Saturday, May 23, 2009

Standing Still

I've recently been working with Marshall on a "stand stay." He has to stand still while I walk away. Today, I wanted to test him while he worked the booth at the farmers market.

I instituted the help of another puppy raiser and the children of another. I got Marshall to stand while the "helper" touched or nudged Marshall with their knees, kind of pushing on him to get him to move. He is not allowed to move until I return to him and release him.

He's still a work in progress, but he did pretty well.

I even think this training spilled over to his "pr work". I would have him standing and a person from the passing crowd would be asking about him, and it seemed Marshall would look over to me as if to ask, "can I stop standing now?" I would tell him 'ok' and he would sit to be petted, as commanded.

It's times like thesethat offer great opportunities to work in a little training for more real-life environments to which he might be exposed--lots of things to look at, but learn to focus on the job.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Stretching the mind

I sure missed Marshall while he spent time with another foster to work the BMW Charity event. He came back and I saw he was SO big! I guess you don't see them growing in front of your eyes.

I've been told we need to work on Marshall's over exhuberance with a tennis ball. I had been thinking about how I could stretch his little mind even before he spent time away. So, for a few days now, I've been introducing holding a dumbbell in his mouth...the first step to learning to retrieve. (If I can get Marshall to retrieve my shoes like my first own dog, I will be VERY happy, but he has to learn the concept first). I started with just helping him hold in while I held his mouth closed around it. Last night we tried the next baby step, actually reaching for it. It is getting it!

Julie also suggested we "search for our dinner." That has been quite a fun game. When I feed my own dog, Marshall already knows his bowl isn't going to be handed to him. He lets my other dog start eating, while I tell Marshall, "Search." His bowl has been hidden behind doors, and under things. Last night it was outside. Tonight, we just might have a larger search as we find a place, perhaps down the street?

All this is to help Marshall understand that his world is bigger than a tennis ball. Hopefully he will conquer all there is in this big wide world and that process of learning fun!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Marshall rang the bell

When I first brought Marshall home, I had hung an ornament made of multiple bells on the back door. I had quickly trained my older dog to "ring the bell" by hitting it with his nose to signify "outside." I never really had a chance to purposefully train Marshall on the bell.

My dog, still being a bit bigger than Marshall is always the first to reach the bell. I say "outside" and he hits the bell.

I thought Marshall had hit the bell the other night, but it was hard to tell, with two rambunctious dogs at the door.
Just now, as I was doing dishes, Marshall was standing by the door, looking at me, and hit the bell with his nose. I asked Marshall, "did you just tell me something?" and he hit the bell again. I reaffirmed his action by saying "outside" and he hit it again. Followed by a party of lots of praise, and of course a little trip outside.

He seems to have learned just by watching all these months--how cool is that!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sable pups get mobile!

Fundraiser at Ace Hardware!

Marshall at the Movies

Well....more of a drive in.

On Friday night, a local church was offering a movie on their grounds. Young families, kids running, dancing, loud music, balls and frisbees flying. Kids running through the crowd past Marshall's face...snacks and popcorn treats on the blanket beside him, just within reach, which resulted in only a few of those puppy stretches that is really pushing the boundaries of a true plotz, but a little "ah ah" redirected his attention to treats of his own for a good response.

Marshall was alert and watched the balls flying, started to get up a few times to chase them, but was quickly redirected to sit or plotz. Just a few corrections to sit to allow some kids to pet him, I explained that he needed to learn how to sit still for his job.

With all those wonderful distractions, Marshall pretty much layed at my feet through all the comotion. Having gotten there a little too early, we took a few little walks around to let him stretch his legs.

And I actually got to watch the entire movie!