Training

The Secret to Swissy Obedience

Thursday, August 11th, 2011 | Dogs, Indigo, Obedience Training, Ozzy, Training | 1 Comment

This could make me thousands, possibly millions of dollars! For this week, I have learned the secret to getting your Swissy to be obedient.

Are you ready for it? Maybe I shouldn’t put it here. Hmm…

OK, I’ll tell you.

This requires that you have at least two Swissies in your household. One should be older, and it should already have gone through obedience and know the basic commands, even if they have no desire to demonstrate that for you. You’ll need to take the younger one to class after class, watching him get good at many things, but being a holdout on one major thing. Like a down.

Next, you should decide that the younger Swissy, in this case it’s Ozzy, should take a little bit of a break for a while because the human (me) thinks he might do a little bit better after he has his parts snipped off. Since the older Swissy, in this case Indy, has been getting increasingly better with obedience while you’ve been training the younger one (Ozzy), you need to take them to a round of classes. (Indy started her Tricks class at WnW training this week.)

So now you are doing your “homework” with the older Swissy in the evenings. Or whenever you can. You separate yourself from the younger dog so that you can work with the older dog without interference. (Other than whining from the hall or the other room.) After about 5-10 minutes of work with the older dog, you switch and work with the younger dog. Otherwise, he’ll get all pouty, and we can’t have that. (There’s nothing right about a teenage Swissy throwing a hissy fit.)

You start running through your puppy pushups – sit, stay, stand and the ever elusive down. If you’re household is like mine, down has been the holdout for every Swissy we ever have. They will only do it with food (or a correction in the old days) until you hit that magic point.

All of the sudden, it happens. It’s crazy! The younger dog goes into a down with a verbal command! Is it a fluke? You don’t have food in your hands at all. There may not even be food in the room. So you praise him like crazy and try again. And shazaam! It happens again. And again, and again!

At this point, I think it’s best to end the current obedience session with your Swissy. End on a positive note, then try again a few hours later, or maybe the next day. Oh, and it does work with the ages reversed as well. Young Swissy getting continuous work is definite motivation for the older Swissy.

It may even work with other breeds. And husbands. (Wait, I think I only have one of those.)

So what do you think – will I make millions?

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Happy Birthday, Ozzy!

Sunday, May 1st, 2011 | Indigo, Litter Mates and Swissy Friends, Ozzy, Training | Comments Off

Can you believe it? Our baby boy turned 1 today!

It’s been a celebratory weekend for him that included his Ring Ready Obedience class at Wiggles and Wags (with his favorite trainer, Julie), a nice walk, a play date with Vasey, some toys and cake from Happy Dog Barkery. So it’s been a great weekend for Ozzy. I would say he probably feels pretty special, but I think he normally thinks that everything is about him anyway. Typical male.

Here are some pics for you. Enjoy!

Here’s the birthday boy himself outside enjoying the nice weather.


Playing.


Swissies are silly.

Vasey would try to relax periodically.

So would Indy.

Bad picture, good faces.

Someone might have a new girlfriend!

As I mentioned, there was cake…

Although a certain someone made a complete mess.

Thanks for looking!

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Ozzy updates

Friday, October 15th, 2010 | Ozzy, Training | Comments Off

I think it’s only fair I give you some Ozzy updates. No new pictures now, but I will work on that. Really.

Ozzy is currently 5.5 months old and over 65 pounds. He’s a big guy. I was watching him on the prowl this morning and realized that he really doesn’t have much of a puppy look anymore. He looks like an actual dog. And he even seems to be somewhat proportionate today, although he was butt high the other day. His head is ginormous.

He’s also still such a sweet, happy dog. He’s not a fan of the times when I try to examine his teeth, but he’s getting less sensitive to it. Not sure if it’s because all his puppy teeth are gone and he doesn’t hurt anymore, or if he’s just getting used to it. I started brushing his teeth this week. The finger brush seems to work the best so far, although he does tend to chew on it, and therefore my finger. He is a fan of the poultry flavored paste. Ew.

His training has been going great. We missed last week due to an out of town wedding, but he is set to finish his Puppy 2 class. During week 4, the trainer said she would recommend the Manners class next for every dog. Except Ozzy. He’s got good manners. Well, at least he does in class. So I’m not sure what the next class will be, but we will continue at this school. If we have a gap between classes, we will continue working with him on a daily basis.

He and I took a nice, long (for him) walk last night. He’s up to about 2 miles, but could probably stretch it a bit further. We took a route that he’s never tried last night, and he was so excited! The leaves are coming down and there are smells galore. And squirrels. Despite all the distractions, he either heeled or walked on a loose leash very well almost the entire time. Pretty good for a 5.5 month old puppy, right?

His house training is also going extremely well. He’s got the hang of things and is telling us when he needs to go out. He does still have the occasional accident (and will probably have them today because I opened my big mouth), but we are more than a little pleased with his progress.

So, that’s it. Can you tell that I really, really love this dog?

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First day of school…

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010 | Ozzy, Training | 1 Comment

Sunday afternoon was Ozzy’s first day of school. Well, his first day at a NEW school, I guess.

We started our “Puppy 2″ class at Wiggles-n-Wags in nearby Lombard. This is the facility that I visited a few weeks ago. Granted, I watched a novice rally class with a different trainer, but it was enough to tell me that it was a good place for us to try. The class is an extension of their “Puppy 1″ class, and is also a great next step for us after Puppy K. Ozzy seems to be a little advanced in some areas, but there are other areas we haven’t really focused in at all, so it works out quite nicely.

I was very interested in one thing they reviewed, although it was new for us being the only pair that hadn’t taken the previous class there. It’s the “emergency” word for come. You chose your word(s), and you train with the best treats and in a controlled environment so you always have a positive response. You use it in an emergency only – so not when you want the dog to come in from the back yard and they are not responding to “come.” A few people in the class had used it recently. One in particular had her dog run out the front door when she let the plumber in. She made it close to the street before the emergency word was used (she picked the word scary), and the dog did abrupt about face and ran back to her human. Other words/phrases used were bacon, party time, and danger. Dan decided we should use the word pizza.

We’ll start training on that emergency word this week. We also have a few other bits of homework, including trying to get Ozzy to go into sits, downs, etc, without a food treat. Actually, he’ll do everything but down without a treat. We’ll try to start rewarding it with a toy or something and see what happens.

It was definitely a positive start. I haven’t felt this way about a training class ever, to be honest. I hope it continues to impress.

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