Training Boi - Mobility Service Dog

flowerbug

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Dogs seem to always have to have that last bark. It goes around the neighborhood, even a mile or two away. Just when I'm getting back to sleep, It's Carson's turn...BARK! BARK!

Boi tossed the basket, then picked up the bottles and brought it to you, that's pretty darn impressive. You are one heck of a dog trainer!
if you could get this reliable for beer delivery you'd be a billionaire...
 

tortoise

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Boi is becoming afraid of DH now. 😲🤔 Nothing happened, so its strange. DH has been super patient. Sits down on the floor and waits for Boi to approach and sniff. I have some raw meaty bones saved in the fridge for having Boi lay next to DH with a high value treat. IDK. We are concerned. It could be a "fear period" and not be a problem. Or it could make him wash out.

I'm keeping training demand to a minimum while this plays out. The only task I'm training is the basket retrieve. Reviewing some heeling cues. Lots of chill out kennel time. Lots of low stress fetch play outdoors.

IDK. 🤔

DH is going to neuter him early in hopes of not fueling any possessive behavior. If he becomes possessive of me, he washes out. Thats not safe for working in public or if I need assistance when I'm unconscious. His neuter appointment is next week. Thats another reason to not start training new skills right now.
 

tortoise

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I combined some behaviors Boi already knows into a new task. He can compress my legs and keep me balanced when I'm sweeping. 😍 He doesnt move with me smoothly yet, but that will come with time and repetition.
 

tortoise

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Today's fear behavior was less bad, still not okay.

Still working on basket retrieve. Teaching him to set it down didnt interrupt his behavior of throwing the basket. Today I tried having him retrieve it from 2 feet away so his fling is into my hands. (And build distance later) I see some other behaviors that need work. He is turning to my left, and throwing in to my left. I can try blocking with my left leg, putting treat bucket on my right side, and making him get in a straight front position before the retrieve cue. These things dampen his enthusiasm and he refused to retrieve twice.

I need to work on his back cue with higher value reward so that using the back cue doesnt affect the rhythm of training sessions.

Another behavior I noticed is he will put his neck over the basket handle and turn his head back to grasp it. Much like flicking your wrist to throw a frisbee. Not good for this task! 😂 I need to be more selective about how he targets the basket handle. Back up to target and grasp, forget retrieve until I dont see him overshooting the basket.

I'm not too concerned about these minor setbacks. He has shown he understands to move the basket toward me and he is willing to do it, so we're over the hump of retrieve training.

He is stuck on tug training. He doesnt like to tug against an immobile object, such as for tugging a door open. He is doing fine on tugging to assist to sit and stand. Because he is tugging on cue appropriately there, these other tug tasks are lower priority. Someday. 😊
 

baymule

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Even if he turns out to have issues in your household that makes him a poor fit, I'm sure he would be welcomed elsewhere. Maybe not what you want to hear, but keep it in mind. He is still a valuable animal in his own right. I am amazed at your and his progress. I see a future for you in training service dogs for other people!
 

tortoise

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I added a knotted fleece handle to Boi's basket, and used strategies noted above. He did several really nice, clean basket retrieves! Something clicked! The hard part is done - getting him to understand what I want him to do. But the long part remains. I will be shaping this so he can retrieve the basket from any room in my house to any room in my house. I use the basket to hold medication so I am focusing on retrieving to the couch and bed, which are most likely needs.

With this understanding in place, I can go back to the bucket task. The bucket is more challenging. Plus, rather than being a "bring it to me" task, its a carry or "take it away" (deposit) task. I want him to carry items in the bucket around the house when I'm using my wheelchair, and also for him to take the bucket up or down stairs and leave it.
 

tortoise

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Even if he turns out to have issues in your household that makes him a poor fit, I'm sure he would be welcomed elsewhere. Maybe not what you want to hear, but keep it in mind. He is still a valuable animal in his own right. I am amazed at your and his progress. I see a future for you in training service dogs for other people!
If he doesnt work out, I would contact his former family first. He would be over the adolescent phase, calmer, and be trained safe leash walking, safe tug and fetch, etc. They are really great people but he was too much for them because of these missing pieces of training.

Its still more likely to work out than not. He was not afraid of DH for the first month, and nothing happened that would cause fear. I'm cautiously optimistic.
 

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