Captain's Log

Discussion in 'Your Training Logs' started by Anthony Abrao, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. Anthony Abrao

    Anthony Abrao Registered Users

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    As a Sailor, the title of this thread is very intriguing and has multiple meanings.

    Captain was welped 11/11/18, so he is 9 weeks as of this posting, and we have had him home with us in eastern Virginia for one week. He is a chocolate lab, and his name has nothing to do with my career. My family has named all of our labs after alcohol. Kaluha, Bailey, Brandy, etc. His family includes my wife and I, our two young boys, and our 6-year old female rescue. We believe our rescue is a Maltese, and she doesn't like interacting with Captain, but shows no aggressiongio about his presence.

    I have been the primary leader in his life. My family does very little training with him, but they do help with potty training and feeding. Captain is fed three times a day at 07, 12 and 17 with Blue Life Protection Formula for large breed puppies. I use his kibble as rewards during training because he enjoys it, and I didn't want to add an additional food source at risk of upsetting his stomach. His water bowl is always at least half of water.

    He is very comfortable in his crate. It's not uncommon for him to go in and out to get toys, lie down, or just sniff around. He has a separate and smaller crate in our bedroom that he still sleeps in at night. For the past two nights he has slept through 2200-0530. For some, 0530 is a bit too early, but it works well with our schedule for now. He naps during the day in what will become his only kennel.

    When we go outside for the purpose of potty, I leave him be until he has done both. I only reward him when he relieves himself, and I do this by giving a treat, saying "yes" and usually including some petting. During the night he gets no reward or praise. I do say " potty" a few times while he is relieving himself. When we go outside for play, or after he has relieved himself, we play and train. Until his vaccines are complete, outside only consists of our backyard which is grass and a treated-wood patio.

    He will follow closely most times I walk about the yard. When I stop, he will usually stop, sit and look up at me. I always reward and praise. There is no verbal command because I want him to know that I expect him to stop and look at me when we are walking and I stop.
    If the ground is not extremely wet and/or cold, he will follow my hand to a sit and/or down position. He does not respond to "sit" or "down" at all without my hand being in front of his face.
    He is barely starting to respond to his name. We have not changed his name, and there have been no nicknames since we picked him up a week ago.
    When I squat, he will usually come running to me from any distance. I always say "come" and reward when he arrives.
    When he finds an item of interest in our yard, I present a reward in front of his face and say "release" as I take it from him and present him the reward. Sometimes this item is a stick, a leaf, a little seed thing from one of the trees/bushes, his or the other dog's poop, or possibly rabbit poop. In the instances where his attention is more focused on an item I can't physically remove such as the rabbit poop, I will distract him with a reward and follow up with another reward in my fingers that he will follow away. This usually gets him off the item and onto some new interest like me and playing or training.
    Our training sessions are short, and every time he is awake.

    I am frustrated that he does not respond better to his name.
    I am frustrated that when he does respond to his name, he looks at my hands rather than my face.
    I am frustrated that he doesn't execute sit or down without a reward immediately in front of his face.
     
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  2. Jade

    Jade Registered Users

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    He sounds like a great puppy. I hope you don't mind if I suggest a great book. It's called "Train Your Dog Like A Pro" by Jean Donaldson. It's a fantastic book. It's helped me immensely in training our 7 month old puppy.
    Most dogs especially puppies won't do anything for you without a reward.
     
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  3. Anthony Abrao

    Anthony Abrao Registered Users

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    @Jade thanks for the recommendation! I plan to swing by the library this week to see what material they have available. He really is a great pup. He has little quirks like not using his rear legs when he climbs over our legs, and we all think it's the funniest.
     
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  4. Jade

    Jade Registered Users

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    You're welcome. Have fun with your puppy...
     
