Gracie 6 months- Video!

Video from a few weeks ago.  

Oh Gracie.  Easiest puppy ever has turned into the naughtiest teenager ever.  I suppose I shouldn't be surprised!  She turned 6 months old yesterday and our Pocket Lab is 33 lbs.

In reality she's really not all that naughty at home.  Easily self entertains with toys and is thrilled to be given access to the toy box once again (it was up for a month due to all of Vito's teeth removals).  Most of her puppy naughtiness is saved for public work.  Everybody must be her friend and must be launched on!  Recall?  Just wait a few seconds Mamma till I'm done playing!    And she apparently only remembers this thing called loose leash walking when food appears.  Oh puppies!

She did manage to squeak by and pass the level 3 test at puppy raiser class.  Things tested included verbal only commands for heel and side, verbal only sit/down/stand transitions, a basic retrieve, light tugs, being sent to visit another person, and walking skills.  The squeaking by occurred on our walking as Gracie was suddenly enamored with the cones on the ground and felt they must be retrieved!

Things we're working on besides remembering her manners:
1. Distance control- Sit/down/stand transitions at a distance.  Adding motion in with cookie toss downs.   Yesterday it apparently was cookie toss sits as she never heard of the verbal called down before.

2. Hold- Going very well on the dumbbell.  Adding in continuing to hold as my hand moves now and soon will start working with other objects.

3. Fronts- Gracie definitely understands my criteria of nose targets between my legs although she doesn't always get the verbal only.  Recently she's started a lovable jump and punch me between the legs.  I'm sure the guys will love that if she goes to prison some day!

4.  Heel and Side- Making sure her understanding of positions continue when I'm sitting.  Sometimes she gets confused and wants to visit my lap so thus is crooked.  She's doing really nice pivoting work with me in a swivel chair though.

4. Tricks- Started to teach her some new tricks.  Crossed paws and drumming are currently in the works.

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( June 7, 2013 at 12:41 PM )  

Me too! It is going to remain my favorite way to retrain the adult dogs who simply have zero concept of stand and think it means to walk.

But I don't know if I'll train it with another puppy. Big positive is it's fun!!! Negative is that it's harder to get precision. As you can see Gracie's still working on doing it from heel position without her butt swinging out. And of course it took quite a bit more work to teach that the sticking the landing is the rewarding part, not the actual leap. We'll see what I decide with the next dog, maybe there will be another cool method to try :)

Karissa  – ( June 7, 2013 at 7:15 PM )  

Wonderful video -- She is such a brilliant puppy!

I'm late to the party -- What is the end goal for Gracie? Or is that decided once she's older and shows you what she's best at?

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( June 7, 2013 at 8:43 PM )  

Typically puppy raisers have the dog until they come in for final training around 16-20 months of age. At that time, my actual job position is working with the dogs "in for training" and deciding what they do best.

Gracie is slightly different as she was donated by a breeder to be a potential breeding girl for us. We've used dogs from this breeder in the past and they've all made it. Gracie is just much smaller than she was supposed to be! But in reality her size doesn't fully eliminate her as small is nice for most of the service dogs as they fit places easily in public!
We will likely decide if she's going to be kept as a breeding girl around 12 months when we get a better idea of her personality and do preliminary xrays and eye checks. At that point I'll either send her on to a family who actually wants to be a breeder host (no permanent labs for me!) or I'll keep on as her puppy raiser if she's deemed not to be a potential breeding girl but still kept in the program for service work.

Dexter  – ( June 8, 2013 at 6:24 AM )  

I love the way her tail never stops during training. She has such a large behavior vocabulary already! She's going to be a top notch service dog.

Mango Momma

Kathie R  – ( June 8, 2013 at 5:24 PM )  

You do an awesome job at training puppies! Now that I have a new pup, I'm going back and reading your 'helpful posts' - hoping I can pick up some tips. I'm focusing on shaping and clicker training this time around - and having a ball : )

Laura, Lance, and Vito  – ( June 8, 2013 at 7:08 PM )  

Do you have a blog for this new puppy?! Puppies are a lot of fun. As long as I'm teaching my puppies the concept of shaping/offering behaviors I don't really care what they learn. With that comes natural offered attention/focus, body awareness, problem solving skills, and a great joy for working.

Kathie R  – ( June 9, 2013 at 9:38 AM )  

Laura, Haven't made the commitment to another blog yet - may think about that : )

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