Monday, June 8, 2009

Commands (long)

Becky with Cricket just left a comment on Eola's post about all the commands she "knows" /grin/ I'll be the first to admit I've not been doing the best about putting her through her paces every day. I'll also say it's a whole lot easier to go through 12 commands a day versus 50! I'm completely willing to admit as well that part of the reason I've been so awful about putting her through her commands is my mind has been in the wrong place. Rather than thinking of Eola as a new challenge I've been looking at her as a new charge. A challenge makes me want to "fix" it (no, not the command /wink/) a charge lets me live with it /grin/

The recent upheavel and me very nearly losing the rest of my time with Eola and my "career" as an SD puppy raiser made me think about a number of things. Everything we're supposed to be working on now will become very important when translated to working in a wheelchair. No matter how much of a pain it is to work on everything everyday, it's important to Eola's smooth transition into a working dog. It also affects me though. When we start working them in wheelchairs (fairly soon) if I haven't worked with Eola out of a wheelchair I'm going to be pulling my hair out from frustration! It will also make us have a better working relationship now. Maybe we'll even be able to transition out of the headcollar (okay, maybe I'm dreaming /grin/)

So here's my newest plan (along with a description of what each command means).

Car - get in the car and chill. Depending on the car and the seat either chill on the seat, look out the window, whatever, or lay on the floorboard at my feet.

Dress - with the jacket held by the handle the dog is to be able to figure out where to put her head in, put head through jacket and walk into chest strap until snug and stand still for belly strap to be buckled.

Drop It - spit out whatever is in your mouth, now.

Enough - stop whatever it is you're doing. Specifically used with Tug but also at other times

Leave It - Ignore whatever it is drawing your attention

Let's Go - walk with me on a loose leash by my side (left of right whichever position requested). Right now accomplished with help of the Halti

Thank You - place whatever is in your mouth in my hand, nicely (right now more of a drop it response as when your hand is placed by her face she just spits what she has out, this is going to take a lot of work!)

Okay - the release command

The above commands are all used throughout the day without issue and that's pretty much the only way to work on them, through daily use. She's fairly good at all listed, the others have her current response listed with them /grin/

The below is what we'll have to work on everyday. Yes, they're able to be worked into the daily routine as well (i.e. "when working") but also need daily practice to make sure they stay sharp, controlled and effective.

First are her positions (handler both standing and sitting in a chair);

Heel - pretty obvious, her front legs are to be aligned with my left leg, facing forward and controlled.

Side - her front legs aligned with my right leg, again facing forward and controlled

Front - She's to be directly in front of me, facing me and straight. Her rear-end should be facing the same direction that me feet are pointing.

Across - She's to be in front of me with her side perpendicular to my legs. This is used for pocket access when the dog is working with a disabled person. She should stand with her stomach and chest over my feet when I'm standing.

Those need to be worked on everyday, again to keep them sharp and accurate as Front and Across can be quite confusing to the pups.

The following need to be done each day, in each position. So each command will be done at least four separate times and she's expected to maintain the correct position while executing the command.

Sit - again, quite obvious. She's to put her tush on the floor and hold that position until released or told another command. We also work on what's sometimes called an "up-sit" where we tell her to sit from a down position. A bit harder to understand but a major step in generalizing!

Down - Lay down on the ground, preferably not relaxing onto her side in most situations. Again stay in that position until released or told another command. Also work on down from a stand position.

Stand - From whatever position you're in stand up onto your feet. The desired stand is not one that requires the dog to move her front feet forward but rather simply unfold her back legs. It's a bit harder to teach then a forward propelled stand but is necessary for wheelchair work.

Closer - No matter the position you're in move your body closer to me. Starts with the rear end but also moves the head and shoulders closer as well. If I ask her to "heel" and she sits diagonally to me looking for a goodie (quite common actually with her) I can ask her to "closer" and she will swing her rear around into position (okay, maybe a little too far as she ends up behind me with her front legs and head in correct position but when translated to a wheelchair she's in correct positioning, we checked)

Turn - No matter the position turn and face the opposite direction you were facing. If in a Side and facing forward, when asked to turn she will simply turn and face backwards, always turning into the handler with about the end of her rib cage lined up with my right leg.

