Training Boi - Mobility Service Dog

tortoise

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Nothing glamorous today.

Trained basket retrieve in a different room.

Was able to add one lightweight object back into the basket.

Trained nose nudging a door closed on a different door.

Couple reps of new stand and down with food lure in a different room.

I left him home alone loose in a bedroom for the first time instead of kenneled. He was fine. Harness and bed were intact when I returned. 😅 He was sleeping on the bed. I was gone for an hour. I will start replacing kennel with confined to a bedroom. I'd like to put the kennel away - its HUGE!

We were stuck on the basket retrieve because of miscommunication. He perceived a bridge (sounds that mean "that's right and keep doing it") as a terminal marker (a sound that means "that's right, you're done, and treat coming!"). No rewards reduced his motivation. I switched bridge sound to something novel and his motivation and success improved. I made the mistake of not teaching him the bridge during a simple behavior before starting a more complex behavior. Lesson learned!

I am rusty at training. I havent really trained a dog for about 7 or 8 years. I had my last washout for 6 years, then a year without a dog, and Baymax was pretty much trained before I got her. 🤷‍♀️Its an opportunity to break my bad training habits? 😝🤣 I have soooo many of them 😁
 

tortoise

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I made some bad choices this morning and had an ugly training session on basket retrieve. He was confused, I was frustrated. 😑

DH, kids, Boi and I went for a shopping trip. DH prefers to go alone, but he knew I wanted to train in a store today and I was too tired to drive. So sweet. It was a quick stop at Menards. We each needed one thing for projects we are working on. I didnt do any planned training, but the exposure was good.

Boi rides in the middle of the backseat between my kids. His harness is clipped to the seatbelt. He sits on the seat, legs on the floor, and rests his head on the console or driver's shoulder.

We got drive thru and ate in the car, which was... interesting. :gig He was fine and I didnt allow him opportunity to try to take food.

It was good experience to take a trial run with taking Boi with the family. DH is a shy guy, so he avoids situations that I need help. He would rather push my wheelchair than having a service dog attract attention. 🤷‍♀️ I get a lot more attention when I use my wheelchair, soo.... whatever? 😁

After we were home for a while, Boi started engaging again - showing he is ready to train (or wants rewards). I tried the basket retrieve again, but set up my session better. He was able to hold onto the basket more reliably this evening. (He had regressed to throwing it this morning).
 

tortoise

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No news today. I've been having trouble sleeping for about 2 weeks. It has gotten the point that I cant take my meds, the sleep deprivation is intensifying POTS symptoms, and both make fatigue worse. Like the kind of fatigue that I try to take a bath but am too tired to wash and then have to lie down for hours because the bath-not-a-bath was so exhausting I cant even sit up anymore.

I had been worried that Boi would get bored, hyper, destructive in this situation. He was fine. 😍 He slept next to me most the day. DS13 potty walked him for me.

Hoping I can get this sympathetic overdrive turned around and catch up on sleep so we dont lose too many days of training. 🤞
 

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I finally slept well last night! 🎉

On Saturday something clicked for Boi and we made progress on basic obedience. I was able to fade out the lure on Splat (formal/fast down). I tried crawl behavior with food lure again, and this time he was successful.

Yesterday I tried teaching him a new way to sit. He had backed up into a sit. I want my dog's front feet to stay planted during position changes. Its not necessary for service dog work. I just like the clean look. I was expecting changing the sit would be stressful for him. Nope. 😲 He can do it. I'm useing food lure to keep his front feet planted and molding to guide him to bring his butt forward and tucked under. I'm very happy.

On Saturday I had a grocery pickup appointment and needed to go to the pharmacy. There was a long slow line at the pharmacy. I havent trained Boi for stay/duration yet. 😑 We got through it. He braced in a stand position to keep me balanced in a squat. We were in line 10 - 15 minutes. It was my physical limit, I was about to tap out. He was stressed. I was planning to go to one more store for training but neither of us were feeling able after that.

Last night at bedtime, I was sitting on the kitchen counter watching DS13 wash dishes. Boi walked in and put his paws up on me. Not a usual behavior from him. A minute later he did it again. I decided to "capture" the behavior. I've been wanting to train a dog to alert me to bedtime. I've never been successful with this behavior! So I sent DS13 to bed, and got myself in bed with the lights out as quickly as possible. Invited Boi up on the bed to snuggle. 💞 I hope my reaction sticks and he repeats the behavior again!

I have another rib subluxating. I was able to get it back in yesterday. But I think its time to start training Boi to help. The general process is training the dog to step on a specific object (like a folded washcloth) and lift the paw on cue. Then when more force is needed to fix a subluxation or dislocation, the handler places the item on the spot that needs more pressure and cues for the dog to put weight on it and stop.
 

tortoise

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We are working on position changes. Its a big chunk of behaviors because each change of position is a different behavior. Instead of training sit, down, and stand, we train:
Sit to stand
Sit [to stand] to down
Stand to sit
Stand to down
Down to stand
Down [to stand] to sit

I started down [to stand] to sit.

Something clicked for him on crawling behavior. I've been able to use the crawl behavior in the task of elevating my legs and starting to train the task of picking me up from child's pose. (He crawls under my arm, I hold his harness, he stands up. Now I'm sitting up.)

I changed strategy for his behavior when DH gets home. I started bringing him to DH and then he sniffs and gets over it faster. He has good days and not so good days. Baymax is often the instigator, and DS5 is a big part of the problem too. I'm working on training them also.

No luck on more bedtime alert behaviors. I hope he does it again someday!
 

frustratedearthmother

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Wow! Just wow! I'm laughing at the 'crawling' behavior. Raine does that every night, lol. I make the pups lie down and wait for their food until I give the ok. This little gal will start out 3 feet from her bowl and she really hopes I don't notice her doing a belly crawl towards the food. I generally give her a "stay" but we haven't even worked on stay yet. I just put my hand in front of her face and tell her to wait.

Started wondering if I should actually try to encourage the crawling behavior (when I tell her to) or try to stifle it because she's basically cheating on trying to get her food before I say it's ok. But, she's so darn cute, lol!
 

tortoise

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Some behaviorists say training an undesired behavior on cue makes it easier to stop it. I dont have experience with the strategy.

Its hard for puppies to wait! How old is she now?
 

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