Friday, January 20, 2006

Day 183

Today Sanity has been with me for six months. I think this is a good time for me to list all the things we have accomplished during her first six months with me. She arrived a 13 week old pup who was pretty much a clean slate just waiting for words.

And now;
She has a recall to die for. Once I say "come" there doesn't seem to be anything that will slow her down or get in her way as she comes to me. So I think I can safely say she knows how to come when called.

I can tell her to "go to bed" and she will find one of the house dog beds and make herself scarce.

We have reached the point where the list of things she understands what and how to fetch is just about to jump to that most wonderful of all commands, the generalized fetch command.

She politely stops at the gate and waits to be told it is ok to go through. She is polite and not pushy when it comes to meeting new people or new dogs.

She waits to be told to enter or leave the car.

She never jumps on people.

She stays off the furniture unless specifically invited up.

She knows to not walk on my quilts.

She is about 70% reliable, off lead, around town. Of course that means I must be 100% reliable in my choice of off lead circumstances.

She will sit on command from distances of up to 8 feet. She is learning how to adjust her sit so she can remain facing me. She has a fair sit/stay.

She will down on command, but I still have to be fairly close to get a descent response. Her down/stay is very solid and reliable, even when I am out of sight.

She will move out of the way when told.

She has a pretty good understanding of what both up and off mean.

Her off leash heeling is much better than her on leash heeling, but both continue to improve.

Just last week she started wearing the shoulder pack that serves as my purse and she is most serious about that responsibility.

In the yard, she is starting to show signs of becoming a "playground director". The first step to becoming a "yard boss".

All of this and she is all of 8 months old. I'd say she is doing a pretty fair job.

Today's escapades

Yes she was wearing her ecollar and yes I was holding the transmitter. So how come I had to resort to more traditional methods to get her attention or compliance to my commands? This person seems to be cursed with not being able to come to terms with the new Pro 500 G2 series collar. Yes, the batteries were well charged. Yes, the collar was turned on. No, the battery wasn't engaged properly in the transmitter. That is so frustrating.

We went do to the "nail day" thing and while she was willing to go to her rug and down, she also though it would be fun to chew on stuff behind my back. The interesting part was that I really thought the transmitter was working and so behaved accordingly, which means I hit the button when I caught her. She seemed to think I was right and behaved accordingly, which meant she would heave a loud sigh and change position. Wonder if that counts as the power of positive thinking?

After finishing up there, we stopped at the grocery store on the way home. It is something I rarely do, because I use the Peapod Home Delivery service most of the time. Anyway, off we went into the store. I knew I was in trouble before we had managed to get half way across the parking lot. There was no focus on her part. Her eyes, ears, head and nose were going in twenty different directions at once. Thinking the heave distraction level was the problem and it was interfering with her ability to "hear" the collar, I upped the intensity. Nothing. Upped it again. Nada.

All this is going on as we make our way though the store. Finally, I had to admit that the collar wasn't working for some reason and I really wasn't properly equipped to handle things in a more traditional manner. I threw in the towel, so to speak, paid for the items in the shopping cart and headed for home. Once there I started fiddling around with that blasted collar and finally figured out that somehow I had managed to unscrew the battery pack on the transmitter. This, of course, meant the transmitter had no power, so of course the collar wasn't working. DUH!

Oh well, at least I can say that with no prompting from any equipment she managed to fetch my keys when I dropped them and then a stand and brace to help me up from a chair. The strange thing about the stand and brace is that as long as I don't say anything she is just fine. Let me tell her to stand and she begins this slow collapse. I am choosing to view that behavior as confusion on her part and just something to be worked through.

Still, six months worth of training and she isn't doing too poorly.


  1. A trainer I know has a story she tells about how she was out in her kennel and one of her Airdales was acting up, and she didn't have his transmitter with her. So she grabbed her cordless phone, pointed it in the dog's direction, and started tapping a button. He reacted exactly as though he was being stimmed. :)

  2. Well this tells us two things. First the person in question doesn't actually know how to train a dog and second the dog has been conditioned to work only with an ecollar on. In other words, the dog is "ecollar-wise". Sad.

  3. My dogs are ecollar wise. I tried to prevent it, but they were on to me immediately. I think it was because we started with bark collars, and so they already knew that collars with boxes on them equals stim. Since the damage is already done I don't worry much about it, but I don't expect to be able to leave their collars off any time soon either.