Sunday, December 30, 2012

Training Updates

According to all I've read, our socialization window is quickly closing. Soon Jedi will no longer accept things so freely. I'm trying to introduce him to as many different people and situations as possible before the "fear phase" kicks in. Today we broke out the ramp. We originally got it when Pepper became too old (and fat) to jump in and out of the SUV. Logan was also starting to slow down, so we thought a ramp would make everything better. WRONG. At first Pepper and Logan refused to attempt it. And even with super yummy treats it was more trouble than it was worth. Roxy was only 2 at the time. When she saw there were treats involved, she ran up and down the ramp with enthusiasm. She was also the only one who could easily jump into the SUV! We tried a few more times but eventually just stowed the ramp in the garage, relogated to lifting the dogs in and out of the vehicle. We've held on to the ramp for years. (It was expensive!) Hubby found it the other day and suggested we show it to the puppy. Jedi wasn't too sure about it, but when I pulled out some leftover turkey he gave it a try. He is really food motivated. I wonder, is this a puppy thing he'll grow out of, or will he always have a strong food drive? I learned with Pepper that a strong food drive makes training easier, but everything else a little harder. We couldn't leave anything out with Pepper around. She dug in the trash, chewed out pockets, emptied purses, raided Easter baskets and ripped opened Christmas presents without hesitation whenever she thought there was something edible inside.
Speaking of food, I've started making Jedi work for his midday meals. He wasn't eating much at noon anyway, so I thought we'd make it fun -- or at least funny! His dry food is put inside a Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble (I know, dumb name). It's an egg-shaped ball about the size of a small cantaloupe. There are holes at the top and bottom and Jedi must roll the ball around to get his lunch. I also pack Kongs with kibble and cream cheese and freeze them for an entertaining snack. I tried using peanut butter in the Kongs but Jedi didn't like it. I told him that dogs are suppose to love peanut butter; he didn't believe me.

Jedi and I had our first Puppy Kindergarten class together Friday night. His brother and sister were there, both just as lanky as Jedi. There were a dozen beautiful puppies there, including a 5 month old leonberger who was already the size of Roxy! We worked on attention exercises and collar grabs and loose leash walking. Jedi did great. Now if only he can explain it to Roxy . . . -- K