Thursday, January 26, 2006

Day 25 (Thursday - Vermont departure)
Tonight at 4pm I am leaving for a snowboarding trip in Vermont so Finster is staying home/work with the wife. By now we've gotten into a schedule that seems to work well and I'll document it now.

7am - Wake up, go downstairs and get Finster's daily ration of food ready (2.5 cups) and a bowl of water. Then let him outside immediately after taking him out of the crate. He is outside for like 5 minutes emptying his goods. Then back in and we play fetch for 30 minutes treating him on every return. He loves fetch in the morning.

728am - Take him back outside to pee again to empty the water he just drank.
730am - Re-crate while I get ready for work.
8am - Let Finster out and gather his stuff, let him pee outside and then put him in the car for work.
830am - Arrive at work and let him pee on the way in to work.
830-11am - Finster usually sleeps until 1030 or 11, sometimes all the way to 12.
11am - I take him out for a quick 5 min walk to let him pee. I give him a little water , not too much, before we walk.
1105am - Back in his crate, back to sleep.
1230 - Lunch walk - 30-45 minutes of running, leash walking and playing. He gets about 1/3 of his food and water here, and usually poops.
115pm - Back in his crate, to sleep
330pm - Take for a quick 5-15 minute walk to pee. I give him a little water here before we start.
530pm - Time for home, I usually just let him pee on the way to the car.
6pm - Arrive at home - let him pee/poop before going in. Then we usually play until around 630-645 during this time I give him plenty of water and most of his food.
7pm - I eat dinner, Finster is crated.
8pm - Take back out to play for an hour or so.
9pm - Re-crate after peeing.
10pm - Play a little more until bedtime at around 11pm.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Day 24 (Wednesday -Working, big compliment)
This morning Finster got the compliment of his life. A co-worker from Korea came back from vacation today and said that Finster looked delicious! :) He had had dog before and claimed that the dogs that get eaten actually look like Finster, he said this while licking his lips. Pretty funny stuff. Another thing that has happened since Finster came into my life is that I continually talk in my sleep to my wife about him. Here is the conversation I had last night, I was sleeping and my wife was still up reading:

Finster: Already sleeping in his crate
Wife: Can you put my book on the night stand?
Me: Looking at her confused.
Wife: Just set it down.
Me: But what should I do with him?
Wife: \Laughing because she knows I'm out of it
Wife: Who?
Me: Finster.
Wife: \Now really laughing
Wife: What do you want to do with him?
Me: Put him in his crate.
Wife: \Laughing even more

After work we did some traveling. We went to the store and stayed there until 8ish, then home. Finster was getting anxious to get out and play by the time we got home. The evening past pretty uneventfully. Finster had another accident. He tends to drink a TON of water when we get home, and then we get playing and we forget to go out. He forgets to go to the door and I forget that he just drank 3 gallons of water. Finster is doing great with the sit/stays and being free in the basement. He wanders around and occasionally chews on something, but not bad. I taught him the word "Drop it" which he does really well.

