Training class and psych nurse

Today Felix and I did two things! We went to dog training class, and we went to my psych nurse appointment.

Class went really really well! He was able to focus for the whole class this time, which I was very happy about. We did a lot of different things in class! So many that I can’t even remember them all!

I do remember we worked on attention cues. We also worked on variable reinforcement using the zen game. With the zen game, you put a treat on a plate on the floor. Then you have your dog sit, then release them to get the treat. You do that a few times, until they learn that they sit and then get the treat off the plate. Next you start doing variable reinforcement. You put the treat on the plate, and have your dog sit twice, then release them to get the treat. Then do a random number of sits between 1-3 sits before releasing them to get the treat. You’re basically teaching them the treat is always going to happen, they just don’t know if it will happen after the first or third time they do the behavior. Gradually over time you work up to larger numbers of repetitions.

Next we started work on leave-it, which I haven’t worked on with him. I’ve just been using my other trainer Kelly’s method of using his name to get his attention when he wants to sniff or investigate something he shouldn’t. He was a natural at it! With like two repetitions, he had the whole thing down pat. I was able to hold a treat on my flat palm right in front of his face, and he didn’t take it!

We also worked on heeling and going slowly while heeling. We practiced walking across the room at regular speed, then doing a slow walk, then turning around and doing it again. Felix did so well at this! I was very proud of him, and everyone was proud of me for my driving skills LOL!

We worked on using a different mat for mat training, which Felix didn’t do so well at. We each took turns coming up to a mat in the middle of the room, training our dogs to enjoy being on the mat by rewarding when they stepped on it or eventually put their whole body on it. We were near the end of the group doing “mat” on this particular mat, and everyone had been throwing treats on it, so Felix just wanted to sniff the mat LOL!

At the end of class, we worked on the serpentine rally exercise, which involves weaving around four cones in an s pattern. We did this in the other ring, which is just carpet right now rather than the usual rubber flooring. Felix was SO distracted by the carpet smells! So we had a lot of trouble with this. When Felix was paying attention to me, he did great. But most of the time he just wanted to sniff the snout-beckoning carpet. Oh well.

After class, I asked the instructor to help me with doors. I’m working with Felix on walking through doorways when I’m in my wheelchair. He has to go in front of me through the door first, then keep moving as I come through the door. I didn’t know if it was something that was safe for me to do on my own or not, so I had my instructor be there to catch the door just in case. It turns out that I didn’t need her after all! I did have a problem getting Felix to go ahead of me through the door because he just wanted to sniff the floor LOL, but once he went through, it wasn’t too hard at all. I will practice every class going through this door with him, as it’s a pretty easy and wide door, and shuts automatically.

Then a little later we had our psych nurse appointment. It was Felix’s first time there I think. I might have brought him last time and didn’t have him walk at all? But I can’t remember. My psych nurse said she thought I had a different dog last time, too.

I walked Felix in and he did a good job walking over to the chairs in the waiting room. He stayed on my lap while we were in the waiting room, which turned out to be a very very long time. We were waiting for like 45–50 minutes!

Finally it was our turn, and he did a pretty good job of walking back to the room. He was a little hesitant to walk through the doorway into the dark hallway, but did it after I stopped and let him think about it.

I had a good appointment, and he heeled perfectly out of the room. He stayed while I made my appointment at the front desk, and heeled out of the building. He did balk a bit at the steep steps to get down to our car, but then made up his mind and did them, yay!

We are finally home and resting! I got a picture during class of Felix doing a leave-it of food on my hand in front of his face, and two in the waiting room at my psych nurse. Felix is a sable and white Japanese Chin, and I have short brown curly hair and am wearing a pink dress and a purple mask.

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