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.
|FLD Bear heads toward Steve during the recall game.|
|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.|
|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!
MEET & GREETS
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!"
REAR LEG WORK FOR STAIRS
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!
|Ryan helps FLD Copo walk through the ladder while Luke and FLD Harper wait their turn.|
LOOSE LEASH WALKING
Tammy demonstrates loose leash walking, first with FLD Harper and then with FLD Axel.
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.
|Little FLD Dax is soooo tired he sleeps right through a handler's exam.|
|Do you think raiser Harvey cares much for FLD Copo?|
|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.