Day 23 (Tuesday - Back to work)
Today was really uneventful. Everything went as planned. Finster did bark in his crate twice today, but both times were at his bone. :) Goofy dog. Now when I take Finster for a walk in the woods behind our office park I take him off the leash and put a big stick (3-4 feet) on the leash. He pretty much chases the stick the whole time and picks it up and carrys it. He thinks he is such a tough guy when he is carrying it around, cracks me up. We played a bunch at home, and worked on sit/stays some more. I kept him off his runner a bunch and he got into a few things but he is getting better. He did have one accident last night :( He is doing so much better though.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Day 22 (Monday-Home with mom)
Today Finster stayed home with mom while I went to work. He was in his crate alone from 11-2pm and he did fine. There were a few complaints about him whining and barking when he was in his crate if Erica left him alone and did some work upstairs. This is a bit bothersome, I hope it doesn't become a problem. There were also reports of him attacking some of our baby trees and the Winter flowering plants in Erica's garden, neither of which made Erica too happy. The time away seemed to have worked out. When I got home Finster was tired out, I don't think he slept too much while I was gone. On Saturday I exchanged one of Finster's crates for an XL just in case he gets huge. I brought this one to work and set it up, man it's really big! When I got home I played with him and did a bunch of sit/stays. He's doing great with these too. I can make it upstairs, stay up there for 3 seconds and then return all the way back to him and he stays the whole time! No accidents today, woot.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Day 20, 21 (Sat. Sunday Playing with kids)
On Saturday I took Finster to the store to see how he did in that situation. At the store he was left in the back room with Erica sitting in the next room (only about 8 feet from him). He did fine in his crate here too, he only whined a few times. Actually, I think he barked once or twice too. Saturday evening we took Finster to a friend's house for a little get together. I put his crate in the kitchen and he could see us most of the time. He did great here too. He didn't bark once. Our friends were nice enough to let him roam around their whole downstairs! He had never really been on nice carpet before and he loved it. He got lots of attention from everyone and he acted great. He was very playful and didn't have a single accident at their house! Needless to say he slept well Sat. night.

Sunday was another day on the road. We took Finster home first to the in-laws, he took a nap while we ate lunch and didn't make a peep. Then he walked with us around the yard. He followed us around and didn't attack a single tree! He did fall through the ice of the pond, but he was only ankle deep at the time, so no harm done, not that I think he would have minded. After the walk he got carted to my sisters for my nephew's 3rd birthday party. My dad loves Finster so he grabbed him and held him for about an hour while a bunch of kids petted and loved him the whole time. Finster just sat on dad's lap and wagged his tail, and snuck in an occational lick. He enjoyed my dad's mustache, I think there was some food still in it. After the screaming and crazyness that is a 3 year-old's birthday party me, my wife, and my neices and nephew took him for a quick walk in the woods and back yard. Then Finster went into his crate, which was outside (it was about 45 degrees today!) because my sister's chocolate lab was in the garage. I took Finster in there but Cocoa's bark was a bit much for Finster. Then we brought Finster back home and I took him over to meet the neighbor's big Chocolate lab. This didn't go so well :) Sedona is probably 80lbs and is all energy. I put Finster down and Sedona wanted to play, but she was a bit rough for the little guy and he got scared. I picked him up and let Sedona smell him for a while, then I took him back home.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Day 17, 18, 19 (Wed-Friday) Work days
Nothing special, just going to work every day. He is doing great at work, he has no verbal complaints ever. On Thursday I tried out his harness and seatbelt on the ride home. He bit at it and the seatbelt for about 10 minutes, then he calmed down and went to sleep. The same on Friday morning. Nothing new has happened by way of training. Still doing shake, come, sit/stay, sit everyday with varying degrees of success. We took a nice long walk for lunch today, now he is exhausted and snoring in his crate. Friday night my sister-in-law came over with her (we think) Daschund/Whippit mix named Sparky. It didn't go great, but about as well as expected. Either Finster doesn't know how to read doggy body language or Sparky doesn't now how to speak it because Finster chased after Sparky and Sparky just ran away and didn't really complain too much. After doing this for about an hour or so Sparky got fed up with it and lit into Finster. The little guy yelped and cried like a little baby. I separated them for about 15 minutes then brought Finster back in and crated him for a bit. Then I started feeding both of them within about a foot of each other with Finster still in his crate. Then I opened Finster's crate and continued doing the sits and feeds. After this Finster steered clear of Sparky and there were no more issues. When Finster came close Sparky would growl at him and Finster would back off. Hopefully Finster remembers that not all dogs like to play rough next time they meet.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Day 16 (Tuesday - back to work)
We had a relatively normal work day today. It was raining, go figure for January 17th in Western NY! Yeah, Global Warming is a myth. Anyways, Finster's 1030 walk was splendid, he heeled great, no real problems on the leash. His lunch run got cut short to 30 minutes because he seemed agitated and a bit edgy outside. Then at 330 I took him out again but he just wanted to come back in the office, and it was raining and I had to prepare for a 4 o'clock meeting, so I gave in. A co-worker came over after the meeting and played with Finster from 5-530 so that was cool. Then we went to Petsmart and got a harness and pee-pad for the car. He is outgrowing his travelling crate so we need a new plan. The pad and the harness came to 51$!!! We got home and I tried it out on him, at first I fed him heavily with him in his harness so that he moved around in it a bit and got a little used to it. This worked pretty well and in no time he was ignoring it. Then I took him out to the car and strapped him in. He ended up chewing the seatbelt non-stop. I'm not sure he is ready for a crate-free ride yet. I think I'm going to take the harness and pad back today and get a little bigger crate for the car. Finster had quite a bit more energy at night than usual, probably because of the lack of exercise that he got during the day. He didn't have any accidents in the house though!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Day 15 (Monday Day off)
Man, getting up at 7am to play for 30 minutes in the freezing cold on your day off really sucks! Today Finster did really great. He has "Shake" down now and shakes every time. He also went to the door twice and rang the bell to go out. He also had an accident so I don't think he is house broken yet. We pretty much spent the day with him and just hung out all day. I did a bunch of work for the store and sat in the basement with him both in the crate and on his runner. In the past few days I've been putting Finster on a runner that goes the width of the basement. He doesn't seem to mind it anymore. He plays normal while on it so that's good. I think he just assumes it's a leash, which he doesn't mind anymore either. It's funny because he gets nervous if he is on the runner and I leave the room. He is fine in his crate if I leave the room, weird. I have been working more with the Sit/Stays and he can manage the width of the basement now and a few steps around the corner out of sight! This is pretty cool! He also had his first experience with ice today. I took him out back where we have a little creek and a big swampy mud puddle that have frozen over. He had a few falls which were quite funny :) He also got stuck in the creek and couldn't get out because it was "U" shaped and too slippery. At around 730 we watched Batman Begins and crated him the whole time, he was great and didn't complain a bit, he slept most of that time.