Back - move backwards in a straight line in any position (aside from Across). In "front" move straight back. At side or heel move in unison with handler

Those, along with the positions are the basic paces she'll be put through every day. Much like GDB's handlers obedience routine. Also thrown in will be Come and wait (again, like GDB's obedience routine).

Below are her other commands that need daily work.

Come - again, quite obvious. I want an immediate response to that command, no matter the distraction. She's already pretty good about it but I need to work it into the daily practice to make it real solid. I Only use the "wait" command with come, always! Stay means stay where you are until I return to you and release you. Wait means stay where you are until given a different command.

Fix - she doesn't know this one, at all. This command means if your leash is behind one of your feet figure it out. Lift that foot to release the leash. This is extremely easy to teach to a 10 week old and I just need to buckle down and teach Eola it

(Untangle) - I put this in quotes because it's a behaviour without a command. The dogs *Must* learn to follow their leash, it is not an option. You may remember my post here about Eclipse catching onto this behaviour. Again, this is something that is easier to teach to a younger pup and Eola simply doesn't know it. What we'll do to teach this is allow her to tangle the leash in fences, poles, toys, etc and simply stand there and let her figure it out. Hard to work into the daily practice but it's a good thing we live by an elementary school /grin/

Get It - At this point it's just used for socks on the foot and the tug toy. She simply expected to grab the indicated object with her mouth and wait for further instruction. We haven't yet introduced the sock to her but hope to this week.

Go Around - The dog is expected to go from point A to point B behind the chair the handler is sitting in. If in a side position and told to go around the pup is expected to go behind the handler and be in a heel position. We're not real precise on this yet as we just learned it at the last class but will be working on it daily

Lap - Same as CCI's lap command or KSDS' "here up" command. Dog is supposed to put relaxed front legs on the handler's lap, elbows and paws resting lightly on the lap (not standing on paws and exerting a lot of pressure in one spot) handler sitting

Visit - Dog is to rest head on handler's lap and remain calm, in any position. Handler sitting

Go In - Dog is to go under indicated object (i.e. desk, chair, table, etc). Needs to be worked on with dog going under chair the handler is sitting in as will transition to laying under a wheelchair in tight spaces

Go Through - At a threshold dog is to go through doorway, turn and face handler and wait while handler comes through doorway. Depending on situation dog may be asked to "back" and then return to position or just return to original position. Dog should not try continuing on to other side of handler but should go right back into position unless asked to back.

Go To (Your) Blanket - Go and lay on specific blanket, rug, towel, etc. Remain there until released.

Here - how we teach the positioning. With index finger extended hand is placed somewhere, dog is expected to put her head in that spot. (very easy to teach! Just hard to remember to work on)
Hurry - the relieving command. She is certainly potty trained and knows the command but I would like a quicker response to the command. We'll work on it. Any suggestions?

Kennel - go into crate and chill. This has been neglected due to her stress when left alone but will be worked on daily

Kiss - exactly as it sounds, lick indicated body part (hand, face, etc). Shouldn't be excessive or only one lick.

Move - again, exactly as it sounds. Move your body out of my way

Nudge - push a target with your nose. Right now we're working on extending the target from our hand on the end of a long stick. She's doing quite well with this.

Out - leave the room I'm in and chill. No specific position or spot to maintain, just stay out of the room. Again, she's doing very well with this

Paw - give indicated foot into my hand. She's doing well, even with her back feet.

Roll - roll onto your back from a down position and stay there until released

Settle - chill out. Relax. Calm yourself.

Shake - I have a hard time catching this behaviour. This is the actual shaking a dog does when wet or after laying down, getting out of the car, etc. If I could capture the behaviour better she'd be better at it /grin/

Snuggle - don't know how she does on this (I said I was bad about her paces!) Dog is expected to place her head on your shoulder and literally snuggle

Step - for use on stairs, used with balance dogs. When going up dog waits until commanded "step" then goes up one step and supports handler as they climb to that step. When going down dog stays one step above handler, again supporting them as they climb down, dog steps down only one step when given command. She does well with this until we're at the top or bottom of the stairs, then she wants to jump up or down the last steps /grin/

Tug - tug on indicated object until asked to stop with "enough"

Up - put front feet on indicated object and maintain position until told "off". She does go up very well but we need to work on maintaining it

Watch Me - maintain eye contact until released. Again, not sure how she does with it

That's all we've got for now! I really need to buckle down and make her sharp on all these!

Ally & Eola

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