Hero's log

Discussion in 'Your Training Logs' started by mummyp85, Oct 31, 2019.

  1. mummyp85

    mummyp85 Registered Users

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    Hero is a fox red from working lines now approaching 6 months. We got him at 9 weeks. He is so intelligent and once we passed the terror tot start, all the basics we had worked on clicked into place and he has developed his training to more diffictdifficult levels. His recall is proving good when off leash - think it may be due to the bag of really stinky treats I always carry lol. He loves them not so much me when I end up stinking of fish, etc but heyho it works thanks to tips from the forum and Labrador Site. He has learned his magic word which have only had to use once so far....but his favourite activity after his walks is far and away nose training. We've now upped his difficulty to find things well hidden and tiny bits of smelly treat in long grass. It's fascinating to watch his concentration and how pleased he is when he finds them. He's a cheeky little devil tho and the funniest thing which I really have to stop laughing at and do something about, is when he pinches OHs slipper or shoe. He is so proud of himself and struts around with his tail up, ears up and it is just so funny. Will work on this but hey don't want to dent his pride straight off. We've been through the exhaustion, the near tears, the wondering if we could do this but my super boy is proving that no matter how hard it has been, it is all worth it. Here's to more training and having fun with our gorgeous little monkey
     
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  2. Saffy/isla

    Saffy/isla Registered Users

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    Hi, it was so good to read all about your lovely boy and what great positives in your post.

    Hero sounds like he is maturing beautifully. They are worth all the hard work aren't they. Carry on doing what you have been.
     
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  3. mummyp85

    mummyp85 Registered Users

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    So we've been through a bit off a rocky patch with behaviours all over the place after New Year's Fireworks and Christmas overload. Apart from the anxieties this has caused, at 8 months Hero is now hitting teenage 'I'm not listening to you' as well. So as we've gone into 2020 this is my New Year's resolution and have have spent the last few days coming up with a plan:
    1) re-read all the training material we have and keep referring back to it
    2) be more structured
    3) look at anywhere we have gone wrong or just not done things in the best way possible
    4) keep a daily log of good things, not so good, triggers, fear factors, etc so that we can see what's working and what isnt
    5) where things are not working then try a different approach
    6) work hard on getting OH to do the same as everyone else - this is probably the worst one
    7) as attention span is currently not that great, reduce training to bitesize through the day
    8) work on distractions big time
    9) stay calm when 26 kg of bouncy dog decides to jump up and bite me when out on walks or drag me through the bushes

    But above all make it fun so that Hero and all of us enjoy this to the fullest.
    Let's see how things go
     
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  4. lucy@labforumHQ

    lucy@labforumHQ Administrator Forum Supporter

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    It sounds like Hero is off to a flying start. Don't worry too much about things going slightly awry over the holidays, it's a funny time of year for us all :)
    I think you've got some great plans going forward, and can't wait to hear how you both get along!
     
  5. Saffy/isla

    Saffy/isla Registered Users

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    That all sounds brilliant to me and such a good idea, I may steal it for myself!

    Good luck and let us know how its going.
     
  6. MontesMum

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    Love your points. It’s so good to keep going back and learning and re learning. We change, they change. Your Hero sounds so much like our Monte. I’ve read your other posts and just nod along saying yep us too! Monte is almost 7 months fox red. Think the fox reds are more challenging than the other colours... not sure if that’s a thing but it feels like it! I used to have 2 yellow, 2 choc and looked after a black and they all seem much calmer and less anxious. Anyway, good luck and let’s hope the older these pups get the less brain ache we have!
     
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  7. LoopyLuna

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    Love this. I made a similar list at the beginning of 2019 and the mindset really helped me to have realistic expectations, and set some goals. Luna is about a year older than Hero and I can safely say that even though I've not achieved the training goals I set at the beginning of 2019, I definitely know her a lot better than I did a year ago.

    I have absolutely no doubt that she is capable of learning the "stuff", but what I've needed to work out is how to create the right environment for her to learn. I'm definitely starting to get the hang of this. Like you, for us this means short bite sized sessions (no longer than 5 or 10 minutes), working with distractions and her ability to cope with her emotions, and being really analytical about what we're doing so that I can change things up when they inevitably don't work.

