Friday, May 13, 2011

One step forward and two steps back.

No I am not singing. That is just the way Wicket has decided to take to his obedience training. Last night we took him and the kids for a long walk in the rain ( it was warm) and he loved splashing in the puddles, rolling in the mud and chasing the geese. He was so happy, he was hopping with excitement. I decided that since he usually stays as close to me as possible to let go of his leash. For the first 30 minutes he was very good and came when I called. Then out of nowhere his ears perked up and he was gone. In the distance I see a truck passing by then nothing, nothing, nothing ,and then my 10 lb Shih Tzu was running as fast as his little legs could take him after the truck. My husband and I immediately took off after him. Suddenly we saw him stop and start looking around, obviously confused. Every time we would yell he would spin looking for us wagging his tail. When my husband finally got to him he ran to him whining hysterically. Obviously his recall is not there yet and no more off leash runs that are not in a fenced in area.
Wicket did however sleep in his crate for the first time without crying. Whoopee!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Goals and Dream!


This learning to be a dog trainer, is very overwhelming, so many things to learn and do. This is going to take a lot more work than I originally thought. Since I am a list maker and stick to goals much better when I have them listed out in front of me, I thought I would make my list and share because moral support is really important. Below I have provided my goals and will update you on my progress. Please cheer me and offer advice and comments to help me achieve my dream! my training books (
2. volunteer at Animal House
3. Watch Obedience trials
4. train and get Wicket to perform all tasks needed to achieve Canine Good Citizen
5. Pass Canine Good Citizen test
6. Compete in AKC sanctioned events in obedience
7. Join the APDTA.
8. Once we have achieved these I will start volunteering my services
9. When I feel confident I will venture into the professional world of dog training

Please support me in my trek. Thanks!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Training should be fun

I believe when training anyone, be it animal, children or your husband, they should not know they are being trained. They should think they have you trained to reward them for doing something right. They should believe that there is a true benefit to doing what they are asked not just punishment if they get caught.
When teaching Wicket to heal, we started walking towards the dog park ( his favorite place EVER) and every time he pulled I would say heal and turn around and walk the other direction. Wicket quickly learned that if he didn't pull we would get to the dog park faster. Wicket now heels almost without command and if I say heel he responds immediately. This was done without a choke, or prong collar. I even surprised myself with how fast this worked without ever punishing him or forcing him to heel. He made his own decision to listen and not pull ( I wish kids were that easy ;p). I am a huge fan of the clicker method but not the clicker itself ( the sound drives me nuts). Instead of clicking when Wicket obeyed, I said Yes and then followed with "Good Boy". I do this to reinforce good behavior and it comes naturally to me to say yes rather than to click.
I am working on getting Wicket to ignore other dogs while on a walk, something he will have to do to pass the CGC. This is particularly challenging because Wicket loves other dogs and will lunge and forget I'm behind him. No amount of treats or praise seems to stop this so we are working on the command "look". I am hoping what this will do is when I see another dog I can say "look" and he will focus on me instead of the other dog ( wishful thinking?). In order to teach this command, I say "look "and when he looks at me I say "Yes" and give him a treat. So far he is picking this up fast. I will get him doing it every time and then start trying it with dogs around. Sometimes the task of training Wicket is daunting but we make progress everyday and I know will pass the CGC.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


We need to remember to thank all of are armed forces.

New Training Problems

Wicket is a sex maniac!

How's that for getting your attention? If that doesn't get comments, I don't know what will.
Now I know it's not sexual ( I don't think) but he humps everything from his stuffed cat to the local Rottweiler's leg. Last night on at the dog park he was playing with another Shih Tzu and they took turns humping each other! While really funny, it wasn't so funny when he tried to hump the little terrier who didn't appreciate it and tried to take off Wickets head ( good thing it was a small terrier). We are going to learn a new command -STOP IT!. lol Wish me luck!

On another note however, Wicket performed almost perfectly yesterday at the park ( not the dog park). I was so proud. It was obvious he was trying hard and putting forth some good effort. We even tried a few new commands and he picked up on them pretty quickly ( it might have helped that I had hotdogs in my pocket ). I am trying to use some tips I got from my new book called "Don't Shoot The Dog" by Karen Pryor. It is all about positive reinforcement for dogs, kids and husbands. Hey maybe I can get my husband trained. What do ya think?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Early Morning Trip to the Dog Park

I try and take Wicket to the dog park every day because we don't have a yard and he loves to play fetch ( he puts retrievers to shame). Last night it was raining and I was tired so we skipped it. This morning at 6:00, I opened the back door and Wicket ran full speed in the direction of the dog park about a quarter of a mile away. I took off after him, forgetting that I was wearing a bright pink bathrobe and matching slippers. I ran after him calling his name. Occasionally he would turn around and wag his tail and then run again. We ran the entire quarter of a mile and I had not even had my coffee yet. I have never seen a Shih Tzu run that fast, ignoring everything around him. He was obviously on a mission. I kept running imagining my 10 lb dog getting eaten by mountain lions, bears or foxes ( we live backed up to the foothills in Colorado). Out of breath I finally reached the dog park gate and there was my little Wicket, sitting nicely like he was taught waiting patiently to be let in.
I learned 2 things this morning.

1. Wicket does not have the best recall, we need to work on that

2. don't miss his trip to the dog park

Monday, May 2, 2011

Wicket will be participating in the Strike A Pose Dog model search.