Monday, November 29, 2010

Training Day 44- hyper pups

So I normally don't go to Bailey's trainer's house on Mondays but tomorrow I have an appointment and won't be able to see him. So when I got there today one of the dogs (not my dog) had been having some fun in the den. Mac , a Bull Terrier had taken one of the feather pillows off the couch, tore it open and spread its fuzzy feather guts all over the den. So needless to say the den was out of order this morning. Bailey and his brother were out in the side yard so I went out there to hang out until the den was cleaned up.
I have never seen the boys as hyper as they were this morning. They were jumping on everything and everyone. At one point Bailey was trying to get my aide's attention and jumped up sooo high that his eyes were looking right into hers (she's 5'4). He usually NEVER jumps on anyone but me, but they were so hyper today that he just couldn't help himself. He must have jumped up on me to give me kisses at least 25 times! In between jumping spurts the two boys were zooming all around the yard pursuing various toys.
Once the den was de-feathered we brought Bailey inside. I wanted to do a light switch session before he crashed out. He got it!!! He was consistently turning on the light. In fact as soon as he saw the bag of treats come out of my aide's pocket he walked over to the light and flipped it on without even being asked. He did this about ten times in a row and I was squealing with joy. The biggest difference is that Bailey now clearly understands the motion to flip the switch with his nose. Where as before he would sometimes hit the switch up with his nose and other times just touch his nose lightly to the switch. So after that he passed out and it was time for lunch.
After lunch we did one more light session and Bailey did almost as good as the first time. Watch:

After that it was time to go. I put Bailey in the kitchen with all the other dogs and left for the day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Training Day 43

Today when we got there Bailey was waiting for me in his crate. We let him out of the crate and took him into the backyard. He was so excited to see me that he gave me tons of kisses. I took him to get busy, since I was about to take him out for a coffee date with a friend. We loaded Bailey up in the van and drove over to Starbucks. When we got there I chose the table that was closest to the window and right next to the counter with all of the milk and sugar for the customers. I thought this would be a great place to sit since it would give Bailey lots of practice ignoring distractions. Right after we sat down and Bailey settled onto his mat, he suddenly stood up and gave out one quick bark. I looked through the window to see what he had barked at and a medium sized dog had just appeared right on the other side of the glass from Bailey. The dog's owners sat at the table with him at their side to enjoy their coffee. My aide told Bailey "quiet" and he quickly sat down on his mat and gave her his full attention. He then laid back down onto his mat and turned away from the dog at the window. The dog was sitting outside for at least 45 more minutes and Bailey chose to completely ignore him. What a good boy!
He was so good the whole time we were there that this was the first time that for a moment I actually forgot he was next to me. Because he was laying right next to the counter, several times during our visit  people were standing literally two inches from his face, and he didn't flinch a muscle. We also kept getting bombarded with freindly starbucks baristas offering us holiday samples. Again Bailey didn't acknowledge them at all.
So after our 1 1/2 hour  coffee visit we went back to the trainer's house. I took Bailey out back to get busy. He peed for a minute straight. It was then lunch time, and he just chilled out the whole time. Then it was time to go and Bailey went into the side yard to hang out with his buddies.
For those of you who celebrate, Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Training Day 42

