Lacey has been making very good progress with her basic lessons. As you can see in this short video, she is still vocalizing during exercises, and she is not coming all the way in and sitting when she is called. But, progress is progress, and at 6 months of age, Lacey is doing quite well.
Last night’s training session also included claiming space at the door by teaching Lacey to go to “place” and stay there when the door is open (see previous post). For this exercise, we put Lacey’s leash on as a control in case she broke position and tried to bolt outside. Although she did break position a few times, overall, Lacey did fairly well with the exercise. Her owner will continue to work her on this until Lacey consistently accepts and abides by the rule and shows she is ready to work without the leash.
Lacey’s vocalization during exercises is ongoing. When she doesn’t want to do an exercise, or when she doesn’t want to do it properly, she barks and grumbles in protest until she gets her own way. Not only is this disrespectful, it is also a clear sign that she is still not accepting her humans as pack leaders. To begin the process of trying to turn this behavior around, we used a hand gesture and the word “quiet”, and rewarded Lacey’s compliance accordingly. When Lacey vocalized, I had Tanya stand calmly and quietly and give her direct eye contact, and use only hand gestures to reinforce the command. Lacey vocalized for several seconds before finally surrendering to the command and doing the exercise properly. When she did that, she was rewarded with touch.
Tanya’s timing for reward-delivery needs some fine-tuning. She is doing really well, but she is still a bit late on delivering the reward, and this can confuse Lacey. So, we are working on improving this. As she gets quicker, Lacey will start to understand exactly what Tanya is asking of her. Once she is clear about that, her vocalization should start to diminish.
All in all, last night’s training session went very well. Lacey still has a long way to go, but considering her age, she’s actually doing very well. Tanya has worked very hard with her, and it’s showing.