Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nubble, PawsAbilities and More

Nubble loved coming to PawsAbilities! He even got his paw stamped! Although Donna and Lindsey didn't enter him in any Dog Olympics, he enjoyed just walking around. He really loved being around the other dogs, especially the big dogs. He met SSD Thunder, Sunshine and Iris.

While they were at PawsAbilities, Nubble met his grandmother! She is a hunting retrieving dog with the Northern Piedmont Retriever Club. Nubble sat on the bleachers and watched her retrieve, and then Tom, Nubble's grandmother's handler, asked if Nubble wanted to try retrieving. So Nubble got to romp around in the demo ring and practice retrieving! Such a fun time!

He went to the bank with Donna, and every time they go, they practice under. Nubble has gotten pretty good at it. He goes under the table where you fill out your deposit slip and lays down. For some reason, he loves the floor at the bank. He always flops onto his back and rolls around a bit. Donna isn't sure whether he just likes the coolness of the floor or if he's excited because he knows he gets a biscuit at the end of the visit.

He went in a public restroom this week. As a service dog, he would accompany his partner everywhere, including public restrooms, so it is important that he is comfortable there. He did fine while he was in the stall. While his puppy raiser washed her hands, he practiced under. Then, as she dried her hands, he stuck his head under the hand dryer. What a surprise! The noise didn't bother him, but the hot air definitely surprised him! It didn't bother him too much, though, because he stuck his head back under it.

This past week, Donna and Lindsey have been working on heel. They had been using the purple box and shaping him to work his way around it, and now, they're working on heel without the box. Although he doesn't heel as quickly as some of the older dogs-in-training, he is definitely making progress. They've also been working on stay. So far, Nubble is progressing nicely. He has learned to stay when Donna walks through a door. Staying when she moves out of his line of vision is much more challenging for him, but they're working on it.

At puppy class, the Northeast Division coordinator brought a kennel to practice kennel behavior with the dogs. The dogs are trained to go into the crate on the cue kennel. Well, Nubble is really good at it because when she asked the group "Do all the dogs kennel on cue?", Nubble ran right into the kennel and sat down facing everyone!

Once a dog was in the kennel, they practiced stay with the kennel door open. To increase the difficulty, other dogs were walked past the kennel door. The addition of the dogs walking by was a huge distraction for Nubble, but he did pretty well with stay.

The kennel is a safe place for the dogs to relax. Although Nubble doesn't go into his kennel at home without being cued, he does go into Gizzy's kennel - sometimes while she's inside, too!

Nubble loves spending time outside. Donna took him for a nice long walk this week and discovered that he's much better behaved when Gizzy doesn't come along. This is a bit of a challenge because both dogs need their walks, but there's not always time to walk them separately. Eventually, Nubble will get to the point where he can walk with other dogs without getting too distracted.

With spring arriving, the robins and other birds have been hopping around the yard, at least until Nubble chases them away. He hasn't had much exposure to birds, so they are still a novelty to him. We'll keep you posted on his progress as he gets used to spring.

Enjoy the warmer weather with your dogs!

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