Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Puppy Starts to Mature

Nubble went to a Memorial Day parade, too. He loved to watch the flags and fire trucks. He was very well behaved, except when other dogs were around. If there are other dogs around, he will practically pull his puppy raisers off their feet in his eagerness to greet the dogs.

He is starting to improve, though. Donna, one of his puppy raisers, says that he is making progress. "I see him making decisions," she says. "I see him looking at butterflies and then deciding to look at me instead. I see him looking at Baby the Cat and then deciding not to chase her. He's definitely maturing."

He still sometimes gives in to the temptation to chase the cat, butterflies, bugs - anything - and when he does, he bolts. Donna has learned to be very attentive because Nubble is getting stronger (almost 70 pounds!). He could be walking perfectly on a loose leash and then suddenly bolt. But it no longer happens every time he sees something interesting.

Nubble is finally catching on to go on through! Donna can walk in and out of her bedroom or the front door without Nubble trying to bolt through the doorway. Progress!

Donna has also been working on visit with him. Visit cues the dog to put his head in a person's hand or in their lap. Nubble was a little confused about what Donna wanted him to do, but she kept working at it. By timing her clicks, she managed to capture the behavior she wanted, and now Nubble seems to understand what he's supposed to do. They're continuing to shape the behavior.

Donna took Nubble to the farm, where they worked on greeting horses. Nubble has no fear of them. It's almost as if he thinks they're just big puppies. Donna is working on teaching him that the horses aren't animals to play with.

If you've been following the posts about Nubble, you know that he has a lot of difficulty with stairs. He may have had a breakthrough! Donna took him to Boscov's again to practice stairs, and he was doing very well. Donna may have figured out why he was having such a hard time with stairs. While they were at Boscov's, she noticed that those stairs were textured to prevent people from slipping. Most of the other stairs they've been practicing on haven't had texture. Donna believes that if Nubble thinks he's going to slip, he won't go up or down the stairs. Since then, they've been practicing on the Boscov's stairs, and Nubble has gotten better.

The Northeast Division held a puppy outing. They did a public bus ride, which is great experience for the dogs. It was a successful trip for Nubble! Because of traffic, Donna and Nubble got to the bus stop just before the bus was leaving. Even though he had just been in a car for an hour and a half, he got on the bus and settled right away. He did great on the bus ride despite the close quarters, other dogs and the bus itself - lots of distractions! At the end of the bus ride, Nubble and the other dogs walked around the city square. Nubble did very well with the traffic, crowds, construction, big trucks and trash. It was great exposure to all sorts of experiences. On the bus ride back, he did well.

For fun, Nubble loves to go swimming! Not only is it great exercise for him, but it cools him off, too. He loves it so much that Donna has to make him relax because he would just keep jumping in the water!

Nubble went canoeing! Donna and her family took their canoe to Blue Marsh Lake. While Zac and Lindsey held on to the canoe, Nubble climbed in with Donna. Once he was inside, Zac and Lindsey walked with the canoe into waist-deep water. Nubble kept going from side to side looking at the water and trying to get his sea legs! Donna thought she would be tipped into the lake for sure! They managed to get Nubble to sit a few times, giving him lots of treats when he did. As soon as Zac and Lindsey walked the canoe closer to shore, Nubble jumped into the water! It will be a little while until they take him out into deeper water, but they're going to work up to it.

Thunderstorms? No problem for Nubble. There have been quite a few storms lately in Nubble's area, but they don't seem to bother him. He just lays at Donna's feet.

Yes, Nubble is making progress!

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