Day 14 (Sunday - Going home)
Sunday I worked on "Shake" a bit more and he started lifting his paw a few times, woot! We took Finster home to our parents houses for the afternoon. He did good at my in-laws, he pretty much slept the whole time. Then at my parents house he played a bit more with Tilly and Fred. They did much better this time and were running around with each other. He played in the house for about 20 minutes with Tilly with no peeing, woot. He also had his first encounter with a cat :) He was nervous at first but then started chasing it. The cat was defending himself by patting and clawing at Finster and my mom broke it up so he didn't get his eyeballs stratched. My dad loved playing with the little guy. He had some problems in his crate at my parents house. We crated him for about 20 minutes and went in the livingroom, he was in the kitchen. He pretty much barked the whole time, I don't know if the cat was bugging him, or he was just weirded out by the new place. Other than that it was a pretty good day. Finster is now sleeping through the night with no problems. I have been going to bed around 12 and getting up at 8 and he seems fine with it, and so do I. He is still dripping though, and still peeing occationally inside.

Day 13 (Saturday-Sabres Game)

Today I started teaching Finster "Shake". I just grabbed his paw after he sat and c/t him. I did this about 5 times and then went and played. He didn't really get it, just got exciting and jumped around. At around noon I went to the store to meet my parents and take down some Christmas lights. My parents were an hour late, but my sister and her kids were there. So Finster got to meet his cousins :) He did pretty good with them, he jumped on the 2 year old quite a bit though; he got excited seeing someone his own height. My parents followed me home to drop off some crap. They brought their two dogs Tilly and Fred. Fred is a little tiny dog and Tilly is about Finster's size. Fred didn't really want anything to do with Finster, it was too cold for him and Finster was too big. Tilly and him barked and growled at each other and Tilly (Female) kept trying to hump and scratch Finster (Male). After getting home around 3pm I was on a mission to tire him out as much as possible because we were going to a Sabres game at 6 and weren't going to be home until around midnight. By 6 we were fighting to keep him awake. When we got home at midnight there wasn't a problem at all. Finster was ready to get out but there were no mistakes in the crate.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Oh ya, the other issue is his size, he is all bones now. I upped his ration to 2.5 cups. The recommended amount is 1-1 3/4 cups for dogs up to 100 lbs. I haven't seen an improvement yet in his bony-ness