When I got there today I couldn't find Bailey anywhere. Thankfully I knew that he was probably on an outing with my trainer and would be back soon. When he got back from his outing I was waiting in the den and he was super excited to see me. He quickly jumped up on me and gave me lots of kisses. My trainer had taken him to the grocery store for a training session and focused primarily on the "leave it" command. She said she took Bailey up and down the aisles with many smells such as dog food, soap and meat. He did great. She also commented on how well he walked beside her, never pulling at all. What a good boy!
 We went straight into a light switch session and he nailed it! He's turning on the mobile light switch 85% of the time, which is awesome. Then we did an old classic, bell training. He did phenomenally and got up/looked up at me every time I hit the bell. Even when I barely hit the bell and it gave off a quiet "ping" he still jumped up to attention. Then it was time for hide and seek and I decided to do something a little different today. Instead of playing hide and seek in the tennis courts we just went out to the back yard by the pool. My aide would take Bailey around the corner near to the tennis court entrance and practice sit/stay. While she did this I would hide in the back yard.When my aide said "go find Eva" Bailey would pull my aide around the corner to find me. During one of the games a funny thing happened. Remember how Bailey loves to run on the pool cover? Well when Bailey came zooming around the corner to find me with my aide in tow, he decided to take a short cut and began running across the pool. My aide had to slam on her brakes (so to speak ) and barely missed landing on top of the pool cover. Bailey did great because even though she stopped him from running he chose a different path and still pulled her to find me. After hide and seek it was chill time. I gave Bailey two bones to chew (he always needs two) and he quickly passed out.
While he was sleeping  a couple brought over three of their dogs to be boarded overnight. It was the first time these three dogs Butch, Lucky and Charlie had been to my trainer's house so it was quite a symphony of barks and howls. At first Bailey was trying SO hard not to bark, you could literally see him trying to fight off the urge. But after a few minutes he gave in and started barking to see what was going on and say hello. So we did some basic obedience practice to redirect his attention. Bailey is funny-when he is doing basic obedience and in a down stay he randomly let's out little "boofs" , because he just  can't help himself. Overall he did really well despite all the commotion.
Before lunch we did one more light switch session. This time I had Bailey on leash and I walked him over to the light switch (as I will do when he lives with me). At first my aide would say "get the light" and Bailey would flip the switch. Then we tried it with me walking him over to the switch and her not saying anything (again how it will be when he lives with me). After a minor delay he hit the switch and was rewarded. What a good boy. After that it was lunch time, and Bailey just chilled.
Once we finished lunch it was play time and I wanted Bailey to meet the three new dogs staying at the house. Everyone got along very well and Bailey made a new friend, Charlie a twenty pound chihuahua mix. All in all a very good day!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Training Day 41

So today was different. I met up with  Bailey's trainer, who brought  Bailey and his brother Liam, for a day at the Universal City Walk. For those of you who don't know, City Walk is a loud, visually overwhelming outdoor mall next to Universal Studios. We planned a day seeing a movie and eating lunch out with the two boys. We decided to meet up in a parking lot down the hill and then all pile up in my van for the drive up to the City Walk. When we got there my trainer took the two dogs out of her car and I saw Bailey scoping out my familiar looking van while I sat inside. When the door opened and he saw me waiting for him he began wagging his tail excitedly and immediately ran up the ramp and jumped on the back seat.  We drove up to the parking lot, parked and began our walk up to the movie theater. Bailey was awesome and was not distracted by anything; randomly spurting water fountains, loud rock music, squealing kids and flashing lights. Liam, who I always see off duty really surprised me. Normally when I see him he is a big goof ball and is always trying to get Bailey to play with him, but today on duty he was Mr. Professional.
So this was Bailey's first movie and he did phenomenally! My trainer brought blankets for Bailey and his brother to lie on during the movie, and Bailey crashed out. The darkness of the movie theater didn't faze him at all. At one point during the movie loud gunshots were fired and Bailey didn't even flinch. I was beaming with pride.
After the movie we went out for lunch. Both boys just laid at the foot of the table quietly, despite the people dining next to us and the servers constantly walking past them. I was most impressed with Bailey "working" with his brother (and play mate) right beside him. Bailey didn't even try to play with him and if Liam was trying to get his attention Bailey would ignore him. What an awesome day! I'm so proud of Bailey.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Training Day 40