  5. Anthony Abrao

    Anthony Abrao Registered Users

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    Nearly a month later...
    I've watched countless YouTube videos about training. It seems the most popular videos are from Zak George and McCann. They do have different training techniques, so i enjoy seeing the differences between them and other trainers. I am interested in what qualifications, certifications, licenses, etc are required to be a "professional dog trainer".This interest is not because i would like to become one, but because it doesn't seem like something that has a very rigid or standard process.
    I have adjusted the method i perform training with Captain, now 12 weeks old and roughly 20 pounds. I used to train multiple commands at each training session, but i now focus on one command and the connection. For example, when we work on leash walking i drive the entire time to be related to leash walking. We may work on sitting when i stop, looking at me when i call his name, different speeds, etc. It is all centered on a single command or habit.
    I will try to put a couple videos in this, and i would truly appreciate any feedback. Positive comments are great, but the recommendations for improvements or identifying errors are equally encouraged. One video is feeding time, and how we are working on sit, wait, okay. The other video will be of our leash training this morning.
    He is much better with his name, but still not as responsive to it as i feel he should be. His sit is equally as productive. He knows the commands without a doubt, but his response to them is what needs improving. I am confident this is because my wife and kids do not perform any training sessions with him, and i have been on travel recently with a few more trips in the next few months. We still don't go for walks around the neighborhood because he has not received all of his vaccines, but i take him nearly everywhere that isn't a grocery store or restaurant. We are continuing to improve his wait and stay commands' i think they are both well developed for a 12 week old.
    I want to begin working the command off because he is beginning to want to jump on laps, low tables, the couches, etc. We also want to begin working "go to your kennel" so we don't have to pick him up and put him in his kennel.
    Finally, we are discussing the possibility of beginning participation in agility and/or obedience training for competition. Truly, i would like to train for field trials, but this isn't really an area i feel we would be able to provide effective training.
     
  6. Anthony Abrao

    Anthony Abrao Registered Users

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    Leash Training


    Feeding Manners
     
  7. Anthony Abrao

    Anthony Abrao Registered Users

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    Nearly 3 weeks have gone by, and we're still getting better!
    Captain got over one ear infection, but has an appointment today to identify a possible second. Different ear, and his first two. A significant increase of scratching, shaking his head, and a smell similar to metal seem to be the signs he shows.
    My wife taught him to go to his kennel on command. He's so good at it, and ENJOYS it. I was working with him on it for a couple days and he was slowly improving, but i came home from work one day and he went right in. I was so happy and impressed! i made sure to give him extra rewards, and my wife commented that she had continued to work with him. It was great.
    his obedience for wait and stay are improving. We use "wait" when we feed him, and stay pretty much all other times. I'm not really sure what the difference should be for when one command is used vice the other. He will stay for roughly 45 seconds before he goes on about his own plans, but it usually involves running to me. I also work on walking away from him as well as going around a corner. He does not do well with me going around the corner, but he is getting better every session we work on it.
    Fetch is incredible! He really does enjoy it and will play until he is no longer capable of standing. Ive been showing my kids how to play fetch with him while incorporating training, too. It's going well.
    Captain has been able to get on the couch for a couple weeks now. It seems like he does it with less effort each day. We are okay with it, but are teaching him that it's not okay to bring chewables onto the couch. If he wants up, it's solo, or with his blanket he drags around sometimes.
    I bought a new leash that has a handle in the middle of the lead. It's 6 feet long, maybe 8. Captain does great. He does pull a little bit, and certainly keeps the leash tight if he's not pulling. I am working on him looking up at me more frequently while we are walking.
    Final topic on my mind is potty training. He does well nearly every day during the day. The evenings are when he begins to make a mess. It seems like he is peeing while walking because there or often "trails" of urine. He doesnt walk around while he pees outside, and we let him outside very frequently. We have been watching him closer, but it's hard to identify when its going to happen because he's walking as it happens. It is getting better, so we'll keep on with it.
    The biggest results come from consistency and focus. Consistent with training techniques regardless of who is doing the training, consistently taking advantage of training opportunities and making sessions, consistently recognizing Captain when he does a behavior with a single command without a reward, and consistently recognizing the improvements in behavior and obedience. Focus to make sure we are dedicating our attention to the training session, focus on training Captain only for a few commands at a time, focus on what commands are the priority, and focusing on the joys of having this rambunctious 4-legged brown furry family member.
     
  8. Anthony Abrao

    Anthony Abrao Registered Users

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    I think it's easiest to break the logs into indoor and outdoor. His behavior is different in both environments. I'm confident that his behavior differs because he is so curious about "the whole new world" that awaits him each time we go outside the front door.

    Outside: Lots of leash training, and a wealth of off-leash training. Most off-leash training targets recall, but it includes fetch and chase which makes it very enjoyable for everybody involved. His fetch is great because he will bring back a ball thrown about 75-100 feet. Anything further than that is troublesome because it stops bouncing/rolling before he is within 10 feet of it and he seems to lose track of it. He still hunts around for the object and usually finds it. Because we're re-working commands because of the new distractions, i think his off-leash training is causing some regression for his indoor performance.

    Indoors: He is challenging some commands. I'm hoping it's just a phase, or that it is related to his off-leash time. Because Captain only gets positive training so he is learning that there isnt much "discipline" for when he doesn't listen outside. I find myself strengthening several commands he was very reliable with indoors. House training is really well. He has gone outside every time for about 4 days, but the big payout is that he is going to the door more frequently to let us know he needs to go.
     
