Sunday, May 25, 2014

A full agenda

March 7, 2014

What Tammy plans for an afternoon training session feels like a 400-level college class syllabus. Surely there is no way for us to get everything done in the allotted time! Yet, somehow she manages to lead the group through the relaxtation protocol, recall games, shaping calm greetings, rear leg work with a ladder, loose leash walking and blindfolded handler's exams followed by blindfolded recalls.


Baraga raisers formed a circle and took turns calling each puppy. "They were having fun," Tammy said.

A black lab puppy is running away from the camera toward a man dressed in prison blue uniform. The man is kneeling on the cement floor with his hands on his knees, calling the puppy. There are men and one woman standing in a circle on either side of the kneeling man, the men all have the prison uniforms on and the woman is to the kneeling man's left, she is wearing a grey sweatshirt and blue jeans. There is a golden retriever facing the woman, and a smaller black lab puppy is sitting facing the kneeling man from the right.
FLD Bear heads toward Steve during the recall game.
A man dressed in the prison blue uniform is kneeling down on a tile floor with a small black lab puppy between his knees. He is holding something in his hand in front of the pup's nose and looking down at the puppy. An african american man dressed in the prison blue uniform is bending over a yellow lab puppy. He has a treat in his right hand which is right in front of the yellow lab's face.
Sometimes a puppy gets distracted. Here FLD Axel is more interested in checking out FLD Copo than in coming to his handler. Tammy coached Mondo on when and how to use a "lure" to redirect Axel's attention.
The man on the left is kneeling with a small black lab puppy, he is holding the puppy by the collar and looking down at him. The puppy is sitting between his knees and is wearing a Future Leader Dog blue bandana. The yellow lab puppy is following the african american man's right hand, which is holding a treat. The yellow lab, also wearing a Future Leader Dog blue bandana, is reaching toward the man's hand. The man is backing up away from the black lab puppy. There are several men forming a circle around the two men and pups.
FLD Axel decides to follow Mondo.

A lure can be a useful tool in managing a situation such as getting your puppy from "A" to "B" when you know your puppy will not be able to ignore a big distraction. A lure can also help introduce a new behavior, like "down." However, the lure must be phased out quickly or the puppy won't have a chance to really learn - it will merely be following its nose!


The progressively difficult exercise to shape calm greetings gives the pups opportunities to earn rewards for sitting calmly in heel position. The greeters approach the handlers and pups from a distance, only a few steps at first, then stop and go back to the start position. Puppies who remain in a sit earn a reward. The helpers approach again, this time a bit closer. Puppies who hold a sit are treated. If any puppy gets up, the greeter turns and walks away.

Gradually the greeters move closer. Then they reach out to the pups without touching them. Eventually the greeters are able to walk up, shake hands with the handlers and reach down to pet the puppies.

The pups learned that doing nothing except sitting earns them a treat! How hard is that? The teams were able to work up to an excited greeting from two different people. FLD Bear surprised his team by holding still when, at the end, I rushed up to squeeze his puppy face.

"They did it beautifully," Tammy said. Everyone followed her directions. "Everybody," she said. "The greeters, the puppy raisers, the puppies." She wished we had videotaped the exercise. "It was picture perfect!"


Unit 8 has no stairs. We are told that a wooden set is being built for the puppies to practice on in the yard. RUM Steve warns that it will not be stationed near the fence.

In the meantime, the raisers walk their puppies through the rungs of a ladder. This helps the pups realize they have back legs!

Two men are bent over at the waist looking at two puppies. The man on the left is reaching to a small black lab, he is holding the pup's collar and leash with his left hand and luring the puppy with a treat in his right hand. The puppy is negotiating his way through the rungs of a ladder that is lying on the floor. The puppy is looking on the ground between the rungs. The man on the right is looking at a golden retriever who is sitting on his left side. The golden is wearing a Future Leader Dog bandaa. Both men are wearing the blue prison uniforms with orange strips on the legs and shoulders.
Ryan helps FLD Copo walk through the ladder while Luke and FLD Harper wait their turn.


Tammy demonstrates loose leash walking, first with FLD Harper and then with FLD Axel.

A yellow lab puppy is walking on the left side of a woman wearing a grey sweatshirt and blue jeans. You cannot see the woman's head or upper body. She is holding the leash loosely with her left hand and her right hand is in her right pocket. Five men dressed in blue prison uniforms are to the right watching, two are standing and three are sitting down. A small black lab is sitting on a grey mat on the far right side. You can just see a golden retriever lying down behind the woman's legs on the left side of the photo.
FLD Axel keeps a nice loose leash. Later, when viewing this photo, Tammy wanted me to make sure everyone knows when she marked Axel's loose leash with a "YES," her right hand was at her side and NOT in her pocket. "I was reaching for a treat just as you snapped the photo," she said.


Beno put the cardboard blindfold on and said, "I'm going to be blind the rest of the day." In the group photo from my last post, you can just see him in the back row wearing the blindfold.

A man dressed in the blue prison uniform is blindfolded and is bending over a small german shepherd puppy. The man is reaching down with his hands toward the puppy. The puppy is lying on his left side and is fast asleep.
Little FLD Dax is soooo tired he sleeps right through a handler's exam.
A man dressed in the blue prison uniform is cradling a small black lab puppy on its back in his lap. The man is blindfolded, he is holding the puppy's right front paw with his right hand and supporting the puppy with his left hand. The puppy is looking at the camera.
Do you think raiser Harvey cares much for FLD Copo?
A low shot of a yellow lab puppy slightly out of focus moving away from the camera, and looking to the left. A man dressed in the blue prison unform is squatting down facing the puppy with his arms hanging to the floor. The man is bald and is wearting a blindfold.
FLD Axel considers his options during a blind recall.

We are impressed with the Baraga inmates' teamwork. Tammy said, "When we did the ladder, each team made sure all three team members had a turn with the pup at the ladder." Later, when she asked for a volunteer to try the loose leash walking in front of the group, Ricky and P elected their teammate Black to work with FLD Bear. "Have him do it because he does a great job with loose leash walking," they said.



  1. Tammy..... Thank you so much for posting these pictures! Harvey is having such an awesome experience with this! Copo has been so amazing for him! He just adores that little guy. The pic of him blind folded holding Copo was precious!

    1. So glad you are enjoying the pictures...thanks for reading!