Day 12 (Friday) WorkToday he slept (I slept) straight through to 7am again! I'm loving it, but feel like a bad papa :). Did the usual morning routine without incident. Did some more "lay downs" in the car, he isn't getting lay down very fast. Finster is certainly getting used to work now. He now knows where my office is. When he gets in his crate now he goes to sleep almost immediately. He slept until 1040 when I took him for a quick 20 minute walk. Then back to sleep until 1230 for his 40 minute walk. He did great loose leash walking this time. At 330 the boss's daughter came and walked with me, Finster and 2 other co-workers. Finster did really good with her, didn't jump much on her. I tried out the retractable leash and it worked well. At 5pm we went home, Finster was going to stay home alone for the first time as my wife and I were going out to eat. He did fine although he did leak a bit in his crate. He has quite a leaky problem, inconstanance I'm pretty sure. He dribbles quite a bit when playing, it's quite frustrating. He had one accident tonight and some more humping. Tonight when he humped I put him in the garage by himself for 2-3 minutes. This happened twice and he wasn't a fan. He also had problems with me putting the meds in his ears. I only managed to get one ear wet, I'll have to get the other tomorrow. He exhausted himself so much tonight that he went to his crate and laid down without me prompting him. Posted by Picasa

Day 11 (Thursday) Work

Today he slept (I slept) straight through to 7am without a problem. I got up with him at 7 and played until 730, then business as usual. Everything as usual, got to work around 830 and Finster slept until 1030, when I took him for a 15 minute walk. Then back to sleep until 12 when I took him for his lunch walk with Bill and Chris. He did much better with the loose leash walking today with other people. Then back to sleep at 1. At 330 Chris and I took him out for a 15 minute walk around the office complex, loose leash walking was bad again. He stopped to sniff everything :) I'll have to try this 330 one alone sometime to see if it's the company or the trainer. We had to stay late at work and didn't leave until 6pm, which Finster was cool with, he slept. Got home and played until around 7 when I ate dinner. Then took Finster back out from 745 to 9. He peed inside 3 times! Ughh, he isn't getting it. I ended up looking back at my reading material which said it usually takes 3-4 weeks at least before they get it, so I guess I shouldn't feel so bad. I was on the phone from 9-10 and then I took Finster outside again from 1030 for a pee, and then back inside to play until 11 in which time he managed to pee inside another time.

Day 10 (Wednesday) Another work day

He slept until 530 when one of my alarms went off and I went down to let him out. Then we played from 7-730, and left for work at 8. The ride in was uneventful. Finster fell asleep as soon as we got into the office. Finster slept until 11 when I took him out for a quick 15 minute walk, then back to his crate. At 1230 I took him out for his lunch run. He loose leash walked very well. We met 2 girls which he jumped all over. Then we went to the woods to walk the trail. There was a German Shepard in the woods with an older couple. Finster was curious, but a little shy. They didn't get close enough to sniff each other though. On the way back from the walk an old guy stopped his car and called us over to pet Finster. I asked the guy not to pet him until he sat. The guy agreed and Finster eventually sat. I'm going to try to do this from now on when strangers approach. We went on a 330 walk again with 3 Ron, Chris and Bill. Finster doesn't walk well with others around. He stops a lot more to sniff when others are around. Finster slept the rest of the afternoon away. The evening was uneventful. He played pretty much the whole night inside and had 1 accident and a few humping incidences and a biting when I got him too worked up.