    The one I'm definitely still working on is number 9 on your list :) An off lead puppy caught us off guard the other day when we were walking through a kissing gate. It came bounding over to us. I had Luna on a long line at the time for exactly this sort of thing, but it did mean that as she ran toward the puppy she succeeded in trapping me in the kissing gate with the lead. It stopped her from getting to the puppy but I felt like a right prat :) especially when the little puppy then just obediently trotted over to his mum when she called him. I felt like a total failure in that split second. Yes, definitely need to stay calmer!!
     
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  8. mummyp85

    mummyp85 Registered Users

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    So think it's time for an update as we end January and what for us has been a very trying and exhausting month. Just after my last post, our car went off the road for over a week and this put severe limitations on taking Hero out to secluded areas for long line practice. It also meant we had to spend a lot of time at home and in the garden and the restrictions led to me becoming a bit stir crazy and feeling I had lost my freedom. Then when the car came back lots of time to and from the hospital with my dad getting heart failure. On top of that I twisted my knee ( still don't stupidly know how that happened) and pulled hamstring so then unable to take Hero out for walks. OH has had to do them all. And finally issues with OH and oldest son still not doing same as everyone else and the jumping up and biting escalating on to other family members and friends. I became that stressed out mid month, nervous when anyone coming round house because Hero couldn't cope and neither could I, that I had a complete meltdown, burst into tears and told them all I had enough and As they wouldn't listen or help, then sadly Hero would have to go and it would break my heart. This was a big turning point and they finally realised how exhausted and down I was and everyone agreed to try better. But after all this do have lots of good things to say about my Hero, bless him because none of what was happening was his fault. I picked myself up, gave me a good talking to and told myself to stop letting the negatives take over and give more attention to the good things, and there's a lot of them. So here they are:
    • Hero now has a solid 5 minute sit in the house and 3 minutes in the garden with leaves blowing about, birds, cats, people walking past, cars, you get the idea
    • He will stay in the down position on his mat indoors for 10 minutes while I wander all round, Introduce distractions, make noises, etc and doesn't move till I return to him and give the release cue
    • He can maintain a 5 minute down stay in the garden until I release him. For our excitable doggy staying still is a major achievement
    • He will sit in high traffic areas and totally ignore any traffic
    • Before I hurt my leg loose lead walks were becoming a pleasure and if we saw another dog Hero will sit until they have passed by
    • In the kitchen, Hero will sit patiently in front of an open fridge, when I am preparing food, and if food is on the worktop and I tell him 'leave it' he does. Not so if I forget to cue- then he snaffles it as fast as he can
    • No longer tries to pinch food if we are eating when we say to leave and lay down
    • Is learning hand signals for 'sit', 'down', 'stay' and his release cue. He obeys more with the hand signals than he has ever done with just verbal cues. Sometimes gives my hand a nudge but it is starting to work good in the main
    • Started his return to Total Recall because of previous issues, and now on Stage 2 of the retraining. Got his new whistle signal sorted and he's really getting into it, so gonna keep taking that one very slowly
    • Hero now accepts me brushing him without trying to eat the zoom groom
    • Have worked out which toys seem to trigger him so only short play times with those
    • Being restricted have managed to come up with some quite inventive and fun ways to keep Hero exercised and entertained.
    • Have re-evaluated how am using treats and what works best with different skills training. Roast chicken sends him over the top and he then goes into a frenzy trying to get to the bag and then can't get him to do anything so have withdrawn that at the moment. Right treat for right skill seems to be working
    • Meet and greet people - we've had some small successes with sitting and offering paw up as hello to people when out. More of a struggle with family - he gets too excited when he sees them. Lot more to do on that one
    • Nosework...Hero can now follow a trail out on the lawn, find the hidden treat in the correct box, find kibble hidden round the house, and the trainer wants to start introducing a different smell to see how he gets on
    • He is learning to place on the mat. We have reached the point where I get him to sit in one part of the house and I put a treat on the mat in a completely different area out of view. I then go back to him and give 'mat' cue and he goes to it every time. Going to try next stage soon
    • Impulse control is going good. I can place a treat/ kibble on Hero's paws when in down position or close in front of him when sitting, give 'wait' cue and he holds for 30 seconds until released. Same as meals. He will sit and wait till I release him. Has stopped all the snatching and gobbling
    • He's learned new tricks...weaving round and between my legs, high five, through the tunnel, speak, playing touch(alternate touch hand and touch his toy cyberbone then after few reps cue him which one to touch in random pattern. Gets it right every time)
    • Stopped wanting to rip mats and bedding to pieces... We now have rugs down again and he has chosen his favourite and loves stretching out on it
    Wow, reading back through this list, I can't believe how well my excitable bundle has done in such a short time. Still got issues with little dogs big time and the biting and jumping up family members. Not going to call them problems- they are puzzles to be solved and with the help of our Behaviourist we have started working on this and have already seen small changes in a few days. But that's another story. She's got us using Cookie Dog and NILIF(Nothing in life is free) to work on this. Also on advice we have changed Hero over to Skinner's Junior Food and have seen a big change in his excitability levels now he is settled on this. He is no longer going hyper over every least little thing. Keeping a daily log and lots of videos have been the biggest help to me and even now looking back to the first few entries, how far things have come despite the setbacks this month have been absolutely amazing. My boy is doing himself real proud. We have a long way to go but my bud is showing that he does want to learn and when he does good and mum makes such a fuss of him it's just lovely to see his tail wagging and him being so happy too. So going to keep working on all the puzzle solving bit by bit, love the good things and not let the not so good control me
     