So when I got  there today Bailey was in his crate in the den waiting for me. When I went into the den he jumped up on me and gave me some hello kisses. Then we went straight into the light switch training. Today we did something different. As you may know we have been giving Bailey chicken treats when he actually flips the switch and kibble when he touches his nose to it. We have been doing this because in the past he lost interest in the task because he wasn't getting very many treats and became frustrated and confused.  But today he was only given a treat when he actually flipped the switch. He did great and flipped the switch 75% of the time. And he did not show any signs of frustration or disinterest when he wasn't getting treats.
After the light switch I wanted to do a few games of hide and seek. Unfortunately Bailey was not interested. For the first game I went to hide outside of the tennis courts and my aide practiced sit and down commands with Bailey while I hid. She then said "go find Eva" and Bailey took off running excitedly like he usually does. But after looking around the tennis courts for about 10 seconds he stopped and decided he was much more interested in sniffing the concrete than trying to figure out where I was. He eventually casually walked my aide out of the tennis courts to where I was waiting, but it took forever! But when he found me he did happily jump up and give me some kisses. We tried one more game but it was clear that Bailey just wasn't into it today. So I decided to play a different game with him and we worked on fetch. He's slowly getting the concept of chasing, and returning the ball. And to reinforce this behavior he was given chicken treats and a click whenever he brought the ball back to me or my aide. Then it was chill time. Bailey was soooo tired and immediately crashed out within two seconds.
We let Bailey take a good long nap and then did one more light switch session. This time I wanted to see if Bailey would flip the regular switch instead of the bigger one, and he did! His batting average went down a bit but he still flipped it about 50% of the time. After that it was lunch time and Bailey crashed out once again. As soon as we finished lunch it was play time.
Bailey's brother Liam was there today so it was a lively session. At one point Bailey decided that (like many of his buddies) I needed a deer antler to chew on. He picked one up and began carrying it towards me. I thought he would just lie down next to me and enjoy his treat but instead he clumsily jumped up on me and held it to my face before dropping it in my lap. It was as if he was saying "Here Mom I got you one too"! He and his brother were again super cute today.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Training Day 39

So today was kind of different. I don't usually work with Bailey on Mondays but I have an appointment tomorrow so  I asked my trainer if I could come by today. She had made plans to have a guest at the house and I couldn't work with Bailey in the den. So instead I decided today would be a good day for an outing. So when we got there I stayed in the van while my aide went to go get Bailey. He was playing in the tennis courts and when he was let out through the gate he said a quick hello to my aide and then zoomed around the back yard to the den door excitedly expecting to see me. My aide put him on leash and lead him out to the van. She said at first he seemed a tiny bit confused as to why I wasn't around, but as soon as he saw me in the van his tail began swishing wildly and immediately he ran up the ramp and hopped onto the back seat for our outing together.
I decided to take Bailey to Starbucks to work on his long down stay. When we got to Starbucks and sat down he settled in pretty quickly laying next to me. At one point  some foolish young guy left his dog outside the front door of Starbucks unleashed. I only noticed this because Bailey let out a mild bark in the dog's direction. Now I could have handled this one of two ways; I could have said "no' and collar popped him.,or I could have re-directed his attention and rewarded him for being quiet. I chose the latter and used this moment as a great training opportunity. Bailey did very well and even turned his back to the window where he originally spotted the other dog. The reason I didn't collar pop him was because he would have only learned what not to do and not what he should do instead.
At another point during our coffee stop a man sat at a table near to us and Bailey went over to him, sniffing his leg. He was told "leave it" and  he quickly turned back around towards me and was rewarded with a treat. He soon laid back down quietly. A little bit later he got up again and I thought he might need to get busy so I asked my aide to take him out front to the grass area. She grabbed his leash and lead him towards the door but as she was opening the door he instead tried to exit through the clear glass window. A loud thunk ensued and all eyes in the place turned to Bailey. Luckily it sounded a lot worse than it actually was and Bailey then walked through the front door unfazed. My aide and I were cracking up and I kind of felt bad for laughing, but we just couldn't help ourselves it was just too unexpected and funny. When Bailey was back inside next to me I heard a firetrucks sirens and saw one driving down the street. I was a bit concerned that Bailey might start doing the firetruck howl but he didn't even look at it when it passed us.  What a good boy!
By the time we finished chatting and enjoying our drinks Bailey had been in Starbucks for almost two hours and had done amazingly well. We packed everything up and headed back to my trainer's. When we got there I took Bailey out back to get busy before it was lunch time. At lunch Bailey crashed out and I left soon after that.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Training Day 38

