Baby Thor

Baby Thor

Training Thor

In January 2010, Thor, a 5-month-old weimaraner, came crashing into my life.

Here, I will outline the steps taken to train him to be a well-mannered dog,

to do agility, and to perform some service dog tasks.

At five months, he is pretty wild.

Friday, February 26, 2010

What Thor Knows

1. Housetraining is coming along well.  He has an occasional "pee" accident in his crate but they are few and far between.  I can get all bent out of shape over it or I can accept that that is where he is right now.  I prefer the latter.  Several people have suggested to me that he probably has an immature bladder and will grow out of it.  I have been allowing him brief periods of freedom in the house; no accidents!  I really think that Thor learned the basic idea/expectation of housetraining in his previous home.  He always gets vocal when he needs to go out, and I didn't teach that.  And he always tells the truth.  When we go out, Thor grabs a stick  or a ball, then quickly finds a place to pee.  If I want to stay out, so does he.  If I want to go in right away (because it is cold and windy and the middle of the night!), then so does he.

2. Thor understands the word "sit."  He responds better to the verbal cue than the hand signal.  The hand signal seems to be interpreted by Thor as an invitation to jump. So I've dropped it for now. May try to invent a new signal...

During his vet visit, the vet asked Thor to sit 4 or 5 times, and he did every time.  It was a big surprise to me to discover that he could transfer that skill to a new person. 

I had been frustrated that Thor was rocking backward into his sits.  This meant that if he was walking next to me and I stopped and asked him to sit, Thor ended up sitting well behind me.  I asked several people who are involved with competitive obedience for ideas to address this.  None had any suggestions for me.  So here's what I've done.  I come to a stop and say "sit."  I have food in my right hand, held forward of my body.  My left hand slides down Thor's back, no pressure, just a reminder.  It's working well and his "sits" are much better!

3. I have not done much with hand targeting simply because it wasn't fun for me.  Thor wasn't getting it.  (I need to be "clicked!")  Early today, I played hand targeting games with Glitter while Thor watched.  Tonight, Thor is targeting!!  Dogs do learn from other dogs, no question.

4. Lying down was very hard for Thor to learn.  For some reason, known only to him, he wasn't comfortable with the idea.  So we played click/treat for approximations--head bobs, front foot movement, reaching forward and down.  Within the last few days, he quickly and happily lies down on a verbal cue and/or a hand signal.  Wow.  He actually "pops" down the way my previous dog, Peabody, did.  Anybody believe in reincarnation?  [grin]  At times, he will even offer a default down.

5. Thor goes into his crate on cue, "Get in your crate," another skill he brought with him from this previous home.  Now that I am giving him bits of house freedom, I have noticed that if I am near the treat cupboard or fixing dog dinners, Thor will go into his crate.  Wishful thinking.  Good boy!

Next priorities:

1) Loose-leash walking.  I've been researching front clip harnesses; wish I could try one on and play with it before purchase but that's not going to be possible.

2) Change in location.  Once we have an appropriate harness, I'll  have to plan trips to various parks and parking lots to begin to expose Thor to different places and to generalize his learning.

3) Find a class in basic obedience, manners, tricks, or foundations for agility.  Anything just to get Thor out and about.

4) Handling.  Thor needs to accept handling of his feet, mouth, tail.  He does not like having his nails clipped; it's the only time he puts his mouth (gently) on my hands.

1 comment:

  1. Melinda, we have tons at NEBCR. I'm sure we could lend you one! Kathy may even have one at Sugarbush. (We have the Easy Walk Harnesses.)

    Are you close to Nassua Vet? I have heard good things about their classes.