Sunday, November 29, 2009

More training

Things continue to go well with Kane.  I am preparing her for her Canine Good Citizen certification test.  One thing I have noticed about Kane is that she does get a bit scared/overstimulated when there is a lot of stuff going on.  As such I have been taking her for walks on a nearby hike/bike trail to expose her to more/different stimuli.  She was terrible the first day we went.  There were so many smells and squirrels and people that she simply would not heel.  It took about an hour or so before she started to figure it all out.  If she went to the end of the leash and the leash became taught, I simply stop walking.  Fancy psychologist types would call this a "negative punishment," because I am punishing her for bad behavior by taking away a benefit, moving forward.

The second walk was better, but she still was not perfect.  She would decide that she wanted to check something out so she would pull, then I would stop and she would return to my side... only to pull again as soon as we resumed walking.  It was quite a little dance that we had going, but she was better by the end of the walk.  The nice thing about Kane is that you get to see some progress at the end of a training session.  I have trained countless dogs in which it took weeks to get the sorts of behaviors down that Kane picks up in a single session.

On the last walk, Cowboy and Sarah came along for the ride.  This was good and bad.  It was good because it taught Kane that she had to walk with me and not the other dogs.  It was nice to see that she can certainly walk and be in close contact with other dogs and still listen (though she was less than perfect).  It was bad because Cowboy would run and bark at everyone we encountered on the trail... everyone.  Kane got freaked out a bit when Cowboy and Sarah were barking and generally behaving badly.  The first time they went into their barking frenzy, Cowboy ran back to us and Kane snapped at him.  Kane was better by the end of the walk, but she was still a bit on edge and had trouble heeling when the other dogs were carrying on.  The interesting thing is that she never participated in the barking, she just got scared and overstimulated and stopped listening.

I was told that Kane was owned by a family which was not permitted to have a pit bull dog in their apartment complex.  Thus, she was walked very late at night and very early in the morning when she would not be seen by other people.  This seems consistent with her behavior.  She was not sure how to properly behave on a walk, but she has been wonderful greeting and hanging out with people in my house... something my own dogs have not mastered.  It may take a bit of time to desensitize her to encountering people and things while walking on leash, but I'm confident that we will get there.

She does so much well and she learns so quickly that I'm sure she will be able to adapt to most environments.  She has never had an accident in the house.  She has great focus when learning new stuff and she thinks training is great.  If I ask her to platz (down... it is actually German for "place") she does not just lie down, she throws herself onto the ground.  When she knows what she is supposed to do, man, she does it, and she looks thrilled to be doing it.  The problem will be keeping her from getting bored because she seems to want the mental stimulation.  I started teaching her roll-over (or "rollen" auf Deutsch) last night just to teach her something new.  She almost has it.

So, if you want to be a nutty dog person that competes in fly-ball, agility, or something like that, put Kane on your short list.

1 comment:

Vegan Burnout said...

How I wish we could adopt her! What a beauty. Lucy would love love LOVE a buddy to wrestle with. Alas, our house is at capacity. :( Hopefully we'll eventually be able to get Lucy into flyball/agility to channel some of her extra energy and she can make more dog-friends there. I know Kane will find an awesome home soon.