Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 1: Settling In

Tintin traveled well in the car  -- and after the long drive he was more than ready for some adventures. A hike was first on his list of things to do.
Chanterelle hunting in the forest

Considering his next move

On the ridge
Next some ball play --  something familiar forTintin, and the way to many a terrier's heart...

So many smells to enjoy!

Now for some recall practice

Tintin, COME!

"Good, aren't I?!"
Tintin stole Ranger's Kong so we could play Two Toy Fetch

In the dog world, possession is 10/10s of the law

Time for a paddle in the creek

Playing with Ranger among fallen Big Leaf Maple leaves

Happy dog

Dirty, happy dog!


Day 1: Down by the Riverside

The Yachats River is peaceful on a Fall afternoon. Tintin watched Ranger paddling for a bit, and then decided he wanted to get in himself.

Paddling Pals

River monster

Almost swimming ...
"Tread Softly, But Carry a Big Stick"

Call of the Wild

Day 2: TRaining Day

Tintin worked hard today. It was raining so we trained a lot indoors, but we also practiced  recall outside, hiked and played games.

Tintin is doing great with house training- no accidents at all. He is also beginning to shine at recall -- the main difference being the speed and enthusiasm with which he comes when he is called, even from out of sight up a trail or across the meadow. We play a  lot of games as rewards for coming -- especially games that mimic terrier-style predation. Kibble Frog Flick is his favorite -- he comes running and I flick a piece of kibble off my thumb nail into the grass, imitating the action of a frog or mouse. He loves to sniff and pounce! Today Tintin even made up his own recall game -- dashing madly across the meadow to bug Ranger by jumping at his head, then zooming back to me when I called, for more games and treats. He did this about 10 times before he got tired of it and we moved on to something else.

Tintin's big prize for a day's hard work was self-initiated- a yoghurt container left by the bear when it dragged a bag of garbage into the bushes. It was ripped and had claw holes in it. No point going head to head on that one -- Tintin wasn't giving it up for anything at first. Eventually he traded for cheese, but in the meanwhile, it was the object of some serious experimentation.
Look what I found!

A muzzle?

What else can I do with this thing?
Tear it?

Or maybe wear it, Elizabethan style

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 3: Green Ridge Hike

After a good morning's work on the day's main lessons, Tintin had his best afternoon yet - hiking on Green Ridge with Ranger, a new friend - Sy, a 5 year old Smooth Coated Collie - and their humans. While the people hunted for mushrooms and took photos, the dogs enjoyed the forest trail as only dogs can - all noses and flying paws.

Three friends starting out on the trail.

Hmm, what's this?

May I have a go after you, Tintin?  Ummmm ... No!

Intrepid explorer

Flying recall
Tintin's recalls on the trail were stellar! He came zooming back whether he was called as he was running away or towards us. On one occasion he did a turn-on-a-dime recall that amazed me. Good job, Tintin!
Bugging Ranger is WAY fun!

Knee capping is fun too. Now where are some knees?
By the end of the hike, Tintin had had so much fun and got so excited he was dive bombing both the older dogs and mercilessly bugging Ranger, jumping and biting at his face and generally making a pest of himself. So it was time to settle and focus, by playing Choose to Heel. this is an off-leash exercise where the dog is rewarded each time he chooses to check in with me. Tintin impressed everyone (especially Ranger) with his ability to be called away mid-jump, and settle into walking by my side, off leash and completely focused. After a few minutes, the exercise had served its purpose, and Tintin went back to running free, but with no guerilla tactics, all the way back to the car. 
Tintin, let's go!

What a super dog!

The big dogs get the last laugh -- guess who's going to have to be hosed down!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 3: Learning From Each Other

The third day of a Board and Train stay is often a turning point, as I get to know my canine guest better and he shows me what I need to know to help him learn and be successful.

One of Tintin's challenges (he's a terrier after all, and a teenage terrier at that) is learning to tolerate frustration - the kind that a young dog feels when he wants to do something or go somewhere that circumstances don't allow. Like staying by himself behind a barrier (a door, a fence), in a confined area (room, kennel/crate, car) or on a leash or tether (e.g. tied up outside a store). All useful life skills - but not Tintin's idea of a good time. What's a dog to do? Bark, whine, scrabble -- is anyone going to listen to me and LET ME OUT OF HERE!

Realizing that it was asking too much of Tintin to stay by himself in a new and strange environment,even for a short time, I set the bar lower, with mild restraint and/or restriction of his options: a few minutes in his kennel with me in the room, longer periods on leash tethered to me or a piece of furniture in the same room as me, and finally, after he was very tired from hiking, a very short time alone in his kennel in his room. On a tether, Tintin fairly quickly makes a choice to sit or lie down, and is rewarded for that. In his kennel, he is rewarded for lying down quietly, and also for calm exits (Sit/Stay while the door is opened). After the hike, Tintin stayed quiet in his kennel while I left the room and returned five minutes later. Success!!

Self-amusement toys like this Tricky Treat ball are good for channeling frustration
After a good nap, Tintin was up and raring to go again, so ... time for evening classes.