When we opened the front door today Bailey startled us when he popped his head out to say hello. My aide was so surprised she shut the door in his face (usually there are no dogs allowed in the area where the door is). She then opened the door again so Bailey could greet me. He was so happy to see me that he ran into the gated front yard jumped up on me and started giving me kisses. After that fantastic greeting we all went back inside to the den. We started the day with a light switch session. We used the small mobile board and he did phenomenally!  At one point it seemed like Bailey was losing interest so we decided to stop. We were putting away the supplies and kind of ignoring Bailey when he walked over to the big light switch board and turned on the light. We went nuts with excitement, and Bailey got a big piece of chicken for him being so smart!
So after the light switch session I wanted to do some bell training. We hadn't worked on this in a while and I was kind of nervous that Bailey would not remember.Nope! He remembered and looked up at me almost every time I rang the bell. What a good boy. So after that it was hide and seek time. I was the one hiding but Bailey was on leash and had to bring my aide to me. He did great! I even hid outside of the tennis courts (something I've never done before) and he still pulled my aide to find me. At first he was a bit confused when he couldn't find me in the tennis courts but once he heard the beep of my wheel chair he quickly figured out how to get to me. After that it was break time and a funny thing happened. My aide and I were checking my cell phone when it began to ring. We answered it on speaker phone and a recorded voice came on the line loudly. Bailey had been in a deep sleep but quickly sat up confused at the new noise. He looked at us with complete curiosity and began cocking his head to the side and then quickly cocking his head to the other side. He did this quite a few times to the point where it made him look like a animatronic toy and we busted up laughing.
So after break time I wanted to do one more light switch session. Here is a video of how it went.

After that it was lunch time and then play time. Overall a good day.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Training Day 37

When we got there today Bailey was in his crate in the den. So, zero "where's my dog" today. As soon as he was let out of the crate he jumped up and started giving me kisses. After saying hello, my aide went into the kitchen to put our lunches away and while she was gone Bailey was ALL OVER me! Three times in a row he jumped on me and was giving me endless love! It was awesome! After that we began our training with a light switch session. We started with the regular switch today. He was putting his nose up to the switch every time he was told but he was not hitting it. So we got the other modified switch and began using that one. It was really important that he hit the switch today. Since he had an upset stomach last week we were using kibble for reward and not his favorite, chicken. Today we were introducing chicken back into his diet and he was only going to get it if he hit the switch. Since it had been so long since he was given his favorite treat I thought that he might make the light switch connection a bit more clearly today since I knew he would reeeeeeeallly want that chicken, and he did! (kinda). When the modified switch was brought to him he hit it up and got tons of praise and tons of chicken. After that he hit the switch almost every single time. The cute thing was, he got so excited for all the praise and chicken that he began to joyously jump on my aide when he flipped the switch, because he knew what was coming.
After that great session we tried auto-sit with eyes. I think he's still trying to figure this one out. He knows he's got to do something else besides just sitting to get a treat but he's just not quite sure what that is yet. It will come in time. Then it was chill time. There are a few different dog beds in the den and Bailey chose the one right next to me and laid there the entire time. I let Bailey crash out for about an hour and then we did one more light switch session. He did pretty good and flipped the switch on the small board 75% of the time. When it was time for lunch my aide went to get our food ready and I was a bit nervous he might have an accident. We are still not exactly sure what upset his stomach last week and since this was the first day we were reintroducing chicken I was uncertain if an "accident" might happen. But everything was fine and he slept all through lunch, and had no stomach issues for the rest of the afternoon. Then it was play time. All the dogs were kind of chill today and we just hung out and enjoyed their company.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Training Day 36

