Sunday, November 30, 2014

Enhanced set up for the dogs!

In our dinning room we have an area that is set up of 3 different spots for the dogs to hang out on.   Two spots on top and the third in the crate.  Catty and D'light love this set up and they both spend time on the top of the what we've created.  Given it's getting chilly, the holiday gift of a warming blanket came early!

I have the blanket spread out over the beds and then under the other blankets.  I'd forgotten that I'd bought a therapeutic memory foam bed for foster dog Torii (which she didn't care for) and I put that where Catty is laying.  The new bed warm therapeutic is pretty popular!

D'light clearly needs to make himself more comfortable!

D'light  enjoying the warmth of the blanket!

Sweet, relaxed boy

Good lookin dogs enjoying their new area!


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Catty wants to try out the scratch board

Catty LOVES and I seriously mean LOVES to train!  When I started getting serious about training with Catty I remember telling our trainer Lori Stevens that Catty was just too smart for me.  I had a pretty steep learning curve to catch up to Catty.  But, with my practice and her being forgiving of my early days of working with a marker - we now have lots of fun together.   
So once D'light and I were finished with our morning scratch board work, I decided to try out introducing the scratch board to Catty.  This silly gal frequently make me laugh as you will soon see why...
"What are we doing and it must have something to do with this board!!"
blurry tail - she's so excited!!

Here we go... you can see that Catty and D'light have very different training styles!    Catty is so excited to work and you can see her quickly trying to sort out what I'm asking of her.  I'm not being a 100% clear in what I'm asking her thus her throwing her feet like she's doing. Another bonus of ongoing training is that you get to really know the subtleties of the dog in front of you.  This is also why video is good during training sessions!  We did this for a bit and then it was time for a break.

I'd put the board away thinking we were done...  Catty didn't agree!
This is where I found her (she's in front of the board).  These days Catty will give us a sit pretty when she's asking for something - again silly dog!

"Why are we stopping, we just got started!"

I decide we can work some more and off we go.  Catty is a very "excited" learner and what I'm wanting to mark is that scratching of her nails on the board.  I'm also sorting out what we need in the next board to make this work well.

I turn the board around and this works well. At this point Catty has been doing the scratch board work for no more than 10 minutes total and Miss Smarty Pants has the concept down!

Next we will work on duration of the scratching and then we will move onto working at the back nails.  So, the question that you might be asking is why I'm doing this since I can cut Catty's nails with nail clippers.  Well, this is a very fun game for her, it builds our training relationship and I get to practice more precise marking during this game.
Catty says "Why are we stopping?!"
blurry tail again!

"Mom I really want to keep doing this!"

Love my super smart Catty girl!

Friday, November 28, 2014

What to do without a foster dog in the house?!

During the last break we had between foster dogs, Catty and I did a lot of training around nail trims. Here's the series of posts  Using force free training to work through the dreaded nail trim  We are still using this method and nail trims are now easy and fun for Catty!

During this short break it's time to work with D'light around his nail trimming concerns.  For D'light the nail trims are a pretty traumatic event and we've tried a lot of different things to ease the fear of the nail trims. So my goal is to use the nail trimmers as little as possible and empower D'light to trim his own nails.  I"m optimistic about this new plan and even if it doesn't give us the results we are hoping for - we are going to have a fun time together!  Remember that when using positive training it also builds confidence and strengthens the relationship between us so, it's a win win!

So, off we go... Brett found a board for me and attached a sheet of sand paper to it.  D'light still gets nervous with new items in the environment so we are going to really break this down into small doable steps and again have fun.

What we are working with: board with sandpaper, fit paw and cooked turkey

We start off with a very high value reward (cooked turkey) and my intention is to mark with a "yip" when D'light walks onto the board.  This is our first attempt and I don't care where he's walking on the board as we will get that taken care of down the road in our training.  Way to go D'light!

