Distracted by Poppy

This is Cabana's pal and fellow puppy-in-training, Poppy. Poppy is just a couple weeks older than Cabana, and Poppy's puppy raiser is our puppy group leader.

This morning, Poppy and her raisers came over to give us instruction on food protocol for Cabana's raging dog distraction. Basically, we had Cabana sit on the sidewalk in front of our house, while Poppy sat several yards away. Every time Cabana looked away from Poppy, she got a treat. Eventually, Poppy got closer and closer, while I kept marking Cabana's positive behavior with "nice" and a piece of kibble.

Next step was to have Poppy walk toward Cabana, with Cabana stationary, while still encouraging Cabana to pay attention to me as her handler and ignore Poppy. Finally, we progressed to both Cabana and Poppy walking past each other. Normally, Cabana would have been pulling and going bonkers, wanting to play with Poppy. But thanks to all the positive reinforcement, Cabana was able to walk past Poppy with barely a glance. Miraculous!

Of course, the real test will come when we go for a regular walk and pass some big fluffy German shepherds or huskies (Cabana likes fluffy big dogs best). But I felt like we made a lot of progress today. The challenge for me will be to take it slow. I think I have a tendency to expect too much, too soon.

After the training session, we let Cabana and Poppy play--and boy, did they ever play! They were so happy to run around with each other, cavorting and nipping and jumping. They're so similar in size that it was sometimes hard to tell them apart.

Here they are drinking water after their romp session. Cabana is darker and redder, pictured in the back.

I think Poppy's raiser had called Poppy to come to her and was rewarding Poppy with a piece of kibble. But it looks like Cabana was horning in, even though she'd already received plenty of kibble earlier.

Tonight, I'm looking forward to the opportunity to teach some good manners when someone comes to the door. We don't get many visitors at our house, so when the doorbell rings, Cabana becomes overly excited. This evening, when trick-or-treaters ring our doorbell, I'm going to give the "go to bed" command while someone else in my family hands out the candy. So hopefully, in the future, Cabana will know that's what I want her to do when someone really is coming over, instead of running to the door to jump all over the person who enters.

Happy Halloween to everyone!! Don't eat too much candy! Well, go ahead if you want to--it's once a year, after all!

R  – (October 31, 2009 at 5:25 PM)  

Wow how interesting. I often wondered how the dogs were taught to ignore other dogs. Sooo cool to read!!!

good luck tonight, if you get visitors!

Sarah and the Pack.  – (October 31, 2009 at 7:41 PM)  

Yay for food protocol! It makes such a difference. Good luck working on Cabana's dog distraction, and Happy Halloween!

Deborah  – (October 31, 2009 at 8:55 PM)  

I love the wings! Very cute! It is always a good thing to learn good manners! I should do that in my home!! Have a nice Sunday!

Becky  – (October 31, 2009 at 9:26 PM)  

Such a fun costume. Poor Cricket went out to dinner and had to behave under the table for Halloween. We went with another couple - he also has a guide so she enjoyed her buddy. Sounds like you had another good workout. Happy Halloween.

Lauren and Don  – (October 31, 2009 at 10:18 PM)  

Hurray for food protocols! They work wonders. Don also has a case of extreme dog distraction. The food protocol is such a great tool. Labs will do anything for food :D Happy Halloween!

Poppy The Puppy  – (October 31, 2009 at 11:44 PM)  

That is a great picture of my delicate little flower! Ha! Hopefully, being tired helped with doorbell work this evening! We bought Pop a new bed today and she hasn't moved off it in hours!

Thanks for great work today! Hopefully Cabana will get over her lover of fluff!

Anonymous –   – (November 1, 2009 at 9:09 AM)  

Puppy Girl's cousin, Tasha, came over the other day. I am not, like you (you amazing person) training my dog to be a guide dog, so it was just about them having some time to play.

And they played a game they started at Tasha's house. It goes like this:

1) Drink a LOT of water
2) Play
3) Tasha marks, by peeing
4) Play
5) Puppy Girl marks by peeing
6) Repeat

I would bend down to wipe up one pee, turn around and BAM! there was another one. I have no idea which of them even did it.

Ah, family visits... you gotta love it.

Anonymous –   – (November 1, 2009 at 9:09 AM)  

By the way, the Halloween costume is adorable!

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