From our trainer, Brenda, who is working with client Noelle. She writes the following:
“We worked on sit/stay/come, and down/stay. I had her start with her SDIT, Hazel, at one end of the house and had her repeat sit, stay, and come commands, while trying to get further away from her and getting her to stay longer. By the time we were done with that, Noelle could get several feet away from Hazel, who would stay until she gave her the come command. We then worked again on getting her to “down” and stay in a “relaxed” pose without bouncing right back up. We praised Hazel with petting and words of encouragement for staying. By the time I left, Hazel was lying down and staying put while we talked. Noelle is going to save a can filled with noisy items to shake to help with getting Hazel’s attention back, and will keep following up with what we were working on.
At our next session, we started off outside taking a walk so I could see how Hazel was heeling with Noelle in and out of her wheelchair. Hazel was pulling her a little and trying to veer off, so I advised Noelle to keep Hazel very close to her and to tell her No Hazel, heel, and pull her back to the correct position. I also had her stop and tell Hazel to sit when she wanted to, which she did well. Hazel was getting distracted easily by many things outside; bugs, leaves falling, shadows moving. When we took a break while Noelle’s mom got her wheelchair, I had Noelle give Hazel the down and stay commands, but Hazel kept jumping right back up and wouldn’t get into a relaxed pose with the distractions, so I thought it best we work on that and getting Hazel to be focused on Noelle. When we would get her to lay down, I would have Noelle pet/praise Hazel to try and get her relaxed. If Hazel would bounce back up right away and then get distracted, I had Noelle use the can to get her attention, give her the “watch me” command, then repeat the down/stay. It took a little bit of work, but then Hazel FINALLY got it, and by the time I left, Hazel was lying at Noelle’s feet, in a completely relaxed pose, even when one of her parents would come walking up to us with a purposeful distraction! Noelle was to split up working with her inside and outside to get her use to minding with distractions.
Hazel can be a tough cookie, but I advised Noelle to be even tougher! Once she gives Hazel a command, she MUST follow through and make Hazel do it, no matter how long it takes, or Hazel will figure out that she doesn’t really need to mind.