Day 9 (Tuesday) Another work day.

Today I took him to work again for another full day at work. I kept to my usual schedule; walk/pee at 4am, walk, exercises from 7-730. Work by 830. On the way in I've started teaching him "Lay Down" in his crate. He tends to be tired again around 815 so when he lays down in his crate I say "Lay Down" and click/treat. This also stops him from sleeping in the car with me so that he can sleep during work. I have been doing this whenever he lays down in his crate and today he started laying down on command. He isn't quite 100% yet, probably only 30% but that's something. Finster slept from 830 to 1030 then out for a 15 minute walk and then re-crated. I took him for his big lunch walk at 1220 for an hour. We went into a trail in the woods and walked around the office park. We met some 2-3 year olds that wanted to play with him. He got too excited and jumped all over the poor kids. I really need to work on that. He also jumped on some other strangers he met. He got a little nervous about all the cars, and whined quite a bit. After laying in his crate for about an hour he tossed his lunch. I guess from running/feeding him at the same time, and because of the stress possibly. At 330 me and 2 friends took him for a walk around the office park. He did pretty terrible at loose leash walking. He stopped to sniff everything and was distracted by cars and strangers. We went home at 530 and did the usual schedule. Played a bit and he sat in his crate a bit. I've been playing with him more in the basement, he plays harder and he is getting the hang of not peeing indoors. He played inside for over an hour without peeing. We did some more sit/stays and he made it to about 15 feet. I've started teaching him to get his bone and the word "crate". He hasn't figured out either yet.

Day 8 (Monday) Vet Day

Today Finster stayed home with my wife. This was the first time he was without me for a significant amount of time. I took a 1/2 day today so that we could take him to the vet. I took him for his morning walk and my wife took him for the mid morning and noon walks. When I got home around 2 I played with him and worked more on his sit/stays. He got the 1 step down and some 2 steps during this session. His appointment was at 445 with the vet. When we got there he was a bit nervous of the new surroundings. Once he got inside and got sniffing he was more comfortable. Then a big dog came in and he got curious. The just sniffed each other and that was the end of it, good deal. Then the vet came and got us. The physical exam went over without a hitch, no whining or complaining. The shot on the other hand he hated. He cried for about 30 seconds. He also didn't like the ear crap the vet put in him. Finster ended up having worms so he got a de-worming pill in a treat which he munched down fine. After the vet we took him to the in-laws house. He walked around in a daze and then slept in his crate for most of the time there. The rest of the night he was in a daze from the shots, drugs and stress so he wasn't very playful. On his night walk we did some more sit/stays and he was able to consistently manage about 10 feet of distance! So smart! I'll try longer tomorrow.

Day 7 (Sunday)