After a bit of working on the board I grab my trusty fit paw.  My plan is to use the fit paw to work on reinforcing the scraping motion that I eventually want him to do on the board.  For D'light, doing target behavior on the fit paw isn't new  - we've worked on targeting in the past and that's what we are basically doing here with just a little bit of a spin on it. Again I am working at capturing that scraping motion rather than just touching the fit paw with his paw. And lucky for me he's using both paws. Way to go D'light!

This was session one and it was about a 10 minute session - not long at all.  But, this was long enough for D'light.  I want him to have fun and build excitement for the next day when we work on this again.  Both of us had fun and we are going to be doing this daily, building on the previous steps.  If we get stuck then we go back to the step that worked and continue working on that until we can move to the next step.

Training isn't about who can do what the fastest - it's about learning in a safe and fun environment with a trainer that can be trusted.   And for the human we need to work with the dog in front of us at that moment.  Often times we fail our dogs by having unreasonable exceptions, low value reinforcers, unreasonable timelines, not reiforcing as often as we should, poor timing around marking the behavior we are asking the dog to learn and we are pushing the dog to quickly.  We blame the dog for not being smart enough and shame on us.  This behavior on our part erodes the relationship and doesn't create a safe and fun learning environment for the learner which is our dog.  If the dog is struggling that means the human need to look at what they are doing in their messaging.  I love my dogs for what they teach me everyday I look forward to this fun training adventure with D'light!  Oh and if you heard that dog bark in the second video, that was Catty.  She was frustrated that she wasn't training.  So, she spent some time in a closed room with a frozen kong to keep her busy while D'light and I worked. However, I did let her out a bit later to see what D'light had been doing - stay tuned to watch her hilarious self!


Monday, November 24, 2014

Who's next?

 Because Seven was adopted, this opened up a new foster spot.  In no time flat our foster spot was filled with one of many dogs who desperately need fostering.  Our new foster girl will arrive the first weekend in December and we are very excited to welcome her into our home.

Here's her story:  She is roughly 9lbs, about 10'" tall and about 1.5 years old.  She was dumped at a drill rigging site 5 weeks ago in Pixley, California.  The drilling crew saw her being dumped and they took her under their wings.  The big, burley rough neck crew were drilling 24/7 for the last 5 weeks and during that time they had been letting her sleep in the break room and feeding her.  With their drilling job ending they started sharing her story and that story eventually made it to Lynn Bonham who pulls 99% of our foster dogs.  Lynn is our eyes and ears in Central California and we are very, very lucky to work with her.  Lynn let us know about her and we happily said yes to fostering her.  She's described as a bit timid, sweet and smelling like an oil rig!

So, while we can get angry about the people who dumped this girl that anger and outrage doesn't do any good.  What we need to focus on is that caring drilling crew who went out of their way to help and find rescue this sweet girl.  And a special thanks to Lynn who is temping and vetting this little gal until she gets up to us. 

This dogs story is compelling but that's true for so many dogs in the central California area that are in over populated shelters.  So many of these shelter dogs they are great dogs, there are just way too many of them...

We desperately need foster homes so if you want to make a difference in a dogs life think about fostering with New Rattitude!  Here's more detail on foster home support from New Rattitude

And what's this new gal's name?  It's Coccinelle after one of the Cayuse Vineyards

Coccinelle Vineyard—It’s the French word for “ladybug,” and this 4.5-acre was first planted in 1998. Bionic Frog Syrah is produced from this vineyard. 

Vineyards of Cayuse Winery

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Spa day for Seven

Seven heads home with his new dad tomorrow so today was bath and nail trim day! 
"What are we doing and I'm not real thrilled about this"

For Seven, treats make everything a more enjoyable experience!

Seven did really well in the bath and here what happens post bath.
Silly boy - lots of shaking and scratching off the bath water!

And then just straight up being silly

Next was a nail trim and Seven is by far the easiest dog to trim nails! 

