks my hand. Once we do that a few times he should get the idea that touching the palm of my hand gets a treat. Eventually during another session we'll add a cue but today we'll just concentrate on getting the idea.

Knightley has developed a love for the flirt pole (google it if you don't know what it is), although I just bought a lunge whip meant for horses, then tie one of his favourite stuffies onto the end. It's a good way to wear him out when he's being particularly obnoxious. I call it 'going fishing for a puppy'. He wags madly the whole time. Dear little pup, so cute sometimes and such a plotting little devil at other times!


  1. I wonder if the hatred for nail clippers is a common Cavalier thing... my aunt's dog (who also sadly succumbed to heart failure) could not stand anyone touching her feet, with or without clippers.

  2. Clipsy died of heart failure too. Too many Cavs do. He was fine with people touching his feet, just wasn't keen of the clippers. Quite a few dogs dislike clippers though, so I'd say it's coincidence. I've seen some videos of dogs who absolutely hatehatehate it, to the point of drawing serious blood with their bites if they are not muzzled. Operant and classical conditioning are great for making sure your new puppy actually enjoys or at least easily tolerates nail clipping time, so I'm going to take it slowly. Same with my doggy toothbrush. I've read of dogs who bring their owners their toothbrush to have their teeth done!

  3. For treats try clunkers available at woolies or coles. I store them in the freezer and just unfreeze what I need for that training session. I add a good quality kibble + some tasty cheese or cabanossi and sometimes some dried liver as my training mix. There has only been one dog in all my classes that has not taken to this mix. He was not keen on food full stop.

    As for nail trimming. Take is slowly. All puppies are funny about having feet touched. When you start taking off any of the nail (after lots of clicking and treating) for just allowing the foot to be held and the clippers being in the general vicinity) only take off a very small amount of nail as it can be painful .

  4. He often turns his nose up at kibble, he only eats his at meal times because it is soaked in water and a little puppy milk with a bit of pumpkin and a teaspoonful of either mince or wet dogfood. I don't know how I will wean him to plain dry, when I do make it up drier he doesn't eat much. So, kibble is out for treats, although I will try different brands. Cheese seems out, although it is tolerated. I'll try some cabanossi but he doesn't seem to like cooked sausage all that much, although it is the best so far. I think I'll try some fishy treats. I did a training session using tug as the reinforcer and it went WAY better than using food. The only problem is it takes a lot longer. I was getting good hand targets in just one session before he did his usual puppy 100% to 0% and flopped!