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  9. Saffy/isla

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    Oh my goodness, wow, well done to you and Hero! You are doing extremely well.

    Having much more success than I am at the moment with Isla.

    Keep up the good work
     
  10. mummyp85

    mummyp85 Registered Users

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    Thank you Saffy/Isla. Think it's mainly because of being confined to barracks so to speak and spending so much time with him. Been frustrating though cos I know when I'm no longer hobbling about, getting back into the walks is going to have issues. Bad month for me has meant I've been able to watch Hero and learn some more about his character which has helped me no end. I watch when we get up in the morning to see how he wakes up. If he comes down with me and goes straight out to garden then good day ahead but he just has these mornings where just like a child, he gets up with a little devil in him, and the first thing he does is pinch something and start strutting around. Have learnt the hard way to give up on training when he's like that and just go for play and fun. I have followed lots of your threads with interest and think you are one very strong person who loves your beautiful dog so much that you are going to let nothing get in the way of having that lovely obedient dog no matter how hard it has been. I just hope me and Hero can develop the bond you so obviously have with Isla even when things get tough. Can't wait to see what happens this next month. Fully expect to take as many backward steps as we do move forward but hey ho. Have to say watching back some of the videos is hilarious especially the ones of Oh and son having issues. Even Behaviourist struggled not to smile commenting that Hero was having loads of fun with his new tug toys when they go across the room with dog attached. Needless to say, games of tug are currently banned until someone gets the message. Lots of 'puzzles' to solve and need lot of work but just think the good things Hero's done this month far outweigh the not so good.
     
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  11. mummyp85

    mummyp85 Registered Users

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    So, the next part of the puzzle - the jumping up, pulling at clothes and constant mouthing which had stopped by 5months but came back with a vengeance at 7 1/2 months. It had reached such a bad point that I was really stressed out, not because it was happening to me, but with OH and other male family members who just seemed incapable of following what we did when Hero was younger. All the usual ways - bite inhibition reworking, become a tree, ignore behaviour, remove behind stairgate, distraction, time outs - nothing worked and it was getting everyone down. So did lot of videos of Hero in action when the red mist seemed to descend, of OH and sons trying to deal with it, and went to see Behaviourist. Now she has known Hero since 9 weeks being involved in the puppy classes and after reading my log and looking at the videos, we had a long session with her. She showed us things that we just hadn't noticed because we had fallen in to the trap of letting the behaviour take control of everything we were feeling and doing. This is what she saw:
    • Hero was having an absolutely fantastic game of tug every time the guys were trying to remove either themselves or Hero and appeared to be having immense fun
    • When situations started it was because Hero was acting like a usual pushy teenager, who has realised that if they push hard enough they get a response
    • A control situation seemed to have developed without anyone realising.
    Let me explain the last point as she saw it....we have a strip on the floor separating the kitchen area (to wide to gate off) which we have used to train Hero to stay behind when he is not allowed in this area eg when cooking on hob, in oven and dishing up hot food. He knows not to cross the line unless I cue him to. He tends to lay down behind the line and goes to sleep. Now the thing which we hadn't realised was that where the gate is, behind which people have removed to when behaviour has become too much, we have a wide gold carpet bar (real bad positioning of gate on our part...just didn't think of him making an association.) As soon as anyone goes behind gate, Hero lay down, but as soon as they crossed back over the bar, the behaviour started again. It reached the point where Hero was pulling at other family members and always towards the bar.
    And so on and so on
    Once Behaviourist pointed all this out and we could see where things were going wrong, now it was time to look at changing things up to find a way of getting this back in our control and teach our wayward teenager some good manners and get boundaries in place.
    She suggested that as all the usual ways just weren't working, we flip everything on its head and instigate zero intolerance:


    1. No human to cross the carpet bar. Hero to do so instead
    2. New command to associate with start of behaviour before escalates to mouthing and pulling at clothes - 'GO AWAY'
    3. No fuss or petting when people enter house. Only once settled then quick appropriately placed stroke and no further interaction
    4. No guests to engage in play with Hero
    5. No guests to give treats while in house. Only to reward when they leave if he has been good
    6. No game of tug until boundaries learned
    7. OH and guys to follow to the letter what she set up....no doing their own thing
    8. Mum to be in over all charge at the moment of all training. No one else to interfere
    9. Above all else - Stay Calm!!!
    So we started to follow the plan. Firstly to make this work we needed to associate 'GO AWAY' as a positive command and not a punishment. We did this by connecting to the work already started on Mat training so that when the cue is given, Hero knows to go to his mat in a separate area and settle. Behaviourist did warn us that to start with, something new, would get Hero's interest and his curiosity would get him to go with me to his mat. But then he would start to realise ' hey hang on a mo, they're stopping me having fun. I like my tug toys. It's great. Been doing this for ages and ages and got away with it so why change now'. She then warned the behaviour may get a bit more frantic because he was steadily being deprived of something very rewarding. But with consistency it should start to improve. So here's where we are at after 8 days:
    Day 1 - Hero taken to mat 6 times throughout day and evening. OH not moving at start of behaviour so escalating to point having to lead Hero out. After 30 secs on mat Hero returned to room
    Day 2 - Only 4 times today and 2 of them he went to the mat as soon as cue given.
    Day 3 - rebellion....pulling at clothes worse, very bolshi, mouthing more, when cue to go to mat given, he started bounding around and went in to zoomies so difficult to lead from room but ignored this until he calmed down. Good few nips and bruises gained today. 7 times
    Day 4 - bit better day until evening when he approached OH and went to tug on clothes. Go away cue given and as soon as OH stood, Hero went in to zoomies again, bouncing about, jumping on sofa but no mouthing. A bonus. Only 4 times out today
    Day 5 - visitor came round today. Surprise surprise ...no behaviour exhibited. Then when she left Hero jumped up at OH who got bit frustrated and made grab for Hero's collar setting the zoomies off again. 2 more times this evening
    Day 6 - Bouncy when family arrived this morning but 4 PAWS cue and soon settle. Good behaviour. No jumping up, no mouthing, no pulling at clothes.. that evening headed towards Oh in his armchair once, Go away cue given and Hero did just that. Only once lead from room all day.
    Day 7 - a first...Go Away cue given when Hero went to climb up on OH. He took himself off to his mat and lay down. Wow. Only one bouncy time today but no jumping up humans, no pulling at clothes, no mouthing or nipping. Hero seems to be learning the boundaries on this behaviour
    Day 8 - a big test for Hero - oldest son came round for first time since we started this. Was bit nervous. But Hero was a star. Not one single instance of any of the behaviours. My son said he actually felt relaxed for the first time in months when round here and a big plus - he went home bruise free and no holes in his clothes.
    Going to call Behaviourist tomorrow with update. Things really going good at moment but won't get complacent as this is only just getting sorted in the house. Got to keep momentum going.
    It's certainly taught me a lot and the biggest thing is that after only a few days we are all more relaxed, and not so uptight about things. Seems this clearly has a knock on effect to the good as well. Well heyho. Positive mental attitude going great guns at the moment. Onwards and upwards is how we want to continue so negatives you can just go do one. We are learning finally( and I don't mean the puppy !!!!)
     