Today was nothing special, I wanted to prepare Finster and my wife for Monday. On Monday I will be going to work alone and my wife will be staying home with Finster. I thought this might be weird to him because he really hasn't been without me at all since we brought him home. So today we both took him out for his morning walk. I gave the clicker and the food to my wife and had her run the show. I showed her all the steps that I took on his walks. He followed her around well and at one point I went inside and just let them be together. He did fine, apparently it's the food he likes, not me :). After the morning walk he got recrated for about an hour and a half while we ate and got ready to go to Rochester for some shopping. Finster did great in his crate on both the ride up and back, and in the car alone. When we got home we played from around 6-7 both indoors and out. Then he got crated for dinner and took a nap. He got back out around 8 to play inside. Stupid me, I started playing with him before I took him out to pee. He had an accident before I could get to the little guy after about 2 minutes of playing. Finster got crated again and then I took him back out around 10 and read a book with him on my lap until bedtime. He is so cuddly :) Today we practiced sit/stays a bit more. He can handle about 30 seconds of stay if I'm standing right in front of him. He also nailed a few sit/stays where I take 1 step back and hold for 1 second. The step back usual pulls him up though, but he got it like 4-5 times.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Day 6: Side Job (Saturday)
Got up at 6 for pee, re-crated. Got up at 8 for morning play/training/walking/peeing. In this morning session I did some come, sits, loose leash and some more sit/stays. He can stay for 10 seconds with me standing in front of him. I haven't tried any distance yet. At around 9am he and I gathered up the recycling and took them to the recycling depot, he loved helping me with the plastic and cardboard! After this trip he got re-crated while I got ready for another big day. At 1130 we took off for Rochester to go to petsmart, he stayed in the car (sleeping) while I went in alone (he doesn't have his shots yet). After 20 min I came out and he was just waking up. Then for the side job. I do some professional photography on the side and wanted a companion while on the job, Finster fits this role perfectly. On my first building that I was to shoot Finster was sleeping in his crate, so I just left him and went to shoot for 30 minutes. When I got back he was sitting patiently for me to return. Then we went to the next building. I took him out on his leash to see if I could work with him. I was just shooting tripod-less but all went pretty well. He followed dutifully and didn't tug on the leash at all. He did sit/stays for 10 seconds whenever I needed to take a shot and everyone was happy. He got food and I got to work. Hurray, I have a work buddy! He did get upset at one point when some Asian guy walked by with out petting him or playing with him, it was the first time that had ever happened to him, poor guy, he tried to chase him down, but couldn't get past the length of the leash. Then we went for a 45 minute drive to Batavia where he did great, no barks. For the car ride I generally give him one kernel every 2-3 miles or so if he is not doing anything. He tends to just stare at the back of my head waiting for his next kernel. No barks! In Batavia he slept for the 30 minutes I was out of the car. When we got home I crated him and he slept until 7pm when some friends came over to play (and brought some new toys). He played pretty hard for an hour or so of which I caught him about to squat to pee, and evacuated him twice. He managed to get in one accident before I could get to him. He seems to pee after about 20 minutes of playing. Then he got crated while we ate dinner. Then took another pee break at around 10 and then crated/slept until we went to bed at 1am. While he was crated with friends here he didn't bark once! Woot! One problem he is having is that he gets excited and jumps all over strangers, this is not good and I have to figure out how to break him of it.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Day 1: Saying goodbye to Momma
We got Finster on Jan 2nd 2006 in Bruceton Mills WV, where he was born on October 31st. His first 5 hours with us was spent in a crate riding in the car to NY. He did great. No accidents! We stopped many times to let him pee. We also had no food for the poor thing until we got home. When we got him home we took him to his new house in the basement. We let him play around down there, and pee all over, probably 7-8 times, egads. At this point we were ready to ship him back to WV. He wasn't crate trained yet so he didn't take to that very well. He whined and barked continuously. We took him out a bunch to pee and play. At bed time I put him in his crate and laid down in the basement with him on a carpet remnant. When he fell asleep I went upstairs to bed. I got up every 2 hours to check on him and take him pee outside. So, the first night I got maybe an hour of sleep due to both the dog, and my nagging cough and strep throat.

