Sunday, August 17, 2008

Day 12 of 30DR

P dog seems to be barking more than she did the first week of the 30DR. This might mean she's not getting enough exercise. Or that she's more comfortable with the at-home logistics (she was unusually quiet the first week). I dunno.

Today we continued to pretty much stick to the 30DR. I might have missed a "settle" here or there. The thing about the settles is that the dogs don't seem to notice them. As I've mentioned before, the dogs are accustomed to sitting at my feet while I read. And of course when we do the settle I pick up a book and read. If we settle late in the evening they just fall asleep. When we settle earlier in the day they often remain awake but just sort of hang out. P might tug a little but not much.

I might need to make the settle into a settle-down (which is the version I was taught a few years ago by another trainer) instead of the settle anywhere (i.e., the leash anchored to my foot but the dog is allowed to adjust her position as she desires). But that seems sort of extreme. I dunno. I might try it with P after the meeting with the trainer this Wed.

* * *

Other stuff: Not much to report, really. That seems like a good thing.

P-dog:

* Is barking an awful lot when I let her be on the side of the house facing the street. I can tell she's barking at other neighborhood dogs that are barking. None of this is directed at B and probably not at me either.

* Was super good tonight when I took her to campus for a big cookout with lots of students and parents. She accepted all sorts of petting--this is pretty normal for her but sometimes she snaps when men lean over her and tonight she did not. I was relieved about that. I realize I need to TRUST MY DOG more than I do. I'm uptight. But I'm hoping to get that trust back.

* Doesn't seem to want to drink or eat if her bowls are in a line of vision with B across the babygate. That's been true throughout the 30DR so far. I tend to rotate between having the bowls near the babygate and around the corner from it, just to see how it goes. But she usually won't eat if the bowl is near the gate.

* Might have had a little episode with me this morning as I was preparing to leave for church. I gave her her kong in her crate then remembered I needed to refill her little water bowl and when I went to the sink she'd taken her kong under the bed and refused to get out. The second time I swept my hand toward her she gave me a warning bark. I responded with a gruff voice. Instead of making it a confrontation I went outside and splashed water in the pool, hoping it would be irresistible to her (she loves to play with the water). She came outside immediately, so I played the splash game as a reward and then led her to her crate peacefully. Does this mean I just rewarded her for her bad behavior beneath the bed? I tried to think it through. I could have squirted her with the water bottle but that would have made her remain beneath the bed. I could have ignored her--either by standing still for as long as it took (missing church) or by leaving the house, which would have enabled her to remain under the bed as long as she wanted. I could have removed the mattress and boxspring and in that way frightened her out from under the bed. But just walking away and starting over seemed like the best route. Maybe my mistake wasn't splashing the water but by then playing the game. Oy.

* * *

B-dog:

* Is now barking also (not all the time, just at this moment), apparently to echo P. I'm sort of OK with that. It's something they can do together. (Am I an idiot?)

* Is still being mild and good around the house. Which is normal for him.

* * *

I:

* Went for my ride today.

* Walked both dogs, doing more training with B on the walk.

* Did the turkey-training thing with both dogs again--still trying to give them positive experiences within eyesight of each other and relatively close to one another (still separated by the gate).

* Did the cream-cheese and cookie in the muzzle thing with both dogs but no muzzle-attachment (again--sigh).

* Am just now noticing that I seem to be doing a little more training with B than with P even though P is the one who probably needs it more.

* Am still feeling tense about keeping the dogs separated--both the logistics of it and the worry that it might make them less likely to be comfortable with one another in the long run.

* Am feeling good, still, about the clicker approach. Part of why I like it is its OCD-fitness. Clicker training involves breaking down desired-behaviors into teeny-tiny steps--some trainers recommend making detailed checklists so you can chart your progress with the dog as you click toward the end goal. In this way it gives the dog-handler lots of positive reinforcement and hope that progress is being made. I need this sort of positive reinforcement. Regardless of how much the dogs need it, I definitely need LOTS of it.

* My state of being overall: tense. I'm trying to notice my own tension and to relieve it through external means (e.g., by riding my bike, walking with a dog) as well as by prayer and breathing/meditation. I need more of the latter.

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