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  12. mummyp85

    mummyp85 Registered Users

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    I am Hero....I am a proper teenage boy.( Mum wanted to put a piccy in here but it just won't upload). Me and mum had a wonderful time at a big park today. Haven't been there before so got bit excited to start with, but mum let me have a good sniff about....oooh lots of different smells going on. Met lots of hoomans and was really good - didn't try to jump up anyone.
     
  13. mummyp85

    mummyp85 Registered Users

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    Just lost rest of post. Having difficulty typing lots of flickering in and out so will try to repost in full tomorrow
     
  14. mummyp85

    mummyp85 Registered Users

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    Hero after lockdown. Last time I posted was in March before the world went to pieces. We were doing well, looking forward to next level in lots of his training. Hero was starting to show what a super dog he may become. Then the brick wall went up and Hero's world changed drastically. Limited walks in the direct neighbourhood, no more off lead, us at home all the time, no one visiting, couldn't play with his pals and so on, just like for all your lovely doggies. But we adapted. So lovely long walks and play were out of the question so we improvised with loads of play in the garden and house, silly mummy was around everyday, recall training put on hold, but lots of other training and learning new things within our boundaries. After 3 weeks he stopped picking his toy up when he heard a noise and would rush to the window to see if anyone was coming to see him. Hero began to adapt. He and his friends could still shout to each other across the street even though he couldn't see them. He could still chase the ginger furball which kept coming over the fence.....it never learns lol. Hero settled into his new routine. Then things started to change....the powers that be said we could now take our dogs in the car to open spaces, which didn't really work for sometime cos all the gates remained locked, so we kept running and playing on the field nearby. He could see some of his friends but didn't understand why he couldn't get closer, so laying down and refusing completely to budge became a pattern till they moved out of sight. Must have been so frustrating for him. Things moved on slowly with more changes taking place....hey my people's can start to visit in the garden. Hero was beyond excitement and we had to start with small visits and build up gradually. Some anxieties were starting to show. But we've now reached a good point where Hero accepted the granddaughters sleeping over last Saturday. Still goes bananas when any of his hoomans arrive but that's a work in progress to get him back to a more polite level of greeting. Re-recall training has started up again on long line and he is doing fantastic. Actually obeyed whistle and turned away from another dog and returned to me the other day...that's a first. Did have a dodgy time several weeks ago with several days of diarrhoea, vet visits and tests. Turns out it's food related, so on Arden Grange white fish dried food which has settled him brilliantly, in fact best his poops have ever been. About to start introducing other foods gradually to try to discover what upsets his system. Already know Chicken, duck, beef, venison and other game through previous episodes so that one we've just got to keep working with. Have had some anxieties and over excitement with going back out into the world and open spaces where Hero has lost his ability to cope and either gets the zoomies, gets a bit mouthy, barks a lot or starts jumping up. But keeping record of possible triggers is helping and taking it slowly reintroducing him to the open water, Heath, woodland etc. Short visits only till he is more settled. So yes the world may have changed for us all but me and Hero stick together. He is my buddy through good times and low ones. The hard work goes on. He will soon be 15 months old...can't believe how fast it has gone. Vaccinations and full health check coming up in a week's time...our vets are great with him, after the last stomach episode, the vet has phoned me to keep a check on how things have been progressing, seen him when necessary and been fantastic considering how difficult it has been for them this year. Have to smile cos as I am writing, Hero is laying next to me on his back, stretched out fast asleep with all his glory on display. Could never call him a gentleman ha ha. We may have a few hills to climb over to get him back to his world before lockdown, but it's getting there slowly and at least I haven't been dragged through bushes or up the road since we got our freedom back so that's a big plus
     