  9. Anthony Abrao

    Anthony Abrao Registered Users

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    Captain keeps on keepin on, thats for sure. This last week we were out for a walk and i recognized that we have not seen very much regression in his training. We continue to proof what we have trained, and there is some areas where he has stalled, but i dont think he has regressed. I am very happy about that, but it makes me wonder "Are we training enough? Is he being trained at a level he is capable of?" I answer myself, in a non-psych ward kind of way, that he is a young, fun, smart, and behaved dog. He is most certainly being trained at his potential, and we train plenty. That said...

    Outisde: We were out on a morning walk and some neighborhood residents were getting in their car for a trip to the airport. Captain uncharacteristically ran up their driveway and jumped in their car. Fortunately for us they were dog lovers and found it very funny. I have him on a 6ft leash, and he usually drags it when we go for walks. There is a lake in our neighborhood, and i throw sticks in the water every few days to get him more comfortable with water play. He's not a fan of any deeper than the bottom of his belly, but i really think it's the temperature more than anything else. We got to a pet store "puppy play time" every Sat/Sun and he gets about 30 minutes of play with different ages of dogs up to 6 months. In our front yard i have stepped up the "stay" command while i go out of sight. He is continuing to improve, but i slacked on the continuous training so he hasnt gotten much better over the past couple weeks

    Indoors: He has settled down with challenging commands. It seems that as he becomes more well-behaved outside it results on better inside behavior. Im going to have to discuss with my WIFE what she wants for his signal to go outside. He goes to the door pretty reliably, but there is no behavior that he has which notifies us. A bell, bark, scratch the door, something. I think she'll choose a bell. He is also becoming more of a cuddler. He already is/was, but since he gets so much of his energy out during outside play, he is more calm and relaxed indoors which leads to a puppy pillow.
     
  10. Anthony Abrao

    Anthony Abrao Registered Users

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    I'm currently away from home for military training, but my WIFEY has stepped up and started to at least try to maintain the level of achievement we have reached. She continues to train sit, lay down, go to your kennel, stay, shake, off (when we want him off furniture, his front paws are on a table/counter/person/etc, come here, plays fetch and takes him for walks. It is without a doubt, the most engaged she has been on a consistent level. I think she is finding that it is much more enjoyable than what she imagined.
     
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  11. Anthony Abrao

    Anthony Abrao Registered Users

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    Nearly a month has passed since the last update. Captain is continuing to grow and learn. He is very well behaved when we are at home, around the yard, and on walks in the neighborhood. I am going to have to figure out what the LAT training is and explore similar methods because he does get distracted. He is an energetic greeter when we come home or when people come over (with or without their furry family members).

    Outside: We almost always start with a game of fetch. We both enjoy the interaction, it gets his energy level under control and works magic getting his mind ready for training. I work quite a bit on "stay" while i go around corners for different amounts of time. Usually i start with short times like 10 seconds, but we get upwards of 3 minutes sometimes. When we play fetch, he understands to come to my side and sit. Not %100 consistent yet, but he understands the hand command to get ready. I purchased a 30-foot lead a week ago that i have been using to walk him around the neighborhood. I usually just let it drag behind him, and he does well. His recall has become stronger, but there is still room for improvement when distractions are around. He does great with "leave it alone" and smells rarely distract him. I intend to spend more time at a nearby public park and begin to really focus on helping Captain behave better.

    Inside: he has started sleeping in our bed, and it seems to have driven a regression in his crate tolerance. He has never been left in his crate for long during the day, and until about 3 weeks ago he spent the night in his crate. I admit i do enjoy having him in our bed because it's how i grew up. It was a little rough at first getting used to him in our bed, but it worked out over a few nights. Since about the same time, he seems to have began "complaining" when he is put in his crate before we leave. I have started to have him go to his crate more throughout the day while we are still home. I'm sure it'll help him out.

    I'm planning to re-read through these logs this week to strengthen my confidence and track down areas where i may have lost my way. At a dog park the other day, i made my mind that i want to pursue obedience competitions. I'll address that short story at another time, though.
     
  12. BacktoBlack

    BacktoBlack Registered Users

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    Fun read my Maggie is 11/13/18 so close in age. At 46#she is a a handful lol. We use a bell and she does it very well, but also likes to ring just to go outside o_O Only suggestion I have if you go that route is put it next to door not on door so it doesn't smash ring every in and out, or get the one that is attached to a metal bar. She is so easily distracted ..plane, bug, etc lol that Lat really helps. Post more vids :p
     
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  13. LoopyLuna

    LoopyLuna Registered Users

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    Loved reading this @Anthony Abrao - you've got such a positive approach to your posts and celebrate all the successes. Well done you. You sound like you're both doing brilliantly, and he's still so young. Keep up the great work :)
     
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  14. Anthony Abrao

    Anthony Abrao Registered Users

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    It's been nearly a month!? Yikes! Sorry to keep you all on edge about the next thrilling adventure in Captain's life. Really though, there isn't much because i have been away on travel for most of the time. I re-read my logs, and i am definitely happy how things have gone.