Then it was time for a nap after all that hard work.  Seven burrowed under a blanket and took a nice long nap! 

Rest up sweet boy - your amazing new life starts tomorrow!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Not an easy four dog photo shoot

I thought that with four adult dogs this would be an easy photo shoot on our stairs.  Wrong on my part!  All four had their own plan of how this went and it was a real challenge!

Catty says "I'm here!"

Lacey wondering what's going on - Seven says "lets get this going!"

Everyone shows up and I have lots of pictures like this - them all looking the wrong direction!   

You can tell  by the tongues who the 2 food motivated dogs are!

Lacey and D'light were not interested in any type of food so this was a challenge.

Catty ignoring the butt sniff since I have a treat - Seven is trying so hard to give me what I'm asking for.  I'm sure Catty & Seven were wishing the other dogs would pull it together and get with the picture taking program!

The best pictures

More goofing around - not Seven he's still focused!

Seven getting tired of this non-sense from the other dogs.

D'light and Lacey are done!  Catty and Seven still willing to work for a treat

We have Seven and Lacey for another couple of days so, I'm going to work on getting a good picture of all four dogs.  Since I change the banner on my blog every year, I need a new picture for 2015.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

We have a visitor!

Every year around this time we dog sit Lacey.  Who is this sweet girl?  Lacey was our first foster dog and she was adopted by my mom.  Lacey was rescued from a Texas shelter and she was high heartworm positive.  We fostered her through her heartworm treatment and we had such a good experience we decided to keep foster.  We've been fostering since March of 2011.

Lacey is a sweet 9 year old gal who is having a time with us while her mom is soaking up the sun in Hawaii!

So what do all the other dogs think of a 4th dog in the house?  Catty and D'light are fine with Lacey and Seven is doing rat-tastic!  After a good walk together, we integrated all four dogs within the first hour.  Seven was excited to meet Lacey-  he rushed in a bit to quickly to her face which she gave him a "back off" message. Seven appropriately listened to her and all has been well.  Good boy Seven!

We had some early morning sun and dog beds were moved for the dogs to catch some warm sun. 

Seven wishing he could have the bed Lacey is on

Seven did excellent with waiting until Lacey left before resting on the bed he wanted

Time for a rest

 But there wasn't enough Sun for Seven.  So, he head out to our den to see what he could find.  D'light was in the sun and you can see Seven found the sun too!

Silly Seven - he's dead asleep in this position.

Seven dead asleep -  he doesn't realize foster dad is taking these pictures!

Seven like all the other dogs in the house loves the sun spots!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Catty rocks Nose Work class at the Ballard Locks

I was super excited for our Nose Work class as the locks! It's a beautiful location with so much opportunity for amazing hides.  As I mentioned, now that we've resolved Catty's car sickness we are doing so much more and I couldn't be more thrilled.  We'd be working at Catty's car sickness for over 4 years and the fix was due in large part to Nose Work.  I'm glad we kept at trying to resolve this issue as it's opened up a new world for Catty and to the two of us as a Nose Work team.

We walk through the locks taking everything in.  It's beautiful brisk morning!

Lots to see and smell - this is a wonderful environment for Nose Work and for & us to work on her dog reactivity.

There were four dogs working during this class - we wait our turn by finding things to do and see.

Looking good Catty girl!

This was an active environment: lots of people (adults and kids), lots of strollers, lots of dogs and there were a number of locks worker dressed in outdoor working gear.  The working gear of big boots, carhartt type of clothes have been difficult for Catty in the past. Even with all of these triggers, Catty did excellent. Her ability to ignore all of this is due to the anticipation of Nose Work and the positive training we've done with her.

"Mom, I'm ready to get searching!"

We had 9 hides throughout the locks.  This was by far my favorite.

One hide and there's a lot in play. Basically the whole front of the building up to the stairs to each side of the stairs, the door and all that's in that entry.  

The hidden odor could be anywhere.... 

