Saturday, January 07, 2006

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


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