Friday, April 30, 2010

What's in a name?

For everyone who's not interested in dogs and/or training--sorry.  You can skip this if  you want.  I am going to try to keep a journal of puppy training for a couple of reasons--for fun, to keep myself focused and for future reference.

Our puppy's name Beauregard.  This literally means 'beautiful gaze'  or 'beautiful to look at' in French.  We call him Beau around the house but the kids are very particular to tell people that his name is Beauregard. I am wondering if we should register him with one of those fancy registration names like Beauregard of the Idaho valley or something elegant like that.  I don't know. 

Funny how the simplest things make me so happy...

Beau asked to go outside by whining at the door for the first time.  woohoo!

We still have potty training accidents but it is getting better both because he holds it well and we know when he needs to go out better.  I should have bought the gallon sized pet cleaner solution. 

Beau has been sleeping through the night on the floor of our bedroom.  I know-I know--so much for the 'just for tonight' short term solution to the puppy sleep training.  We have all seen Lady and the Tramp right? 

But he never even asks to get up on the bed and he has never had an accident in our room and he immediately lays right down.  So I'm not complaining.  Molly never slept through the night.  I'm not kidding.  Until we got a dog door when she was 18 months old I got up EVERY SINGLE night and let her out to the bathroom.  I didn't even get up with my babies that long...  But trying to avoid a screaming puppy or pee on the floor is quite motivating.

Speaking of dog doors--I have plans to put a dog door in the family room this weekend.  

I hesitate to even write this because I don't want to jinx anything but... we don't have our yard completely fenced in and Beau has never ventured away.  Did you hear that!?  When I was trying to train the beagle (Molly) to stay home I remember watching a family carry groceries in with their dog just trotting along beside them and seriously feeling my eye tear up with jealousy.  I know we are still in the puppy phase but we have never experienced such a miracle.  A dog that stays home!

Working the training levels:

All training is done with feedings.  We don't just give the dog any of his food.  He has to earn it.  The first day I waited for Beau to sit from being tired of trying to get food from my hand.  I just clicked when his butt hit the flour.  Bingo.  He got that the first day. 

Once he was offering sits continually, I started moving his treats so he would stand up to get them then I started adding the 'Sit' cue just as his butt hit the floor.  We did about 100 repetitions of that.  Very quickly. And then I started saying the cue 'sit' just before he sat.  We did that for the next day and now he is responding to the sit cue in all areas of the house from me or Rustin or the kids.  We haven't tried it outside and we haven't added any other behaviors yet--which is the tricky part. 

We are working on target (my hand) for a treat but haven't really added the cue.  I just started to try to get some downs this morning but it's hard when he's starving.  I used Sue Ailsby's method of putting the treat back and just in front  of his paws.  At first he kept standing up to try to get the treat and I realized that I needed to keep the tread closer to his body on the floor so he would fold in.  Bingo.  But that was luring.  Still need to get him to realize that laying down in the trick.  That's the trouble with luring.  I will try to capture some downs when he offers them when I'm not feeling too lazy. 

Today Benson sat on the floor with a bowl of food and Beau started to mug him for just a second and then he quickly backed up and politely planted his bottom and Benson started dolling out the food. Beau was very polite after that.  This is great because a wrestling session  yesterday ended up with a deep scratch on Benson's ear.  Seriously ouch.  I spent some time having Benson practice being in charge. 

I have a million questions and worries but Rustin reminds me that like Rome, good family dogs aren't built in a day. 

1 comment:

Emily said...

YOu guys are going to have the best dog! I can't wait to meet him! We love our dog door by the way. go for it.