When we got there today I couldn't find Bailey. He wasn't in the den and his crate was empty. I looked in the kitchen, not there. Then I went out back and there were a bunch of his friends in the tennis courts but no Bailey. Confused, I headed back inside and just as I entered the den, my Trainer arrived with Bailey. She had taken him to OSH this morning for an outing and was just coming back home. Bailey was so excited to see me and immediately jumped up to give me a ton of kisses. We first worked on the light switch and an awesome thing happened. He turned on the light using the original smaller sized light switch attached to the board. I was so amazed because this is the first time he has hit the light switch on using the normal small sized switch and not the big one we made. I of course gave him lots of praise and treats. Then it was time to meet up with a friend for coffee.
So we loaded up Bailey and headed to the coffee house down the street. Bailey was such a good boy. He just laid next to me for the entire time (over an hour). My trainer had said that Bailey needs to go on more outings to boost his confidence in public places. Overall he is very comfortable on outings with me. But every once in a while an unfamiliar loud noise distracts him because he is not used to it. So the more he goes out with me than the less likely he is to care about these weird/loud/unfamiliar noises. Luckily if he is startled by something he gets over it pretty quickly. Plus he's kinda due for another fear stage so I expect him to act fearful sometimes. After coffee we headed back to my trainer's house and I took him outside to get busy before we had lunch. 
 Once we finished our lunch it was play time. Because Bailey had a busy morning and was such a good boy I wanted to reward him with a good play session. His brother Liam was in the side yard today, so I knew Bailey would have a blast outside with him. Today my trainer introduced a new toy to all the dogs. They all wanted to play with it and Bailey was trying especially hard to convince his friend Dara to share.


Then he got it!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Training Day 36

When we got there today my trainer had left us a note saying that Bailey's stomach seems to be back to normal. But we however, decided just to stick with kibble treats today instead of chicken. We started off today with a light switch session and he did well. He flipped the switch a few times and got lots of praise instead of chicken. Even though we weren't using chicken today (his favorite treat) it didn't seem to make a difference with his motivation or performance. After that we tried our new "eye" command. He seems to be getting it and looks into my eyes 70% of the time. Then we went outside for an auto-sit session but I upped the ante. Not only does Bailey have to automatically sit when I stop my chair, he now has to look me in the eyes after he sits in order to receive a reward. This way he will be ready in case I give him an eye command. He caught on pretty quickly. At the beginning of the session two of Baileys friends came running into the yard and were trying to distract him by barking and even trying to get treats from my aide. Bailey sat next to me quietly poised and waiting for my next move. What a good boy.
 After the auto sit session I wanted to do a game of hide and seek in the tennis courts. I hid but Bailey was on a short leash today with my aide. My aide would guide Bailey to an area far from where I was hiding and then tell him "go find Eva'. Since he was on a short leash he had to pull my aide to where I was at to "find me". Now Bailey never pulls while on leash, but he seemed to understand he was leading my aide to me and the very first round he pulled her with no hesitation. After a few games of hide and seek it was chill time and we went back inside the house for a break, and soon it was time for lunch.
After lunch I wanted to try something new for our light switch training. This time Bailey was on leash and attached to my chair. I had my aide take the light switch board and go to one side of the room. Then I walked Bailey over to where the light switch was and when he touched his nose to the switch he got a treat. This is a more realistic way to teach the light switch since in the future I will be entering rooms with him and he will need to turn on/off the lights when I stop in front of a light switch. He did great! I think that me taking him around the room makes the task more exciting for him. After that it was play time. Sadly, his brother was not at the house today. But I got some great photos of Bailey hanging out with me, Magic and his girlfriend Lucy.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Training Day 35

