Saturday, November 7, 2009

Training Update

Lately, I've been taking Ray to elementary school. Because he is so infatuated with eating little kids, I decided that the only way to get him past his obsession is to expose him to bunches of kids everyday. So, first thing in the morning, we take a walk to the local elementary at opening time. 
 I get Ray to sit and stay while a stream of small children, their parents, and strollers flow around us (he's really good at this part). The only problem is when one of the kids says, "Can I pet your dog?" When I reply in the affirmative, the kid gives Ray a pet and moves on. The problem is in the "moving on." The minute that the kid tries to leave, Ray lunges for their head to get in a quick lick or two or tries to grab their arm with his mouth. For some reason, he catches me off guard every single time he does it. I can't understand how he can go from docilely standing for a pet to full lunge in the blink of an eye. Obviously we need to work on this some more. 
Ray is really getting the hang of sitting and staying (except when there is another dog around). I think he will have this completely mastered by the end of the year (she says confidently, not really knowing what she's talking about). His flop is coming along fine, although a treat absolutely has to be involved for him to flop well. I use this command mostly when Ray is around really small kids and little dogs that are intimidated by him. He will lay (flop) and then roll on his side. If a little kid is involved then Ray will expose his belly for a belly rub, if it's a dog, he will just lay on his side and I usually have to hold him down while the dog comes up to him. Ray will then try to lick the dog's face to win them over. Works almost every time. 
The less we say about heeling the better. Ray is trying, I'll give him that. Our walks go something like this. Heel-3 steps. LUNGE. Heel-3 steps. LUNGE. Heel-5 steps. LUNGE. Heel. Stop dead. FULL REVERSE. Heel.  I really feel that progress is being made but it is a slow and painful process. The jury is out about whether or not Ray will ever be a heeler. However, he doesn't know it because I haven't told him, but I would be willing to settle for dog that just doesn't drag me around on the end of a leash.

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