Puppy walking

An adventure in looking after a puppy until it is old enough to be properly trained as a guide dog for the blind.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Rockwell dropped his bone suddenly and ran to the back door. He was sitting obviously watching something. Then I saw his hackles go up so I went to see for myself and it was a CAT! Imagine that.

So there he was at the back door and I decided to do a lesson of "come". It was just for reinforcement, not to put him in the crate or anything.  Well he wouldn't.  He obviously thought something not fun would happen so I sat on the floor for about 10 minutes, coaxing him over and having him keep away.  I finally convinced him by gradually touching him a little (not grabbing him) each time he got close and finally petting him more and more and then holding him around the chest.  He finally lay on his  back and submitted to my tender embrace. Sort of.
submissiveness, sort of
But I think we will go through this again and again until he learns "come" is not for stuffing him in the crate or clipping toenails or something.  It's amazing how they will fixate on some one thing and then forever after, "come here" means something negative.  I have my work cut out for me.

12 Comments:

At 11:33 AM, January 20, 2006, Blogger Katherine said...

Wow, you have a lot of patience. That must be why I can only get Sampson to come when he thinks I have food for him. ha ha

 
At 11:42 AM, January 20, 2006, Blogger Furkids In Hong Kong said...

What clean teeth you have Rockwell!

To come eventually even after seeing a cat is quite an accomplishment - wtg.

Later!
Cream

 
At 12:27 PM, January 20, 2006, Blogger gwiz said...

I never use "come" when I clip nails, or will be placing the dog in the crate. I wait until they are relaxing and go to them for nail clipping. "Kennel" is the command I use for going into the crate. I use different commands so that they don't think something negative always happens when I call them to me. Maybe you could try different commands for those not so pleasant times to get Rockwell to respond better to "come"?

 
At 2:34 PM, January 20, 2006, Blogger JuliaR said...

Katherine, I suppose I have patience sometimes. But it was my impatience that caused the problem in the first place so now it is mine to fix.

Cream, thanks for the compliment on the teeth! I think it is because they are still so new. :)

Gwiz, even though I know the commands have to have a reward, “come” is such a word that you can’t help but use it when you aren’t thinking. And when I first started with him, I said “come” and then put him in his crate. Of course, I know it was a mistake now (and maybe even then) so that is why I am making the effort to change it. More on that in the next post.

 
At 3:09 PM, January 20, 2006, Blogger Joan said...

Great pictures, Julia. Rockwell is gorgeous.

My guys, but especially Elsie, love to roll over on their backs for tummy rubs.

And yes, the command thing is confusing; it takes great patience and diligence.

Hang in there!

Joan (Baxter, Elsie, and Ridge's Mom from Labtails; and yes, it's good to be back!)

 
At 4:05 PM, January 20, 2006, Blogger Amy and Winter said...

I agree with Gwiz that "COME" should NOT be asociated with the crate, nail clipping or ANYTHING else unpleasant. It may be hard to remember not to use it but it could end up SAVING your dogs life. If a dog learn no other command in its life, it should still know come. I would be practicing as much as you are or more, everyday. Use 2 pockets full of treats if you have to and even if the dog has just done something bad, if you call come and he does...all else should be forgotten and he should get a reward. Come needs to be the happiest word in his vocabulary...right up there with "dinner". Here's a possible sinario: Rockwell gets out the front door and takes off into the road (it doesn't matter if your road has no traffic since this is hypethetical)you can see cars aprouchinig from both directions...You call "COME" and Rockwell SHOULD turn on his heels and run for you, recieving a big reward. His possible 10 second delay DECIDING whether or not to come to you...could cost him his life. This post wasn't to stress you out, but to show you the gravity of the word. Also, once he graduates as a guide dog, he is DEFINATELY not going to be able to decided when he wants to come. If his client wants to go outside, he will need to come straight away and go into his harness. A handler is not going to be able to go get him for that.

Buhbye, Amy and Winter (Good luck with the command and keep up the good work so far with your hansome boy. We only wish the best for him (and you).)

