Thursday, October 11, 2012

13 Weeks - Mixed Bag

The 13th week was a mixed bag.  I am no expert on puppies as this is my first puppy so I am learning as I go.  I definitely tend to train her too long on accident.  I really do not mean to!  It does not matter how I try to limit myself, I tend to go until Maddie's interest wanes which I rarely ever do to my adults.  I finally got to the point of putting 5 treats in my pocket with the plan to end when I had given out the 5 treats (less than a minute).  But it never failed... 4 treats later and I was less interesting than a stick.  So I started the week feeling a little bored because Maddie just is not ready for too much mental challenge and tugging on toys for hours on end just is not that interesting... for me at least.
The week prior, I started Maddie in daycare a few days a week.  What a relief to know she is busy when I have to work late or I have things that need to be dealt with.  Or, for example, it rained all day on Monday and it was so nice to know that Maddie was playing all day indoors and would not have high demands on me that evening when it was wet and yucky outside.  And there is no doubt that Maddie loves daycare.  She runs in eagerly.  So daycare is a very nice option to just let Maddie wear herself out on a regular basis.
On Wednesday I took Maddie for her first real walk/hike.  That was hilarious and I will post the video of that tomorrow.  To put it mildly, she definitely needs some work on her leash manners.  Ha!
Since training was not great fun, I decided that our main focus still needs to be on exposures.  Maddie notices noises too much.  Things like loud music, motorcycles, honks, and thunderous UPS trucks will catch her attention and I would like for it to be background noise.  I had been good about taking her into the city on the weekends, but realized I really need to do more during the week.  The weekdays are just too quiet.  So I started to take her for walks around local, downtown areas.  We have lots of small, historic downtown areas with squares and main streets with cute store fronts that are great for strolling a puppy.
So back to training, the  the less I tried to work with her, the more Maddie tried to work with me... well, no duh, doesn't it always work that way?  For example, she had an extremely busy Saturday with exposure to crowds, traffic, other dogs, etc. so when I got home, my plan was to work with Riley and Seven.  I brought Maddie along just so she could run around (since she had been on leash all day), but had no plans to train her.  As I set up the course and moved jumps around my field (ignoring her), Maddie was right there trying to interact with me.  So I asked for a couple of things and she did great!  So I am learning.
On exposure outings, Maddie is busy looking at and listening to everything.  It really is a lot of fun to show puppies the world and to see them be bold about things or to improve on things that worried them at first.  Eventually the environment does become background noise and she starts making eye contact with me.  At that point, I start to ask her for sits, downs, stays, and recalls and play with toys.  The great thing is that the exposure outing is a great way for Maddie to burn energy, socialize, and keep busy and if she starts to get bored and focus on me, I am there to entertain her.  The environment does not provide a whole lot of interactive reinforcement, but I do!  I have awesome treats and a toy and I actively participate with her.  So in the end that builds value for me.  Good lesson learned for me!
And before I forget, Maddie ended week 13 at 25 and half pounds.  She is getting close to outgrowing her second crate, a 30 inch long.  I already have a 36 inch in my dog room and in my van, but this 30 inch is in my very small bedroom.  It cannot handle a bigger crate (I would not be able to get to my bathroom) so Maddie will have to move into the dog room at night with Riley, Reagan, and Allie.  I plan to sleep on the couch for at least a few nights so I am close as she acclimates.... but for now, she stays next to my bed.
And all you dog folks will understand, but Maddie seems to have a really good gut on her.  As I continue to introduce her to new treats and foods, her poop looks great most of the time!  Right now, she is eating 3 cups of a grain free beef kibble (1,260 calories), 1 chicken neck, and a little of something else (raw beef and organ mix, venison, veggie mix, raw goats milk yogurt, or an egg).  Then she probably gets another 100-200 calories in treats.  It is truly amazing how much food a puppy can put away.