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  15. mummyp85

    mummyp85 Registered Users

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    Hero's recall training. Since we've been able to take him out and about Hero's really gotten back on track with his recall retraining. Lots of long line practice, turning away successfully from distractions. It's been great. So this morning it was quiet on the field near us which is at the back of a row of houses, nearly all of which have dogs in the back gardens so he smells and hears them all the time we're on the field. But this morning, heart in mouth I decided to take a really massive step with him and for the first time in months let him off line to do his own thing. Was really nervous in case he bolted but my big clever boy came to me every time I called, he ignored birds and squirrels and didn't even bother about the dogs in the gardens. Bit of a nervous moment when another dog walker came on to the field, but he came straight to me when I called. Well done to my handsome lad. Not going to push it too far yet but oh my gosh it was so good to see the training starting to pay off. Long way still to go but this has made me so happy considering his history of bolting and I don't want him to have to be kept on a line forever. He looked so happy running about here's hoping it continues
     
  16. mummyp85

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    Hero at 16 months. First, simply because I am over the moon and cannot shower enough praise on Hero this morning - after weeks working on his recall again, and some tentative short periods of off leash with mixed results, today we went over the field. After a good wander and run around sniffing and investigating, I finally decided I've got to try reality so off came the leash for the rest of the walk. He was brilliant. Came every call even with me changing directions and 'hiding' sometimes, came away from distractions and observing him, he kept looking up often to see where I was. This is the first time I haven't had to jump up and down or make silly noises to get his attention. He listened to every whistle call and came racing back. We had a good hour messing about on the field and when ready to leave I just called out 'freeze' and he stood perfectly still until I reached him to reattach his lead. This has given me such a buzz. With other things this year, we've worked hard on resocialising Hero to busy roads and heavy traffic areas (an issue which arose after lockdown due to lower traffic volumes). When roads got busy again he got very skittish, pulling and biting at lead. Now he sits calmly and waits my signal to cross every time. Pulling on the lead became a big issue again last month but after reverting back to the front and back harness, circling round and waiting this seems almost resolved now. Still can't get past the cat issue but keep working on that one. Barking at everyone out front of house and car doors reared its head again as traffic increased and more people about, but using 'click for quiet' it's slowly getting better. Hero seems to be learning that it's ok to let me know but not acceptable to continue on and on. Mouthing and jumping up came back big time when more people started coming to the house again and with the children going back to school it means 3 grandchildren coming round morning and afternoon. Bit of work needed with this one but into the second school week he's starting to get the message again. Just wish other half would....he's still in need of lots of training methinks....but I'm determined he will learn. We still have off days, either me or the dog, but he is so lovable and becoming a fantastic pooch, I wouldn't be without him. He's definitely been a learning curve....never had another dog in the family like him but hey ho, onwards and upwards I hope with my handsome lad.
     
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  17. Edp

    Edp Registered Users

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    Great progress. Hard work paying off. Well done, lovely to read .
     
  18. mummyp85

    mummyp85 Registered Users

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    My Hero - (Stardate 16/11/2020)
    18 months old, goodness wherever has that time gone. Continuing to work on recall with my handsome lad. For the last 2months I've gradually been able to give Hero the freedom to run that he needs. We've stuck to a couple of familiar areas where he knows the other dogs that we are likely to meet, including his favourite pals(2 lovely retrievers and a blonde lab). We've worked hard proofing recall and he now comes every time called, even away fro his friends which is fantastic. No more bolting, not in these walking areas. It's super to see him having fun running about with his pals and when I call time to leave he comes every time. It's taken an awful lot of hard work to make myself more interesting than all the distractions but it's starting to show it's working. Yesterday and today even OH has had success with him off lead which is a big bonus. Today I thought time to upgrade the distractions - go to the main town centre park, more dogs, squirrels, blowing leaves and zillions of trees to sniff and pee up. Out came the long line and quite tentatively set out. We went round the whole park just letting Hero have a good sniff and explore occasionally chucking in a recall especially when other dogs about at distance. He was brilliant. Didnt even get rattled when 2 very yappy little dogs came charging across to him followed by a very flustered lady who kept say 'sorry' - deja vu time, a few months ago that was me bless her. Will continue working at this park until we reach the point we are currently at in his comfort walking zone. Hero my boy, I'm so proud of you, my great lovable bundle.
     

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