An update from Wounded Warrior Andrew, who was paired with “Ozzie” (now “Mozzie) while at Laurel Ridge! Andrew is now stationed in North Carolina, and working with a Service Dog trainer that we talked with named Casper.
I’ll get some pictures out soon!
Mozzie and I have been meeting with Casper at Unleashed Dog Training weekly and going though a 70-80 minute class, then coming home with weekly homework that Mozzie and I have been working on.
So far we’ve worked on the following:
Getting him to focus on me, and me on him – rewarding with treats, my nose, his nose, his mouth. Ensuring always to reward him this way so he’s always looking to me.
Positional sitting, left side of me, ensuring I adjust to where he sits each time. He’s starting to sit exactly where he needs to be each time on his own, but I still correct now to make sure we solidify the position exactly.
Positional down, same as above.
We work on a handling exam a few times a week, starting at the nose, eyes, ears, mouth, working down the front, front legs, paws, bare spot on the chest, belly, back legs and paws, tail, and back up to the collar. He still requires a bit of treating throughout the exam, but he’s getting a lot better at being ‘inspected’ and handled.
We’ve talked about the sequencing of commands, and chaining commands.
We’re working on stay, in both sit and down right now. Casper has been deliberate in training ME to remember that it’s about seconds and inches and not minutes and feet (in how far/long you can get the dog to stay). We also discussed how even a small stay with a reward is exponentially better then ANYTIME the dog breaks, since a break could mean multiple steps backwards in progress. It’s better to reward, than to correct.
Lastly, we’re also working on “around”, the repositioning of Mozzie when he isn’t on my left side. Always ensuring that he moves behind me to return to his place. We’re training return with sit, and Mozzie is getting the idea that anytime we’re not moving and he is on my left it’s appropriate for him to be sitting next to me.
Overall, Mozzie is doing extremely well. He’s learned quickly that when the leash is on, he’s supposed to be in a different frame of mind. Even when we have a large amount of people over to the home I’m staying at, and I put his leash on, he’s a completely different dog until the leash comes off.
Finally, Casper has done a phenomenal job at expressing to us the human element in the training of our animals, such that WE need to remember that anything that our dogs do wrong is because we haven’t trained them right, not that THEY didn’t understand.
More to follow Laurie:)