Saturday, March 20, 2010

Training Going Well

Nothing too interesting to report.

Dart is continuing to settle in well, and we're trying to adjust our routine to his presence.

We did have to permanently install a baby gate in the doorway to the kitchen, in effect confining him to our (large) kitchen and the backyard. At first the baby gate was because we weren't sure he was housebroken. But it evolved into a permanent installation because we discovered he is fond of chewing electrical wires, which means we're not leaving him unsupervised in any room which has something he can grab.

It's a bit inconvenient having to move the gate to get in the kitchen (splorp! installed it on the hinges included in the purchase, so at least it swings now). But we think the inconvenience of the gate is a small price to pay to be able to watch TV with intact cables. Also, I somehow think the baby gate was a bit less expensive than the replacement wires would have been.

Dart's routine includes a walk most days. Usually I take him out after I get home from work in the evening, around 5 or 5:30. But it's getting warmer, and the daylight is sticking around longer thanks to Daylight Savings Time, so I am aiming for a bit later in the evening when it is cooler.

As far as training, "heel" is going somewhere between "OK" and "poor". We had a big jump in improvement after I got a choke chain for his walks. (And it was difficult finding a small one! Little Dart almost has to wear a cat collar, that's how small his neck is.) Still, progress is relatively slow. Instead of walking calmly next to me he pulls a lot on the leash, trying to lead me around, and really wants to go see the other dogs. And he whines and carries on when I don't let him have his way. Seriously, the other day he yelped like I was hitting him, but I didn't touch him. I just made him sit as the other dog went by. But, practice is important (also, exercise!). So we keep going for walks. And I have decided to carry some treats with me, to hopefully speed progress along.

As far as behavior training for inside the house we have a ways to go. He still has a number of bad habits, and has no what I call "people manners." Basically he was never taught what people expect of him, so he just acts because he's excited. Like when you first walk in he jumps at you from the ground, trying to get your attention and to get you to lean over to pet him. If you're wearing shorts when he jumps that can be a big problem as he has rather sharp little claws and doesn't know that scraping you hurts. And he likes to grab your feet with his mouth or jump and land on your feet, which again is a problem if you're not wearing shoes or something. He also walks all over the furniture, including jumping to the top of the kitchen table if we don't push the chairs in.

However progress in other areas of behavior training is going well. He picked up "sit" quickly, and we moved on to "settle" (aka "lie down"). That is his favorite "trick" right now, as he knows he will get a treat if he throws himself on the ground as soon as I touch the bag of treats. Quite funny.

I think we will move on to "roll over" or maybe "dance" soon, as those seem like natural behaviors for him. I am putting off "shake hands" because he is a bit hyper when you bend over and approach his level. I think we need some extra practice with "sit" before we come to that.

No comments: