Gracie 13wks, with video!

She must be one special puppy as Vito has secretly given her his paw of approval.  He lets her cuddle with him without doing too much grumbling in protest.  And he has even played with her a few times at work.  In his awkward, creepy looking way of course.

Applause is also needed for Gracie passing the level one test at the service dog school.  I believe Bubba was close to 5 months before he could manage the 30second stay and Gracie can almost double that time.  Such an easy puppy!  A sit and down for another person was difficult for her at first as she really cared where I was going.  This is newly developing these last 2 weeks so I need to work on handing her off more!

Gracie is starting to become more spunky this week!  A little more vocal in her playing, more crazy with her tugging, and she also had fun dragging the full water dish across the living room.  She's very full of herself.

This week's learning:
1. Perch work- No luring needed!  Working on maintaining position through pivots.  She's also started to offer position without a perch and pivoting pretty nicely without the perch.

2. Shaped retrieves- I decided to skip my plan B and cheated by taking the easy route.  Since Gracie transitions nicely between food rewards and tugging on a toy, I knew she would have no problem biting one of her toys.  Some very minor steps in getting her to bite it for a click and cookie treat vs tugging with it, but I'm now starting to very the object presented and tried our very first non-toy object today.

3. Stays- Doing very well!  I'm starting to add in my movement to the side of her in hopes that next week I can walk around behind without her moving her feet to face me.  I also added in the concept of staying under a chair this week.

4. Go mat- apparently we need to revisit this more.  She kinda lost criteria on downing as soon as she gets there, or that she needs to actually be on the mat in her down.

5. Other behaviors- Many more behaviors are getting on verbal onlys.  When she's thinking we have mastered sit, down, spin right, weave through my legs, and sometimes rollover.

Almost 14wks and only 17.5lbs.  I'm thinking she might be one of our teacup labradors like Fiona turned out; pocked sized!

Karissa  – ( March 13, 2013 at 1:38 PM )  

What a wonderfully brilliant puppy! Gracie is adorable and looks like such a good girl!

Muttsandaklutz  – ( March 13, 2013 at 8:35 PM )  

She is flippin' adorable! What a happy and smart pup. She already knows way more tricks than my three do all put together!

Got any tips for training a sit-stay or down-stay? Would love to hear what approach you're using.

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( March 13, 2013 at 10:05 PM )  

Ha, you ask about stays when the previous post is about how Lance has only a 50% q rate in open due to lying down on his out of sight sit!

Pretty standard approach for stays;
I basically just increase time between treats, but with slightly random spacing so the does doesn't know when the next treat is coming. Once I get to 15sec between treats I start adding in my movement. In the beginning I do many short stays with releases rather than long ones as I really want the dog getting the release word means move.
The only thing real different that I do that not everyone does is that I start teaching "stays" using the crate with the door open as I find it much easier for the dog to understand. Then the mat, then finally just sitting there. At each new step of duration, distractions, distance, I go back to the crate for the introduction, then the mat.

andrea  – ( March 16, 2013 at 10:16 AM )  

what a joyful puppy :D
makes me GRIN :D

Muttsandaklutz  – ( March 16, 2013 at 3:56 PM )  

Well you are still amazing at teaching your dogs and foster dogs all kinds of things so I had to ask about your approch on stays :-)

Couple more questions if you don't mind...

Do/will you have a "stay" cue, or is the stay behaviour assumed as part of a sit/down cue, i.e. the dog should sit/down until released or until given another cue?

Do you reward while the dog is in the stay position, or do you reward only the release (I've seen some schools of thought where the release is the reward and that's what gets them the treat)? If you reward while the dog is in the stay position, do you continue "asking" for the stay behaviour after rewarding, or do you release and then start a fresh new stay after each treat? Do you use a clicker at all as part of stay training and if so, when do you click and is the dog allowed/expected to break the stay after the click?

Sorry for all the questions, just curious to hear what your approach is as I'm working on stays with my new guy :)

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( March 16, 2013 at 7:01 PM )  

I reward during the stays, a random increasing time between treats. The dogs already know to remain in position for a treat since I do reverse luring games before starting actual stays. I don't use a clicker because for my dogs a click is a release. For beginner dogs I do calmly praise during the stay and for the first few lessons I might occasionally and quietly re-cue the word/signal for stay just so they learn it. If the dog wasn't getting up on my release cue I go back and train that with the crate/mat and then might click when the dog actually moves on my release word. Otherwise my release is boring.

If I was a better trainer I wouldn't use a word for stay as sit/down/stand would mean to remain in position until release. But I fear asking my dogs to do it and then forgetting that also meant "stay." Therefore if I just tell my dog's sit/down it really means do it for at least 5seconds unless I add a stay cue. The exception if Lance's long sit where I give a stay hand signal but repeat the cue to sit when I leave him. That helped at one point...

Muttsandaklutz  – ( March 16, 2013 at 9:21 PM )  

Cool! Thanks for sharing those details. It all makes sense to me!

Honey the Great Dane  – ( March 16, 2013 at 11:04 PM )  

Hi Lance & Vito,

Long time no woof!! We’re finally getting settled in our new home in Perth and so I’m FINALLY getting a chance to catch up with my blog friends!

Wow, you've got a new puppy-in-training! She is adorable - and so clever already.

Honey the Great Dane

Kim  – ( March 17, 2013 at 7:56 PM )  

Just catching up...

Gracie is growing up fast!

You have such an awesome job, and clearly you are really good at it :)

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