 
At 4:18 PM, January 20, 2006, Blogger JuliaR said...

Thanks Joan, I’m afraid I don’t have aything to do with Rockwell’s good looks! He doesn’t get them from me. :)

Thanks Amy, I DO know how important the command “come” is, that’s why I’m blogging about it. Now I walk around with more kibbles in my pockets than poop bags! And I always have lots of those. We’ll get it eventually.

 
At 5:10 PM, January 20, 2006, Blogger David said...

Julia, there are a lot of people who have acquired several years of experience raising service dog puppies, offering you sound advice. There is one common point we have all had to learn and that is, a problem with the puppy has to be corrected and solved immediately or the problem will intensify.

It can be an overwhelming responsibility to raise a Service Dog Puppy and I for one have never been too proud to accept advice or constructive criticism. Someone is desperately waiting for a service dog to gain his or her independence and that is far more important than my personnel feelings.

It is heartbreaking when these puppies are recalled and leave us, and it is the most wonderful feeling in the world when we attend their graduation and it is devastating when the are disqualified other than for health reasons.

David, Nancy and the Gang

 
At 9:43 PM, January 20, 2006, Blogger David said...

Julia, I am a bit surprised but I certainly don’t mind that you chose to answer my previous comments on my blog site.

You wrote an article just above the Oct 15th article, which I feel, has pretty much stated how you feel about receiving advice, where you say and I quote.

“I have been debating whether to blog what’s coming and on the weekend, I sent an email about it to this group I belong to - as diverse a bunch as you’ve ever seen. It seemed that my story triggered the urge to give advice on my “dilemma” and while it was nice that they felt they could give me advice, I didn’t really need it. So now I’ll write about it as if I don’t need advice - I hope.” You then go on to write your article about Rockwell’s Devil Dog behaviour.

If you weren’t raising a service dog I wouldn’t comment because it simply wouldn’t be any of my business. However, just like you I have the property (a puppy) of a Service Dog Organization that I am responsible to properly raise. If I couldn’t effectively raise Keelin, I would return her to the Service Dog Organization that she belongs to.

You choose to blog about raising Rockwell and go into great detail about his behaviour and how you handle it. I have told myself a hundred times over to just stop reading your blog and ignor what is going on but in all clear conscience I know that I had to say something to you. I speak for myself and and the clients who are on very long waiting lists.

There are many who read your blog that have several years of experience that would be all too happy to assist you if you wanted. It will come in the form of advise, a discription of a problem that they have or are experiencing and how they are correcting the problem or situation. It is simply up to you to decide if you want to raise a service dog candidate or a future pet.

David, Nancy and the Gang

 
At 11:11 PM, January 20, 2006, Blogger JuliaR said...

David, I do appreciate advice and it is certainly my goal to raise a good guide dog. The thing is, I have the Guide Dog organization available to give me the advice they think I should have and if in any doubt, I follow their advice to the letter. I would be remiss if I started to take the advice of people who are not ultimately responsible for Rockwell and his best interests. Perhaps it is the nature of a blog that not all the story is told. While I try to blog in detail about the interesting (or what I think will be interesting) bits, I certainly don’t write about everything that happens - I’d never get out of the house. Maybe I should only blog about all the positive things that happen but I figured I would try to tell a rounded story. The folks who own Rockwell and who are responsible for him visit very regularly and they have advice to give me and we talk at length about his progress. I think we are doing okay.

 
At 3:55 PM, January 21, 2006, Blogger IndyPindy said...

Julia,

I think you are exactly right - you have the Guide Dog oranization to talk to, and it's best to get advice from people who actually SEE Rockwell on a regular basis. You're doing fine. My mom says she has learned so much about dog training that if she had to raise me again she would do some things differently because she knows better now. We all learn as we go. You're doing great.

My mom said that picture of Rockwell upside down with his mouth open might be her all time favorite!

 
At 6:01 PM, January 21, 2006, Blogger JuliaR said...

Thank you Indy Pindy, and your Mom. On a lighter note, that photo has already had 35 views on Flickr so other people seem to like it too!

 

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