When we got there today Bailey was in the den and was super excited to see me. A note from my trainer explained that Bailey's stomach problems have returned. and he had another accident. Although he has diarrhea he is still eating, drinking and acting completely normal. So we went straight into light switch training. He did great and again generalized the switches, touching his nose to different ones. After that we went into the tennis courts and tried a new version of hide and seek. We put Bailey on a 20 foot leash, held by my aide, and had him stand next to me.  I then gave him the "go get help" eye command (me looking at Bailey and then up at my aide) and asked my aide to tug on the leash at the same time. Unfortunately Bailey had no clue as what we were trying to teach him. And watching my aide try to follow Bailey around and untangle his 20 foot leash was pretty hysterical. So I decided to try something else. We went back to the original hide and seek game, with me hiding, but altered it a little bit. I had my aide take Bailey on leash to a corner of the courts and I went to hide. She then told him "go find Eva" but since he was on leash he had to take her with him. I did not put peanut butter on my hand as we would previously do. Instead he only got a treat when my aide had followed him over to me, and acknowledged me verbally/physically. He seemed to understand that my aide needed to accompany him to me and even began jumping on me in acknowledgement when he found me.  I think he may even have been copying my aide, because she would get all excited and say "Yay we found Eva" and put her hands on my arms and shoulders to show him that I was what he needed to find. After the first time she did this Bailey would jump on me when he found me copying her same physical acknowledgements.
After hide and seek it was chill time and Bailey just relaxed and chewed on a deer antler. Soon he fell into a deep sleep. When he woke up we did one more light switch session. We also tried something new. Bailey has always been super attentive towards me but I want him to focus more on my eyes so that I can use subtle eye commands that he will pick up on.  So we're trying a verbal command that we hope will transition into an automatic behavior for him. My aide is saying the command "eyes" and whenever Bailey looks me straight in the eyes he gets a reward. I think this will be an easy one for him and he's already starting to get it.
So after introducing this new task, my aide went into the kitchen to get lunch ready. Bailey began to do his "I've got to go to the bathroom dance" and was circling around the room. I thought "oh no"! And before I could do anything Bailey proceeded to empty himself on the den rug. My aide returned just as this was happening. Bailey then sat a few feet away from his pile and looked up at us so sorry. I know that he couldn't help it because he's been having stomach issues. Interestingly his stomach issues started around the same time my trainer gave all the dogs deer antlers to chew on, and this accident was about an hour after he had been chewing on an antler. Could be a coincidence but I suspect it might be related. So after we cleaned it up it was time for lunch. Since I had introduced some new commands/tasks today I decided to just have some play time after lunch. But since it was over 90 degrees today the dogs were pretty mellow and just enjoyed some relaxing sun bathing.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Training Day 34

When I got there today Bailey was loose in the den. As with every Tuesday, he was extra excited to see me today. He even jumped up on my lap and gave me some big wet kisses right after I got there. Awesome! We did the light switch first thing and something very cool happened today. As you may remember, in the den is a big wooden board with three working light switches that we originally used for training. But a couple weeks ago we began using a small hand held light switch board that rekindled Bailey's interest in this task. Today during the light switch session my aide at one point said "get the light" and instead of touching the light switch she had in her hand, he walked over to the big light switch board and touched his nose  up to one of the switches there. I was amazed. This shows that he understands that when someone says "get the light" that it means any/every light switch and not just the one that I was holding in front of his face. I read about how dogs can generalize but I hadn't ever seen it for myself.  So that was really cool!
After that I did an auto-sit session. Bailey did well. I always walk him over to the chain link fence where he can see his friends. I always have him sit next to me while a bunch of dogs are wiggling and trying to get his attention, as a good distraction test. He did great! After auto-sit it was lunch time. Bailey just slept (with his two chew bones).
After lunch we did one more light switch session and Bailey did the same thing as earlier, touching his nose to different switches when asked to "get the light". Then we went straight into play time and soon left after that. Over the weekend Bailey was entered into a costume contest dressed as a vampire and won "Most Handsome" in the contest. Here is a picture of Bailey along side some of the other contestants. Sooooooo Cute!