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Friday, June 19, 2009

Making Progress

Before today's walk with Michelle, our Puppy Program Manager & training guru, Dakota had to get a nice grooming. We comb out every-
trim hair between pads...

do his nails...

..and of course his whiskers. What a pampered life! Now we're ready to go.

We meet at Petco. Dakota notices all the adoption dogs out front and is moderately excited. Then he notices...ZEKE! Tracy Schagen and her guide dog in training, Zeke, are meeting us too.

This is almost too much for Duckie to handle. He wants to play so bad! He KNOWS he can't play with the other dogs, but Zeke is his buddy!

After a couple corrections I thought we were calm enough to circle back around and come a bit closer. Oops, not so fast!

Duckie made a quick left turn and flying leap. Not quite what we're supposed to look like, is it?

We have a little heart-to-heart and work on attention. Like most of puppy raising, this takes time. Lots of time! Slowly, we move forward.

...It takes a while, but look what we achieved! Two calm dogs, relaxed, right next to each other without any whining or silly behavior.

Time for a little distraction work. Tracy does her best to get the puppies excited...they're interested of course, but are learning self-control. It's so important for these dogs to learn to focus and ignore tempting distractions in harness. Someday all too soon, someone's safety will depend on it! Both Zeke and Dakota are eager to please so that helps.

Now for the walk-by. Do you think Dakota can walk by Zeke calmly on a loose lead without trying to lunge at him, lick, bark or whine?

Way to go! Dakota, we knew you could do it!

My homework assignment is to keep my commands and interventions to an absolute minimum so that Dakota is making the choice to do the right thing on his own. It's great to see him starting to grow up and, hopefully, take responsibility for his work!

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