OMG! We got to go in the car today!! I don’t know why we went in the car but we did! When we got to where ever it is we went Natasha put my harness on and we got out of the car. I was really really really excited but I made sure to stay right beside Natasha. I found it really hard to focus because there were so many new things to smell and see. I could hear another dog but I couldn’t see it. Sometimes I remembered to look at Natasha and when I did she would click and give me a treat. We walked around a little bit but we never went really far from the car. At one point we were just standing beside the car and Natasha would click when I would look at her. Then all of a sudden there were 4 people all about 20 feet from me! I couldn’t handle it, someone looked at me and smile, and I tried to launch myself in their direction to go say hi. That didn’t work very well though. Natasha didn’t let me go and she said something which caused the person stopped looking at me and keep walking without stopping to say hi to me. After that I looked at Natasha all sad but she clicked. I guess it’s because I looked at her instead of trying to follow the person. It seems that no matter where I go if I have the harness on no one is going to talk to me. I wonder if it’s because I don’t look good in it? No, that’s silly, I look good in everything. Mom only buys me nice things.
When we went for our big walk today there was a lady walking towards us on the side walk but I didn’t try to go see her. I stayed beside Natasha and then we followed her and I still stayed right beside Natasha. It seemed to make Natasha very happy because she gave me a bunch of treats and we even played a little. A little further down the road there was a dog barking at us. I wanted to go investigate but I was reminded to stay with Natasha and I did which got me more treats. She doesn’t give them to me as often anymore. I have to walk 20 or more steps right beside her before she’ll give me something. We went all the way around the block again but around the other way from usual and then we went all the way to the gas station and back. I found it harder to concentrate when we were at the gas station because there were so many things to smell but Natasha kept reminding me to stay beside her and she would give me a treat when I did. We did a lot of stopping while we were walk and more of those dizzying circles. If I stopped right beside her, she would give me a jackpot but if I stopped after her she wouldn’t give me anything and she would ask me to come back beside her and then she would give me only one. When we did circles I got rewards for staying right beside her and not tripping her or falling behind. She’s also been saying “sit” outside when we stop. I don’t think it means the same thing as it does when we’re inside but then she pretends to have something in her fingers and moves them up and back and I end up sitting then she clicks. She use to do that inside when we started working on this “sit” thing. Maybe it does mean the same thing. I guess I’ll have to test out that theory when we go out and practice those outside again. There’s so much to learn about being a good dog.
So, I think I have this whole arm up in the air thing figured out. Natasha put her hand up and stared at me again and then after a bit she said, “down”. The next time she put her arm up I laid down and she gave me a jackpot! So, I tested my theory again and when she put her arm up I laid down again and again I got a jackpot. Just to be sure when she put her arm up again I just looked at her and she said, “down” and I only got one treat for it. She tried it again and as soon as she put her arm up I laid down and got another jackpot! Clearly when she puts her arm up in the air she wants me to lay down.
Next we did more of that exercise where I touch her hand with my nose but today she started saying, “touch” as my nose was touching her hand. I’m not 100% sure yet but I think it’s going to be like the down, when she says, “touch” I’m supposed to touch her hand with my nose. She also started making just the hand gesture that she normally does when she tells me to sit. I don’t know if she has a sore throat or something but we did a lot of nonverbal work today.
Natasha really likes this game of me touching her palm…. I’m really not sure why but if it makes her happy then I’m willing to play it all day long. She started putting her hand further away and making me stand up to go touch her hand. We also did more sits. She’s getting tricky about those, sometimes she clicks right away and sometimes she waits up to 10 seconds before she clicks. She also doesn’t click every time I sit any more but, I always do it really fast because she might click and I really want that click.
Now she’s started this new thing where she puts her arm straight up in the air over her head and looks at me like I’m supposed to do something but I have no idea what she wants. After staring at me for a bit she’ll say, “down”. I don’t know if the arm and down are connected, I’m going to have to try a couple of things next time and see if she always put her arm up before she tells me to lay down. If she does then I’ll try laying down as soon as she puts her arm up and see what happens.
