Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Life With Charlie

For me having Charlie around generally means one of three things; I have him at work at times, he's here with Coreena or I'm at Coreena's. Sometimes, albeit rarely at this point, he spends the night here.

This week, however, is a little different. A number of things are difficult for Coreena to work with him on due to Eva's influence. I also work very little this week (4.5 hours left for the entire week) so I have a lot of time to work with him. So, he's been here since early yesterday afternoon and will be here until further notice.

At this point he's doing well with relieving on-leash. He's not given an opportunity at this point to relieve off-leash. He's still not real responsive to Alex but will go every time I ask him to. His mouthing is getting better, although isn't where any of us would like him to be being five months old and all. He's doing tons better when it comes to mouthing us, he's still very mouthy with others though. When he goes to work on Thursday morning with me he'll be in his halti, just so I can manage his mouth.

He's gotten a haircut, nothing glamarous but we're trying to deal with his wiry, unruly hair as best we can.

He loves playing with Eva, but pretty well ignores my dogs as they refuse to play with him.

He wants to carry his leash Everywhere, at all times. He's sooo mouthy and wants something in his mouth at all times. He was driving Coreena and Max crazy by picking up and carrying everything at their house so I taught him to pick up his leash. Now he feels the need to carry it everytime we move. We're working on it, and he's coming along but it's slow progress. Sometimes he'll walk all the way to relieving area at work only trying to grab his leash once or twice. I've been trying to give him other things to carry, like a 3/4 full water bottle. Carrying that is a challenge for him as when the water shifts the balance is disturbed and he drops it. He's figuring it out though and will be a proficient water bottle carrier soon /wink/ His "get it", "bring it here" and "give" are pretty reliable at this point, as long as he knows what you're asking him to get. We haven't worked on "hold" because he wasn't wanting to "give" us things. His "drop" definitely needs work and we'll try to focus on it this week.

We introduced "dress" just a bit ago. I don't want to Lure him to dress, I want to shape it so there's not much progress here, at this point either. He's still at the point that when he gets frustrated with trying to figure out what I want he throws a "down". He'll figure it out soon and will be so much fun to train at that point.

His "come here" is pretty good, but could be better. "Come" hasn't even been introduced at this point. We want to get his "sit" and "down" to be a bit more solid before we introduce the formal "come". ("Come here" means come close enough to be to touch but in no particular position. "Come" means come to either my front or side and sit)

He walks well on a leash (besides wanting to carry his leash) although with this organization walking well on a leash simply means not pulling or being disruptive. Soon I'll introduce the "heel" and "side" commands, which aren't only the positions but also to walk with the handler attentively in that position. The desired response is more of an obedience style heel than say, what a guide dog is taught to walk like.

I'm not overwhelmed with teaching him at this point, because all he HAS to know when he goes back is the basics and his house manners. However, Coreena and I are both thinking we may eventually go back to raising guide dogs. The structure is much easier as a guide dog puppy should Never pick up something inappropriate whereas a service dog puppy just has to learn to drop it or give it on command. It gets frustrating at times. Especially with a certain little labradoodle in the house (and a few certain little goldens in the house before him).

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