Day 2: Loose leash training
I took 3 days off from work to train this dog so that I could take him to work with me. My goal was to have him in the crate for a good portion of the day, and he had to be quiet, no barking. I've read 3 books, [1.) Complete Idiot's Guide to Positive Dog Training 2.) Your Lab's Life 3.) The Art of Raising a Puppy] about training dogs, so I was anxious to try them out. The book that had the biggest impression on me was "idiots guide to positive dog training" It teaches clicker training and only positive reinforcement. No hitting, yelling, slapping, it even goes as far as never tell your puppy "no". I used this as my main guide throughout my first 3 days of solid training. I also used portions of the other 2 books. Clicker training in summary is to click, with some clicker toy every time the dog does something you perceive as good; like going pee outside, sitting, heeling, coming.. everything. The click allows you to mark the exact moment that he does what you like. After the click you treat him. This was my first day with the little stinker and man it was stressful. I got up early, 3am and took him for a walk to pee, re-crated him and laid with him until he went to sleep, then snuck up to bed. I woke again at 7am to take him out again and feed him. With the idiots guide book they recommend feeding through clicking, so Finster gets no free meals, he has to work for all of his food. He is hand fed throughout the day. He usually goes out for 45 minute play/training sessions at breakfast, lunch and dinner where most of his "treat" dog food is distributed. I like this method as it serves a few purposes. 1.) I get to treat him with cheap treats 2.) I hand feed him everything, which should make him deal with people touching his food 3.) he doesn't eat his meals in 3 seconds like most puppies, which is probably better for their digestion. So, back to day 2. It was rough because I would take Finster out of his crate and then immediately outside to go. Then I would play with him a while and then bring him in and play a bit inside. This was my downfall. I figured after being outside for 30 minutes and peeing 7 times he would be empty, but no. I would bring him in and play with him and in 2 minutes he would pee on the floor. This prompted me to pick him up and take him right back outside (no scolding). I did this pretty much all day, and was very frustrated by the end of the day. I was also doing some crate training with him this first day. I would throw treats and toys and such into his crate and he would go in and grab them at which point I would shut the door on him, leave him in there for a few seconds and then take him out. This worked well but he still wasn't very comfortable being in there for long periods of time. He would whine and bark when left in there. This had to be done because my deadline was looming. When my wife got home we played with him a bit more in the basement and cleaned up a few more mistakes. To curb the barking in the crate I started trying my own home brewed positive training. Finster was decent if I stayed with him when he was in the crate, he did bark some though. So my idea was to leave the room when he barked knowing that he likes my companionship. I wouldn't return to the basement until he stopped barking for at least 30 seconds. I practiced this also for a portion of the day. That night while practicing this method Finster barked so I went upstairs for a while, he continued to bark and I stayed upstairs. At one point I looked down the stairs and saw that he was pooping in his crate, so I rushed him outside and brought the poop with me. This is when I abandoned this approach. Maybe I should have stuck with it, but he didn't seem to be learning very fast, and I needed quick results. Posted by Picasa

Day 3: Photogenic?
Woke up at 4am for 10 min walk and pee, and 8am for his breakfast session. This day I tried a different routine (Thanks mom for the advice) which was much better for me. I took Finster out at 8am for 30-45min, then crated him immediately. I stayed with him and if he barked I simply gave him a stern "No". This worked much better for the barking. Only twice did he bark again after I said no, at which point I squirted him with a little water which got his attention. I also taught him both sit and come by this day. The sit came really easy, actually I don't even remember training it, it just sorta happened. I also trained him to sit when I came to a complete stop. Off-handedly I was teaching him loose leash walking, without a leash, by the end of the day I added a leash and just let him walk around with it on, without me holding it. To do this I just walked around the yard feeding him a kernel of dog food every 10 steps or so, and when I stopped if he sat he got clicked and treated heavily (4-5 kernels). Comes were also very heavily treated, maybe 10 kernels and lots of love if he came. To do this I just started running, he would run after me. After I got about 20 yards ahead of him I would stop and say come, then when he got to me I would click and treat about 10 kernels and pet and love him. I do this about 2-3 times per 30-45 min walk. I also worked on his crate training some more. I started leaving the basement when he was in his crate. I started off by leaving for 30 seconds, if he didn't bark I ran back down to the basement and treated him and praised him. Then to 45 seconds, then a minute... I worked my way up to 3 minutes this way. Posted by Picasa

