Week 18 August 30 thru September 5
It has been a mixed week in the training of Ellie. The weather is cooling down some and of course she wants to be outside every chance she gets. Who could blame her? After this long hot summer some cooler weather during our morning walks has bee a very welcome gift.
I am learning more about how to handle issues. The biggest challenge this week is the jumping. I have to get her where she will not jump on people. The retired military guy that lives across the street, and walks every morning, used to say hello to my pal Sam everyday. He cannot get anywhere near Ellie because she just goes nuts. At right around fifty pounds she is getting to be a handful to hold back. Normally I have been falling back on old habits which are trying to teach a dog like you would a child. The communication is so subtle, a move of the head, a hesitation, they all mean something. I am getting used to her and can feel without looking when she is fixing to jump up. In addition to the jumping she gets the “zoomies” and it takes a few minutes for her to quit. The zoomies are the periods of frantic energy where all training is forgotten and the pup or dog just goes nuts, running and possibly snapping as Ellie does. She gets that wild look in her eye and runs and hurls all fifty pounds in the air at you. She caught me in a very sensitive region below the belt the other day.
In order to get a handle on this I started thinking about what is getting her so excited and how can I get her to calm down? I did some research on the subject and from previous dogs, that turned out OK, I surmised that the zoomies are all part of puppy hood. Ellie gets several exercise periods a day so I am a bit re leaved to know it’s not that. Like I said before I am getting to understand reading the dogs energy like so many trainers talk about. I can see when she is beginning her frantic tantrums on the walk and I have been, for three day, stopping, turning my back on her and completely ignoring her. This was hard right at first as it was happening every couple of steps and I had to get used to how long to make the periods where I had my back to her. Everything I read from credible sources said that any training takes a lot of time. In addition we are entering the adolescent phase and I understand they tend to forget training from time to time.
Amazingly by the third day the rest periods are getting shorter and I can sense she is about to do but she stops and continues. I take this as a sign that progress is being made, for both of us.
It is fascinating to see some training actually working. It has been all me and the attitude I have when correcting. I have been working more on non-verbal with her as it is only logical that they do not communicate verbally and instead of expecting her to learn my language I should learn hers. The same techniques worked in the yard. Ellie started to get the zoomies and my wife starts to yell. This gets the dog that much more excited and she gets more frantic. I step in, grab the dog, talk softly to her and have her calm in a minute or so. I keep it up until I see that her attention has shifted from the zoomies to something concrete (a bird or squirrel or ball).
Ellie with all her challenges is really the turning point dog for me actually learning how to train. As bad as she can be she learns real fast and is eager to please.
She is becoming quite the retriever and fetch is the usual afternoon activity.
Do not misunderstand me the week has had it’s bad spots. She found a couple of, what used to be, rat carcasses. Thinking them to be smelly dog toys she made me chase her around the yard for a while before finally giving them up to me.
My wife has a small wading pool about three feet deep and six feet or so across. Miss Ellie has learned how to jump in and out. She is going for dips when she wants. I do not mind her in when supervised but on her own I am more than a little concerned. I am watching her closely if I let her out. It is fall and the pool will be down soon.