Fonzie and Amber are doing fantastic with their respective lessons. Amber learns very quickly by closely watching and then mimicking Fonzie, so teaching her the basics of obedience is much easier. Like all puppies, she does tend to stay focused when she knows there’s a food treat coming, but she did a really good job on Tuesday of working for a few minutes without the food reward. When she did get a treat, it made it all the sweeter for her, and she was more than happy to work for another one.
Though they’ve only had two lessons with the target exercise so far, both Fonzie and Amber are doing very well. I had to make some adjustments to accommodate their height – both are lower to the ground and had trouble reaching the target at hip height; once that was addressed, they were both able to successfully nose the target every time.
Targeting is an important component of Fonzie’s learning. Currently, he does detect changes in his owner’s body chemistry that signal the onset of an anxiety attack, but he doesn’t know how to alert her, and he doesn’t know how to support her when she becomes overwhelmed. Learning to target specific areas on her body – which is actually a labor-intensive and time-consuming process – will help him change that.
Amber is learning her basics by watching Fonzie. She does need a lot of work learning to focus and hold her position, but she’s getting there. Her humans are learning about when and when not to reward, as well as how to reward properly, and that can be challenging. Even the most subtle of actions reinforces a behavior – whether wanted or unwanted. So, while both Fonzie and Amber figure out fairly quickly what’s being asked of them, it’s still quite a learning curve for their people.
Overall, Fonzie and Amber are making good progress. We’ve only had two lessons so far, but both dogs are very smart, they learn very quickly, and best of all, they and their people enjoy the work and have fun with it. When you have fun learning and practicing, you want to do it again… and again, and again and again.
Have a great day, and remember: Stay calm and lead on.