Day 4 - Finster Playing tug
Final Training day before the big test. Today I worked on lot on Finster being quiet in his crate. I was continuously leaving the room and sitting with him while he was in his crate. He spent a lot of hours in there on this day with me both in the room and out. I simulated an actual work day, I got up at 4am and let him pee, and then right back in his crate. Then at 7am I got up and ran him for 30 minutes and did the usual training; come, loose leash, and sits. Then I crated him and got ready for "work". At 8 I put him in the car in his crate and drove for 30 minutes round trip back home. Then I took him for a quick walk to pee, and then crated him again. He stayed in his crate with me sitting by his side (like at work) until 1030am, sleeping for a while. At 10:30 I took him for a quick 15 min walk to pee, and then right back in the crate. He whined a little and barked once or twice but not bad. He took another small nap which brought us to 12, lunch time. At noon I took him for another 45min walk, run, training session practicing sits, come, loose leash walking with and without a leash. After lunch he went back to his crate until 3pm. Each time he goes to his crate I refill his kong with dog food (about 10 kernels) and his rawhide stocking (5 kernels). He gladly goes to his crate now when he hears me rattle the kong. At this point he can get the food out of the kong in about 5 seconds. It takes him a bit longer to get them out of his stocking. At 3 he got another 15 minute pee walk, and then re-crated until 530pm. At 530 he got another 45 min walk, training and playing session. He did very well, and only barked in his crate a few times which stopped when I said "No". After the 600 walk he came back in and got crated while I ate dinner. He also slept until 8 at which point I took him out again for a little 20 minute run/pee/training session. After this we brought him in the basement and played with him inside for about 15 minutes. While inside if he isn't in his crate I keep my boots and jacket on in preparation for an emergency departure. When he loses interest in playing and starts sniffing I go in for the swoop and take him right outside. This usually happens after about 15 minutes of rough playing. He plays much harder in the house. I think he likes the confinement, outside is still too big for him to grasp. He also enjoys running up and down the deck steps, and the little ramp going up the steps that I put there for him. All in all, a very good day, he did well during the simulation and only barked a few times. Posted by Picasa

Day 5: Finster's first Bath
First day at work.Woke up at 330am for a quick pee, 10 minutes and recrate him and back to bed. Woke up at 645am to start the day. I tried a different approach today. Instead of taking him outside first I ate breakfast and got ready for work, then took him out for his 30 minute pee/run/training session, which was much better for me. After this session I put him right in the car and drove to work. He did great in the car, only 1 bark, which got a "No". When I got to work I carried him into my office while he was in the crate, I can't afford any accidents at work. Put him in my office and sat down to start my day. Finster immediately fell asleep, so he was obviously comfortable in his new office, or felt secure in his crate. He slept straight through to noon somehow. He has never done this before. Everyone from the office came in and met him as he slept :) At 1210 he woke up and I took him outside for an hour run/walk/play with co-workers. About 5 people came out with me to play with him, he loved it. He also peed, and I found a good place for him to pooh. We did some loose leash walking to show off his skills and he did great. We also played some with his tennis ball and plastic dish. After lunch he went back into his crate, but didn't sleep at all, go figure. He ended up barking once, of course while the boss was in the next office. I took him out again at 3pm to go pee for about 15 minutes. I carried him back in and re-crated him with his usual filled kong and stocking. Then another co-worker came over and wanted to play, so I took him back outside for another 10 min. play/walk/pee session. Then back to the crate. Finster barked another random time between 330 and 530 when I left. He took a 30 minute nap and pretty much sat there and stared at the back of my head the rest of the time. Overall, the first day was a HUGE success. I got work done, and he was quiet 99% of the time. I took him home and played/walked/trained from 6-645, I started training Sit/Stays, then he got crated while I ate dinner, for some reason he wasn't happy about this crating. He barked himself to sleep after about 20 minutes, which got ignored. Perhaps because he spend all day by my side. He got back out of his crate at around 8 for more playing/training/walking. Then back to his crate from 9-10, then outside for peeing for a few minutes. When he came back in we played inside with him for about 20 minutes and then he got his first bath, which he loved because he is a lab, and because there was endless amounts of water for him to drink. Then he went back to his crate. I took him out one last time at midnight before I went to bed.

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