Another exercise in self control is the Go to Mat/Bed game. A dog can learn to associate pleasant relaxation with a mat or dog bed, towel or blanket. Handy for helping Tintin to settle in  a variety of exciting settings.

First he was rewarded for choosing to put one paw on the mat, then two, then four, then for sitting and then lying down on the mat. In between he got to play Pounce on the Kibble Mouse with a treat tossed along the floor away from the mat to set him up for the next try.

Appearances (in the photo) to the contrary, Tintin loved this game and learned it in 5 minutes flat (he was so quick with it I wondered if he had learned it before?)

This game's fun but get that camera out of my face!
After his lesson, Tintin put it into practice during dinner - he lay down so nicely on his bed, didn't fuss with the tether, and did Down/Stays with me out of sight, walking in and out of the room, etc. A very peaceful evening with a very sweet, smart dog.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 4: A Day in the Life

Today was a perfectly beautiful Fall day -- filled with nature walks, training walks, training exercises and games, cuddles and fun. A good day for a photo essay on a day in Tintin's Board & Train life in Yachats...

 Tintin slept well all night, cozy in his crate. In the morning  we had  a big cuddle before going out for a sniff walk in the misty meadow. We practiced some recall, and Tintin managed to snack on a teeny bit of deer scat. Yum.

Misty morning contemplation

Hmmm, who's been here lately?

Aha! Deer! Yumm!

The first session of the day was a review of lessons from the day before - we ran through foundation skills such as Sit, Down, Stand, Come, Walk With Me, Bed (go to a bed or mat and lie down), and Touch  (target palm with his nose), using breakfast for training treats. Tintin was eager, quick and  accurate -  he loves fast-paced training with lots of variety.

After a play break, Session 2 focused on Bed, taking it a bit further and building up gradually so by the end of the session Tintin could approach from different directions up to 10 feet away, and plop down on the dog bed. He did great! Then we moved on to a couple of new cues to keep things fresh: Up! and Off! (Up -- jumping up into a car or onto a flat surface such as a vet's exam table or a grooming table) ; Off -- useful for getting down from the same places).he learned these in pairs, hopping happily up and down off the sofa bed. An easy one for him. We also played targeting  - touching with his nose to my palm, first in all directions close to his nose, then following a moving target.

Next  another play break and a cuddle on the sofa -- after he Said Please (did a Sit for permission to jump up) -- first with Julie and  then with me.
Tintin has chosen Julie as his personal masseuse

Rub my belly, please!!!
Furry, blurry and cute - front end

Furry, blurry and cute - back end
FOR SURE there is something alive in here 

A sublime moment
Canine facial art.
After all that fun, Tintin had a little quiet time so he could calm down and relax. Then we drove to Waldport for some training practice in town. Tintin is always good in the car, traveling quietly in a crate. We  practiced controlled exits out of the crate -- Sit-Stay to have his leash put on, and wait for permission to jump out of the car.

We did some leash walking practice around Ray's Supermarket car park - all new and quite exciting so Tintin had a bit of trouble focusing at first, and was too distracted to take treats. So we worked with his harness and lots of direction changes to help him remember to keep the leash loose, and after a little while his leash walking skills came back to him.

Then we worked on a Relaxed Wait outside the store, tethering him to a post at the edge of the store, and building up  in tiny increments of duration and distance. By the end of the session, he was able to wait quietly with no barking while I went out of sight for a count of 20 (initially he barked when  I went 10 feet away and was still in view).

Not my favorite thing - but hey, I am not barking!

Charming the community of Waldport
 After a succesful morning it was time to rest and relax again -- while I had lunch, Tintin held a relaxed Down-Stay in Ranger's bed in the kitchen (no tether needed)
See, I can do it!
I am getting sleeeeeepy ....
 A Really Relaxed Down-Stay!

Is it time to wake up yet?
After some play time in the meadow Tintin was ready for a proper nap - in his crate with the door closed. He fussed for a minute or two then flopped down  and went to sleep with his new toy - a yellow duck stuffed with crinkly plastic (one of his favorite home-made toys is a plastic water bottle with kibble in it - he loves to chew on it in and make a lot of noise).
Which one is the real animal?
The rest of the day was spent outside in the garden, practicing recall from time to time, and playing with toys in the meadow and in the house. The last training session was a Relaxed Stay on his bed as we had dinner. he was very good - but enough is enough for a young dog... After that he had to do some serious noisy playing with all of his favorite squeaky and crackly toys before crashing once again.

A high point of Tintin's day was getting to hear his Mamas' voices coming out of my computer while he was eating his dinner. As soon as he heard Gail's voice, he looked up and stopped eating. The same when he heard Noma. On the phone he listened with great interest to the sound of your voices, then rushed around the side of the house to look for you. After we hung up, he went wild dragging a large stuffed sheep around the meadow. He seemed very excited to have contact with you, even if he couldn't quite figure out where you were.
Hi Mamas!

I miss you !!