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!

Friday, December 23, 2011

No puppy teeth left, training going well, a social season

4 months 3 weeks 4 days old

Poor Knightley has been losing so many teeth this week, and has been bleeding all over his toys.  From what I can see he now has none of his puppy teeth left - the last one came out last night... and his big adult teeth are coming in extremely quickly. He also has very very little puppy fluff left - just a tiny bit on his ears. The next photo here shows him lying down, doing one of his tricks that doubles as his relax command, and it shows how sleek his fur is now. His tail is beginning to feather, but apart from that he looks like a lab!

Doing his "bang" trick, where he goes into this position
when I say "bang!". He's getting better at it, but is sometimes
still reluctant to put his head fully down.
He's getting pretty big these days... when people meet him and I introduce him as "still little more than a baby" they say he doesn't look like one! It is fairly true, he's heading towards 21 inches at the shoulder, only another 3 to go at most to still remain inside the breed standard.

Training continues to be very good. We are working on a heel cue now - not a really formal heel, just a "walk at my left side" type heel. I will later train a "side" cue, which will get him walking at my right side. It is very useful for assistance dogs to be flexible in whichever side they walk on, as shops can sometimes be set out in strange
Another photo showing his coat without its fluff. He's
wearing his new Freedom Harness in this photo, which I
am really enjoying! He doesn't seem to mind it, although he
 isn't keen on it going on. I should train it really!

In a nice sit stay outside.
ways, and you may wish to look at isles without a dog in the way - so that the dog needs to walk comfortably on the other side. But I won't start training that for a good while yet. He is doing very well with the heel command inside, off the leash, with a medium level of distraction, but we haven't even taken it to the backyard, or added a leash.

We've also started retrieve training. You are meant to follow Sue Ailsby's New Levels (the books I just received) as they come.... but as a trained retrieve would really help me, I skipped ahead some. It starts in Level 3 (the second book)
Performing his "under" cue. Very helpful when out in cafes,
restaurants and the like. He has a firm grasp of the command
and will get under whatever it is possible to get under. I need
to start proofing outside now, and also asking for duration.
and has many little steps that teaches the formal retrieve - very much like an assistance retrieve. The first step gave a warning it may take a couple of days for the dog to get it - it took Knightley about 10 minutes!!! Wow he is sure getting this shaping and training thing now. For a while he was rather stuck on shaping, but definitely not now. His only problem is barking when he gets frustrated by me upping the criteria.

We are working on the second step now, where he has to be able to grab three different objects twice for one c/t. This is to increase the time he holds the object, so that in the end he doesn't bother to let go for long at all because he knows he has to hold on twice anyway for the click. Occasionally you need to click for one hold just to keep the dog in the game! Knightley found this pretty frustrating, that's for sure. But he definitely understood it. He just didn't like the change! What a silly clever puppy.

Socialising with one of the kids on the street. He gets along
so very well with children, it is great to see. It will be a
challenge, when the time comes, to stop him from wanting
to say hello to every single one when he is working.
He recently went to a big picnic I am not sure if I mentioned was happening in one of my previous posts, and behaved very well. There was even a noisy jumping castle, a face painter, a Santa, and quite a few kids. He showed no worry at any of these things. We took along his portable fabric crate with a nice freeze dried kangaroo tail to devour so we could get some time out from having to watch over him and actually eat and socialise. But he really was a pretty good boy. He did do some digging in the grass, and a little whining occasionally, but that was all. I was very happy with him. At one stage my husband and I left him in the portable crate under the watchful eye of one of my husband's colleges, and as we both walked away from him, he let out a huge loud upset howl/whine/bark, which continued until someone went over to comfort him. I found it very very hard to leave him when he was making those noises! Not surprisingly he was very happy to see us back minutes later. Poor puppy, you realise how attached he is to his 'family' when things like that happen.

Poor Knightley had a badly upset tummy yesterday and did a big gooey mess on the carpet. I had let him out of his crate after coming home from work, and he had gone to the front door and looked like he wanted to go out. I know he never needs to go immediately, so I was getting around to taking him out. But I should have looked at his insistence more closely, because next I knew he couldn't hold it in and half of it all came out on the carpet. It was his reaction that was most interesting. Shame is the closest I could describe it as. As soon as the poor thing had finished, he kind of slinked away, wouldn't meet my eye, tail was between his legs, his head was low to the ground. I hadn't scolded him or anything (I never did anyway of course), but he was obviously upset at his own behaviour. I asked my husband to take him outside while I started the cleanup, and he went again several times. I took him for a walk later and he went again and again. Poor little puppy. His first accident in many many weeks. Judging by his reaction to the unavoidable slip up, I think he can certainly be called house trained. He absolutely knew that he shouldn't be doing it there! He seems ok today though, and I've made sure he has had a lot to drink. I bet he ate something he shouldn't have.

Christmas Day is looking like it will be a fairly hot one... December so far has been a pretty unseasonably cool month but looks like Christmas Day may be one of its hottest days. We usually spend the day over at my parents house, and this year will be no exception. They have a nice pool, so I will take Knightley's quite newly arrived life jacket with us, and we may well go swimming together. Looking forward to it. Will get some photos if it happens! Leaving you with my cute Knightley photo for the week!

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