Later we went for a walk and we went all the way around the block. We’ve never done that before. Natasha seemed really excited. She only told me to come back beside her a couple of times and near the end there was someone walking towards us on the side walk. Natasha stopped walking and offered me a treat but she didn’t let go of it right away so I was trying to get it out of her hand and next thing I know she let go of it and when I looked the person was already passed us. I was a little sad that I didn’t get to say hi to them but Natasha was super excited and she gave me a bunch of treats and bounced around with me so that was a lot of fun.
I wish Natasha would understand that I don’t want to just walk beside her. There are so many interesting things to sniff and look at around here. We did the “Drunk hander” exercise again today where Natasha will randomly change directions after she says “this way”. I think I was better at staying beside her but there was traffic and people everywhere so I got distracted a lot which means that because I wasn’t paying attention to which direction Natasha was going she tripped on me one time and another time the harness pulled cause I went one way and Natasha was going the other. I guess I’m going to have to pay more attention to what she’s doing.
We did more of the exercise where she puts her hand in front of my nose. She put it a little further away today so I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to touch it or not so I didn’t. Then she put it a little closer so I touched it and she clicked so I guess that really is what I’m supposed to do. We worked on sit again too. She’s also getting really slow at rewarding me for those though. I have to wait 6 seconds now before she clicks. It’s a good thing I’m a patient dog! Sometimes she clicks right away though. It keeps me on my toes since I never know if it’s going to take her a long time to click or not.
She’s gotten a little more demanding too. If I take too long to sit she pushes on my bum. I like to stretch and walk around a little before I listen so she’s going to have to be patient. I have to wait for my treat for a sit, she can wait for me to sit *huff*.
It was raining a lot today and Natasha said something about needing to work on other things and that I needed a break from walking so I could process. I have no idea what all that meant but we didn’t go outside very much. We did do some stuff inside though. She would ask me to sit and then after 4 seconds she would click. She also asked me to lay down. We’ve been doing that one more. She doesn’t give me anything for laying down on my own any more. Only when she asks. If I lay down fast she gives me more treats than if I take my time. Unless there are other dogs in the store then she will reward me for laying down without being asked. All these rules are so hard to remember.
We did another new thing today. She put her open hand an inch in front of my nose.
I don’t know why she did that but I sniffed it to see if there was anything there to eat and she click! I was like, ok…. Then she put her hand in front of my nose again so I touch her hand with my nose and she clicked again! Next time I tried licking her hand because it smelled like treats but she didn’t click for that so I tried touching with my nose again and she click. I’m not sure why she wants me to touch her hand with my nose but I’m game since she seems to like it. There’s a lot of wait and see what with these new behaviours but I’m sure at some point it will all make sense.
I think I’m starting to understand all this walking stuff. When I have my harness on I’m not allowed to sniff or visit with anyone but if I have my collar people are allowed to pet me and I’m allowed to sniff around. I still have to be polite on my collar which means I’m not allowed to pull Natasha around or jump on people. I guess it’s actually because they don’t like it not because they’re scared. Today we went out with the harness on and she was very strict about where I had to walk with it on. She’s not that strict when I have just my collar on. We even stopped to talk to someone while I was on my harness and I was sure they wanted to pet me but they didn’t. I got rewarded for sitting while they were talking but if I tried to wander off Natasha would ask me to come back to her side.
We also did a new thing today where she would walk in circles and if I stayed right beside her she would reward me. I really had to pay attention to what she was doing because she would suddenly change directions on me. She always said, “This way” before she would change directions. I’m going to have to see if she keeps doing that, maybe it’s a hint that she’s about to change direction. It would make it way easier for me if it is. I wouldn’t have to guess.
I love going to school even though it’s a lot of work. It keeps me busy and I feel important like I have a job and I’m contributing to the family.