Friday, March 22, 2013

March 2006 Continued

Looking back at these posts from when Arnie first came to stay with mom is an eye-opener, for sure. Even I have to admit he's come a LONG way.

Glad to report that Arnie is no longer a "runner" and always comes when he's called!

The first thing that Arnie needed to learn was to come close enough to touch. He is a "runner", and it was necessary that he allowed himself to be caught. About a month after I got him, he dashed out the front door. He got to the front of the sidewalk, looked at me, looked toward the street, looked at me, and took off running down the driveway. I live on a dead end, with no traffic to speak of. But I do live near open fields, and he could run for miles if he got out. I ran in the opposite direction, but he was wise to that game. I ran into the house to get cookies, then took off down the road. LUCKILY, he spotted the dogs next door. They were behind a fence, but he charged them. That allowed me to capture him, while he was busy running the fence (with me ducking under trees and bushes.)

Two things were clear: he could NEVER get loose, and he had to learn a recall. We'd been working on giving him treats when his name was called, but he would only come an arm's length away, then jump back. I taught him a hand touch, with my hand past my body, so that I can touch him with the other hand. I can't grab him - he can wiggle out of anything. But if I lay my hand on his back, he won't jump away and I can pick him up.

I'm also reinforcing "sit" constantly. He can't sit and run at the same time. I'm seeing the avoidance as a habit that might cause trouble at the end of an agility run, so I'll be very dilligent about rewarding a recall. I also think I'll teach him to jump into my arms at the end of a run. He's certainly capable of it physically, and it will be a fun trick that will give me control.

I'm starting to teach that behavior by having him jump into my lap for a treat. He's really hesitant to get "caught", so I'm being very careful, and letting HIM choose to do it. It's how I taught the down command (that was a nightmare to teach, but he finally got it.)

 I'm really enjoying him - he's very smart and willing. It's funny to see the wheels turning in his mind, and then him offering a behavior with intent. Too cute.

More to come.....


  1. Mom is enjoying reading these posts about Arnie. It makes her think that there is hope for me!
    Bailey & Hazel too

  2. Wow, wild child Arnie! He has come a long way. Such a sweet boy.