Training days 8/9 more counter conditioning and desensitisation to touch

Giving me his paw!

Giving me his paw!

It has been so cold and rainy outside but no excuses! Tonight we did some training on our couch bed watching a movie. Ranger is getting really comfortable with me handling his paw and I’m feeling confident to move on to the other one. Syrah didn’t want to be left out so we did some training with her too, handling around her lower back and tail which she is a little hesitant about. I was surprised to see that she is more sensitive about that than Ranger is about his paws… Always something to work on.

Syrah

Syrah

 

Syrah

Syrah

Ranger

Sleepy boy

Ranger

Training Day 4 – Obedience Class

I take Syrah to obedience most weeks and today as I could fit two crates in my car I decided to take Ranger too. Syrah loves getting in the car, travel and going anywhere really as the drive is the fun part for her. Ranger got in the car without too much fuss, I had put Syrah in first so it might tempt him to jump in. As soon as we started driving though he was back to hiding his head in the corner and shaking. When we got to the turnoff to class he surprised me by jumping up  and sniffing and getting quite excited so that was really positive!

I took Syrah to her usual class then half way through put her away and got Ranger out. We didn’t go into a class but just kept about 5-10 metres away from the class I had just been in. At first he appeared really nervous, tail tucked, ears back, eyes darting and had a small lunge and bark when a lovely Collie just looked at him, we did a quick ‘lets go’ and walked away, returning a little while later. I just kept shoving treats in his mouth, he was happy to take food when he wasn’t looking around (like how we started with the birds). After a few minutes we started a bit of a routine of him looking at the other dogs, to get him back to me I marked the behaviour with a ‘yes’ and he would turn around to get his treat… like we did with the birds. If he had looked at the dogs for a while and voluntarily looked at me I also gave him a reward, we worked on lengthening the time he was looking at the other dogs between every treat and I was really happy with his progress. If I ever thought he was starting to go from a look to a ‘stare’ or it was becoming intense I called him name and rewarded him.

We had to walk away a few times when I thought people or dogs got too close and the whole session with Ranger took about 10 minutes and he did very well, he was gaining confidence the whole time and we ended on a good note.

This is his little vest that he wears which I think is a nice level of warning without making people afraid of your dog.

Training Day 2 and 3

Ranger was faced with some massive challenges over the last two days. I decided on a spontaneous visit to the Hunter Valley and of course the dogs had to come too. Ranger is afraid of the car and the two hour drive was his first big challenge. I fitted two crates in the back, one for each dog so he at least had a safe space to be in when we went into wineries.

Day 2

I had to lift him in to his crate initially to get us moving and on the road. He was terrified and was shaking for a long while, with his head in the corner, this is something we really need to work on. I do realise this is not a great position to put him in but I think it was much more important for him to be with us than left at home.

One really positive thing about Ranger is he has a very speedy recovery time, on arrival at our cabin he was happy as could be and excited to explore. Its great to see him so comfortable and in the bush and with lots of space for him to be off lead he is so happy, his whole facial expressions and body language is instantly joyful. I really love seeing him like that and it makes the scary car ride worth it. When we are not interacting with him he was content to be tethered to a tree with my other dog Syrah (chocolate).

Lots of good smells on the pee tree :)

Lots of good smells on the pee tree 🙂

Its interesting to note that he has little problem getting in the car when we are away and whenever we stopped for a little explore or toilet break he was very keen to get back to his safe crate. The dogs behaved so well over the weekend and its almost like Ranger is a different dog when we are away.

 

Day 3

This morning we had a good walk and explore around the property we were staying at, including a dam which he walked right into for a dip. Ranger is very good off lead so was allowed to roam freely while Syrah did all her exploring on a long lead. Doggies had a lovely time and we quite happy to chill in their crates while we stopped at a cute cafe for breakfast and coffee. The trip home was once again challenging for him but he is home safe and sound and ready to get back into training tomorrow.

Do I spy a roo?

Do I spy a roo?

The Hose & new camera

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It was stinking hot yesterday so we got the hose out and gave the dogs a much needed wash. They love the hose and its great exercise. Also a good excuse to try out my new Nikon D3200. Its such a great camera. I cant wait to figure out how to use it! These are my first attempts with it, if nothing else to look back on how I have improved, hopefully!