This picture was after the hide was found. I wanted a picture of the search area... when we were searching I was at the end of the leash

Catty rocked this search and found it very quickly .

Alert and she was 100% correct!  The hide is on the right lamp, lower spot where her nose is heading.

A 2nd hide on the other side of this very large building...

Alert!! And correct again - lower left corner of the iron grate.

Time for the other dog's turn.  We head out to walk around. Because of Catty's reactivity we do a lot of moving and I do a lot of reinforcing her good decision of ignoring other dogs.
When we adopted Catty, a dog a block away was way too close for her - she would lose her mind and not in a good way.  The progress that we've made over the past 4 years has been amazing and just goes to show that you can work through reactivity with a daily commitment to the correct training plan (We got on the correct plan about a year ago).

After I took this picture we did a u-turn as Catty didn't need to tangle with that flock of geese

Time for another photo shoot. She hopped up on this rock ready to be rewarded!

Cool play on color with the same picture

We hung out as dogs walked by - you can see the frost on the grass

There were a lot of dogs - some that were fine with seeing Catty and some that were pretty reactive.  With the reactive dogs we quickly moved back to give distance and then Catty was reinforced for making a good choice.
A shake off after seeing/hearing a very barky dog.

That experience was well managed and we moved to a quieter part of the locks.  I do not want to flood Catty with seeing other dogs so, getting some quiet time is part of our training plan.

We found another rock which was perfect. Catty jumped up on the rock and a treat followed - reinforcering her decision to practice this trick.  Finding the rock (I would have taken a bench too) that she could jump up and down from is easy for her, it builds her confidence and we have instant success.  We have canine conditioning equipment at home that Catty gets to work on so she can generalize this skill to really any environment. 
Getting away from the stimulus then jumping up on a rock may seem simple but, in doing a trick that she can quickly do it changes her emotional response.  She goes from being a bit worried from seeing the barky dog to focusing on me, feeling safe, having fun and getting a great treat.  We played this game for about 2-3 minutes and then it was time to catch up to class.

Off we went!  We didn't realize (because again you can't see odor) there was a hide in this picture.  The hide is to the right on the blue handicap button by the door.  After I found out there was odor here I realized that Catty had caught it when we were walking by.  She wanted to spend time sniffing around the plants - I just assumed it was pee mail.  Dog's noses are pretty amazing!  This was an excellent search area and a fun hide to work.

A great picture after the search
"Fun times! Ready for more searching!"

Not yet our turn so, time to watch the squirrels...

And more geese to watch.  She wanted to chase them but, I didn't think that was a good plan...


Then it was our turn and Catty did great!  The start line starts at the bike rack, goes all the way back the building and inside of the bushes (grass is in play).

This hide messed with my brain.  Catty did great and I over thought the hide - typical human!

The hide was in the hole of the green grate in front of the bike rack.

We had  two more hides and then time for a break.  We headed to the other side of the locks and got some more great photos!

We still have pretty fall colors!

Ready to play "find it" in the grass!

Watching all the activity and she's doing super!

Getting her sniff on...

Watching the seagulls

Giving a sit pretty while we wait

We walk over to watch the locks for our next search

Waiting outside the bathroom for the next hide.

Inside the bathroom was the search area and his was harder than I expected.  Erica is an excellent teacher and she did a great job of walking us through the hide and best of all... we used smoke matches to see how the odor was moving!

We had another search in a cool gazebo area but, I wasn't able to get pictures after the search due to so many people taking family photos in the area!

Class was over so it was time to walk around a bit more before we headed home.

"Lets go!"

Taking in the view 

Catty found lots of places that she wants Erica to consider as hides for our next class at the locks!

A couple more pictures on the way out! 

What a great class/morning and many thanks to Erica Wells for such a wonderful class full of positive learning experiences!
For anyone interested in Nose Work in the Seattle (Ballard, Georgetown or Lynnwood) contact Erica Wells