    Inside: his crate tolerance has improved, but not by much. He has destroyed two beds, but i believe it is because he was placed in his kennel immediately before we departed as well as not being given a toy that was distracting enough. We take the wet food version of his kibble and freeze it into kongs, and those kongs are given to him when we know he will be in his kennel for a few hours. The bed destruction was when he was not provided these. He is interested in the items on top of counters, tables, etc and has began to put his front paws up to see. He has a really strong understanding of "off", and responds immediately almost every time. There is no begging either. He may walk around the table, sit or lie down near us as we eat, but he does not stare with a wanting desire, whine, whimper, or drool with anticipation. I believe it is because he has NEVER been given any food from the table. He still sleeps in our room, and gets up/down from the bed throughout the night. Not a single thing destroyed, and we are certainly appreciative. His energy is seemingly endless. We play fetch for about 30 minutes and he appears to be tired; we come inside, he drinks some water, catches his breath, lies down for about 5 minutes, and is ready to go again. Thankfully there is no destructive behavior. He finds one of his toys and occupies himself. Sometimes we will play fetch inside, but usually he finds a squeaky toy and walks around the house aimlessly while squeaking it. He has also started humping a little. Mostly just his blankets, but the behavior has been noticed otherwise. I'm not too sure what to do, but neutering is not an option i want to exercise.

    Outside: I have been home about a week and have not taken him for any walks. My wife takes him and our other pooch for walks every morning that the weather permits. It's anywhere from 15-30 minutes and 3/4 - 1.5 miles. Because she is walking both dogs, there is very little training. Most of her focus is on reducing pulling, but he doesn't really pull. He does like to walk at the end of his leash; he keeps it tight with just a little slack. his fetch is remarkable! dang, he loves to run and get anything thrown. He does really well when told to wait, and will look at me if he wants to go before i release him. I'll put a couple videos below. He is definitely friendly, and i am going to really focus on outside exposure with distractions such as other dogs and people passing by. I also want to help him understand the limits of our fence-less front yard so he knows not to wander into the street or our neighbors yard. He only trespasses into the street when the kids are playing, so it's not too much more work than getting him to control his impulses with distractions.



     
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  15. LoopyLuna

    LoopyLuna Registered Users

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    @Anthony Abrao - great update. You're doing a great job and Captain clearly loves interacting with you and is keen to please. You've got a little cracker there :)
     
  16. Saffy/isla

    Saffy/isla Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hi loved reading your post and watching Captain fetch. Your doing brilliantly,especially as he's only7months! I wish Isla fetched like that,lol. Well done both of you:)
     
  17. Anthony Abrao

    Anthony Abrao Registered Users

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    Captain went with me to a park while i fished. Well, my intention was to fish, but it didnt work out that way......and im not the least bit upset.

     
  18. Anthony Abrao

    Anthony Abrao Registered Users

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    The video below will show most of what we have been working on. Besides proofing other behaviors, most other work has been with loose lead walking and off-lead walking.
    Captain isn't always getting his morning walks because my family sleeps in and i am away a work. The morning walks with my wife aren't usually training as much as just energy burners, so we make up when i get home by spending lots more time outside working and playing.
    We nearly always start with a game of fetch. No expectations other than: throw, retrieve, repeat. As i see his energy level burning away i begin to add in some of the obedience and training. This has resulted in his "normal" fetch game being more like our training sessions. I'd say that's a pretty solid indication of behavior development.
    We also spend roughly an hour at a nearby dog park a couple days a week. Again, i let him play around and do his own thing for the first 10 minutes before i begin applying various obedience training. Most of it is recall, but sometimes we go into fetch or heel training when the number of other active dogs dwindles. I believe this has been a large impact on his on/off-leash behaviors improving. It seems that he better understands that i do not want to keep him detained or removed from fun and exciting adventures as much as i just want him to be compliant and well behaved.
    July is going to have me away for the first and third weeks, so the training will dwindle again. I am seriously contemplating an online training session from Fenzi, but i'm not certain which to take.
    My training, i've decided, is going to gear towards CGC and further obedience trials. I would like to help Captain earn some titles to his name because i feel like it will only make working together more fun while helping Captain become an even better furry family member.
     
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