Lyra – 5 months – Schutzhund preparation

Along with Lyra’s adult teeth came a brain.  A very nice combination. Her worries disappeared – almost overnight.  Everywhere I’ve taken her this week she’s been a rock. With people, she’s even more social than she was as a very small...

Lyra 4.75 months: my good dog is back – today anyway

Today I took Lyra for training with a few other trainers, and she was brilliant. She wasn’t afraid of anything.  She wasn’t hyper attracted to the other people and dogs present.  She needed very little sightseeing time before asking to work.  Her interest...

Lyra 4.75 months

Lyra is the wierdest puppy I’ve ever raised.  Certainly she is helping me understand what is meant by a “fear period,” because her ups and downs are much more pronounced than what I’ve seen in my other dogs. In a two week span, she’s gone...

Lyra 4.5 months – I Want My Good Puppy Back

Right now, Lyra has about one great session for every three mediocre ones.  There seem to be several things going on. For starters, she’s teething.  I think that makes her feel a little off. She is also in something of a fear period.  I can’t work her in...

Lyra – Working Through Fear

Today’s blog post was supposed to be a video illustration on teaching a dog to “out” (let go) of a toy. Lyra had other ideas.  She decided that my video assistant, Katie, was a potentially scary person, and playing with me and my silly toys was not as important as...

Lyra – Four months

Most of my training time with Lyra is really structured play – play that gets me the behaviors I want with maximum joy and energy. There are also a few skills that are more easily mastered when the dog is calm.  For these, I use food as the reward.  Food leads to a...

Lyra – 17 weeks

Wow; almost four months old now!  Lyra is losing her baby teeth and her soft, furry wool.  I miss the wool.  The baby teeth…not so much. When I brought Lyra home, I focused on her tug and retrieve skills.  Playing tug was easy since Lyra was born with talent in...

Lyra – 16 weeks, starting opposition reflex

Lyra is pretty good at paying attention to me, especially if I’m holding food or toys.  If I’m playing with her, I can usually get her to drive back to me with her toys for more interaction – she loves to tug and she understands that I’m a big...

Lyra – 15.5 weeks – working “out and about”

Lyra has worked away from home about ten times now.  Finding the “toy on a stick” was excellent luck, because she loves that thing. For those who have five minutes to kill and an interest in puppy training, I’ll go through this video with you, step...

Lyra – Environmental Cues (Part 2)

Enough people commented on the first “Environmental Cues” blog post that I’d like to revisit it with a few thoughts. Each of us is an individual with specific goals for our dogs.  Our dogs, in turn, have different innate tendencies to consider when...

Lyra – 13 to15 weeks – generalization

You know my doggy genius?  Well, she’s only that way at home. When we take the show on the road, she looks a lot like every other puppy.  She’s fascinated by every leaf, blade of grass, moving person, building, tree, and whatever else is in the world.  She...

Lyra – 14 weeks – re-evaluating my plan

Here are a few things I’ve learned or changed  in the past few weeks. I’m using more food.  What can I say…it works.  When I call her into the house, she now gets a cookie about 1/3 of the time.  That’s up quite a bit from what I had hoped for....

Lyra 13.5 weeks – play to work to play

Lyra has made great progress in her play and work skills. She consistently returns her toys to me – all types of toys including tug toys and stuffie toys. She knows what play and training are, and she puts herself into drive when we head for the training field....

Lyra’s socialization – the role of Environmental Cues

Someone recently asked me if I allow Lyra to socialize with other dogs.  The answer is, “it depends”.  With my own dogs, she has full access.  Since my dogs do not play with her, there is no reason to restrict her access to them.  Juno does play with her on occasion,...

Lyra – Blending Behaviors at 12 weeks 6 days

When Lyra showed some proficiency at a series of small behaviors, I wanted to string a few together.  I am starting by teaching her to pick the dumbbell up from the floor, climb on the platform, and return the dumbbell to me. Lyra has a pretty good understanding of...

Lyra and Structured Shaping

I’m a competition obedience trainer.  Someday I might play in agility as well.  As far as I can tell, there are certainly no more than a couple hundred tiny behaviors that I need my dog to master, and many fewer that I’ll actually name or consider an “end” behavior. ...

Luring, Targets, and Shaping, oh my!

When I first started training with food, I used luring.  If I wanted a sit, I held food over the dog’s head and waited for the butt to fall – saying “sit”.  Dog gets a cookie.  If I wanted a front, I took that cookie and centered it in front of my body.  Dog gets a...

Lyra – 12 weeks of age

I’m switching from “time she’s been here” to “age” for the titles of my blog posts about Lyra.  Makes more sense over the long run. Lyra’s doing great!  Either her food drive is increasing or I’m doing a better job at...

Lyra – Week 3, Day 1

I outsourced today’s lesson.  You’ll understand after you see it. Here’s a video showing extremely good play skills.  Four specific techniques are demonstrated; running away without holding the end of the toy (chase), “tagging” the dog...

Lyra – week 2, day 6

Lyra is doing very well. Mostly we play.  Play and play some more.  She gets the toy and we run up and down together.  I grab the toy when she catches up to me.  I’d love to play without a toy in her mouth, but she’ll target my legs and bite.  That hurts....

Lyra – Week 2, day 5

Today’s post was supposed to include a video of my brilliant puppy.  It didn’t turn out quite as planned. For starters, I forgot to do something with the kids.  So, predictably, they showed up within a few minutes.  Since this is not unusual and I usually...

Lyra – Week 2, Day 4

Lyra has reached some important milestones in her training. About three days ago she figured out that she could “work” me.  She started climbing on her platform with the intent of getting me to start play.  Until then, it appeared she was simply happy...