Monday, October 14, 2013

So Busy...and SO GREAT!

We are BUSY up in here with some mad obedience training routines!!  Check out how the pups are doing!

Results from Maggie's Board and Train
The results are actually ongoing because we're in the midst of learning how to work with Maggie and all her new obedience skills still.  She came back home knowing: sit, down, sit-stay, down-stay, leave it, drop it, heel, quiet, off, come...I feel like I'm missing some things but all the basics.  This had been tough for us to teach much past the sit, down, and stay commands before.  She is a ROCK STAR at all of them and we're still working on each every day to keep her up to snuff.  She learned SO much patience by being put around dogs and asked to do down-stays.  When she started barking her little head off on leash, they worked her (quick succession of "heel, down, stay, come" and repeat until she calmed down) and eventually with the trainers there, she made the right decisions 90% of the time (she's still a pup, nobody's perfect!).
The first time I could walk both of them together AND take a picture.  A momentous day!
The goofy thing?  She was never leash reactive with the trainers there.  For some reason, she must think that we need protecting or she has to have attitude when she's with us.

What now?
Now, we're working with Maggie to have her respond to us almost 100% of the time while on leash. We're doing about 2-3 minutes of an obedience run through right outside our house followed by a walk and then more obedience throughout the day.
My cuddle nugget...she's a burrower.
She's as cuddly as ever and seems to enjoy being back home with us and Nigel!

The bad?
So, do we recommend board and train programs?  It depends.  It ended up being 100% the right choice for us because we need ongoing help when issues crop up with Maggie as we learn to work wit her now (and we get follow ups for as long as we need them, 4 mandated ones).  I hated having to be away from her for a month and the money was ABSURD.  BUT, we have a game plan when she starts to react now and we haven't been able to get to calm down during a reaction until the last two weeks.  So, it totally depends on humans' situations and the dog's behavior.
I should have told her "off" but she just looked so cute and happy.
What about Nigel?!
Nigel, as it turns out, is incredibly obedient.  We knew this before but he did NOT like his first obedience class we took him to.  He seems to like this one much more but still kind of looks a little weepy during class sometimes.  Anyone else ever had this reaction from a dog?  He does everything perfectly but is kind of sad looking about it all.  Sometimes, I think he's bored because there's a lot of sitting around.  He's doing great though and continues to be a wonderful companion.
What's your vote?!  More like Yoda or ET?!
We'll keep you updated on our ongoing progress with Maggie's improvements and Nigel's obedience training awesomeness!

PS - Maggie now weighs 50 pounds.  That's a whopping 15 pound gain from a year ago when we got her.  Perhaps she's no longer so "pocket pittie" but we'll keep pretending for a while.  :-)

11 comments:

  1. So glad your crew is doing so well! It's awesome that you get follow up visits for help. We got help with Ed by a behavioral trainer and the ability to shoot a quick question off and get some advice was worth every penny. I love that you guys had an open mind about doing the train & board -- sometimes people are so quick to judge methods, but really, we have to do what is right for us and our pooches.

    Tess gets pouty in obedience classes often, too. We found that we have to use really, REALLY yummy treats with her (cubes of Nature's Balance Dog Food Roll in Duck -- super stinky!). With Ed, we have to use his kibble, otherwise he gets too excited!

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    1. Thanks, Hannah. Maybe we'll try the yummy roll treats next class. I am normally one to talk myself out of things if I think about them for TOO long so I'm glad that we made a decision and stuck to it. And she's rockin' out so it's worth it!!!

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  2. How awesome for Maggie! Norman gets super bored during training, he often flops over on his back and wiggles around instead. It's too cute to be annoying!

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    1. Hehehehe....I can imagine his adorableness! Nigel just stretches like 80 times a class. :-)

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  3. I'm glad the boarding/training worked for you guys. I've considered it but I know that Dottie would completely freak out and that I'd have to go and pick her up. So instead we're taking obedience classes and will work up from there.

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    1. Yeah, I totally thought Maggie would freak too. She was very barky and impatient to begin with but learned to chill out. The huge plus was also that she was very comfortable being in her crate upon coming home. I hope the obedience classes are going well!!

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  4. I considered it with Ray but we had a few circumstances in which we "grew" out of his bad decisions.

    PS you won the contest, I sent you a fb message.

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    1. I love to hear that he grew out of bad decisions! Thanks for the contest, so happy to hear that some good was done on our behalf. :-)

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  5. Our former foster Madden did a board and train and was almost perfect for the trainer but I was still never able to get her reactions to be manageable. One of these days I really need to save up the money to try some formal training with Hades to reduce his reactions. He isn't extreme but we he fixates it often takes a LONG tine to calm him.

    I'm glad you had such positive results. That has to feel AWESOME!

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    1. Emily, we're actually still struggling with this issue also. Maggie is PERFECT with Brent, the main trainer but we have to work really hard when she reacts. In all fairness though, we need to practice with her a LOT still, so we'll see where we end up in a few months down the line.

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    2. Yep - she was working with him for awhile (and he's a professional), so it's only natural that it will take some time!!

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