The adventures of SD Juno and SDIT Kaline (and their human, Colt).

04 September 2012

Kaline learns "close" and other fun things

Milestone for Kaline tonight! I finally got around to actually working on "close" with him (as in close the door) and he picked it up super quickly. That's now on my list to video, along with his old-man jaw-tremblers. Don't get your hopes up too much though, cause on my list doesn't necessarily mean it'll actually happen. I have crappy short term memory in my brain, and almost no memory left in my stuffed iPhone.

Kaline has the "touch" command down pat, so we just did a few repetitions of that to start. Then I took an orange Post-It note and put it in my palm. We did touch with that, and then I stuck the note on a cabinet door. Our kitchen is, um, elderly, so the cabinets are varying degrees of easy to open. Some don't really stick (bad magnets?) so I can open them without doggy assistance; others stick way too well and those I need Juno to open. So for tonight, obviously we chose an easy door.

Kaline has been watching Juno do cabinets since he was nine weeks old, and sometimes if they don't close the first time, Juno will use her paw to slam them shut. Therefore, our first order of business was reinforcing to Kaline that he should only use his nose to touch the door, not his paws. He's going to be a really big dog, so I really don't want him using his paws for things where his nose will work just as well or better. Gentler and less likely to cause any damage.

The clicker, as usual, really sped the learning process along. First he got c/t'd for just touching the door, and I'd jackpot him if he actually got it closed. Soon he was hovering over the door, and every time I opened it he'd immediately push it closed. He was so cute. He got pretty consistent at that door, and just for giggles I switched to another door (generalization). He picked it up really fast on that one. We kept the session really short (10 minutes, tops) and he really enjoyed it. During the session with him, Juno was on the mat in the kitchen, practicing honoring. Every time Kaline successfully closed a door, Juno got a treat for staying in her down. Something she did not do today at training!

I got to work my dogs a lot at the park because we didn't have that many client dogs today. Juno was excellent and just great fun except for doing down stays. Possibly because she's so damn cute when she gets up—she either beelines to me or goes to the nearest trainer and just leans into you, tail waving and eyes huge and sad and pleading. And everyone gives in ... Yeah, wonder what behavior is getting reinforced! At the end, when I was taking The Blondes to the car (two poodle mixes and a Golden), Juno was supposed to be staying; but when I closed the car door, there came Juno, slinking toward me from behind the nearest car. She's stealthy and adorable, that one.

Kaline got to work on retrieving, plus his usual obedience stuff. Trying to get him to hold the object while he sits is proving difficult, but it was difficult with Juno too. He'll go get it, bring it back, give it up, and also walk while holding it. We're doing okay for nineteen weeks! We worked a lot on heeling (the real kind), which was a little inconsistent. He actually did really well though starting on moving backwards with me, and also doing left-hand turns in place (which requires him to back himself into the heel position). He did great on his stays. We had to take it back a couple steps on the recalls. He's starting to do drive-bys to the right if I call him from six feet, so we just did really short recalls so he could be successful. We'll have to build back up.

Juno was so much fun. We did formal retrieving—Juno had to remain in a stay at my side while I threw the bumper, then wait for my command to go get it; after picking it up, she had to come sit directly in front of me, out the bumper, then do a flip finish. Despite this being "formal," Juno clearly enjoyed herself. And she didn't have any hiccups. We also did finding heel, straight recalls, and drops on recall. It is just so nice to be able to take a break from puppy stuff, and go recharge working with a dog who really knows what she's doing. Kinda gives me a little more confidence whenever I feel like I've hit a wall with Kaline too. Juno started far later than he's starting (eighteen months vs. nine weeks) and from a much worse place. And I think she's turned out pretty darn well!


  1. Yay Kaline! I'm happy to hear you talking about this, as closing doors is something I want to teach Elka.

    Also neat to have you call what Juno is doing "honoring"; I've heard the term as referred to hunting dogs when one dog is doing the point or retrieve or whatever, and the others are not. It's a great term, and good to see it generalized ^^

  2. Close isn't too hard ... Open is the really tough one!! At least it was for Juno. Freddie, the experienced trainer we work with, trains gun dogs, so that's where my use of honoring comes from. :) And that's why Juno gets bumpers, heehee. She even worked on retrieving and holding a semi-realistic fake duck called a dokken!