Life with Sampson and Delilah….The 411

Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

Negative Punishment

I’ve become determined to work with Delilah on her down stays.

It’s not an easy  task.

Since she likes to be in the bathroom with me I figure it’s win-win.  She gets to be in the bathroom with me and I get to work on her downs.  The trouble with this is, she doesn’t always stay in the down.

I thought well maybe the floor (being ceramic and all) is too cold and she’s uncomfortable, so I took the bathroom rug and threw it down.  She still got up.

Listen to your readers.

A couple of posts ago Jan said, “Some of the best advice I ever got was not to try to treat my kids or my dogs the same way. They are all different entities, with different needs and all of them have let me know what kind of attention they want from me.

It was hard to do but I finally learned not to reward bad behavior by giving that kid or dog more attention. Praise the good one and the other will want to copy that behavior.”

This comment really got me thinking.  When I’m in the bathroom and I put Delilah into a down stay and she gets up.  What do I do?  I go back and put her in a down stay again.

I asked myself, “What does this teach her?”

I answered, “It teaches her that when she doesn’t do as I ask, I reward her with more attention.”

Jodi Stone, you are a bad dog trainer!

Look, I don’t want to scare you or force you to burn your retinas out with bleach so try not to visualize this too much.  Today I got out of the shower, dried myself off and applied my lotion.

While I was waiting for my lotion to dry, I decided to blow dry my hair.  Since I have short, fine hair I throw a little product in there, bend over and blow it upside down.

As I’m bent over in this upside down position with my hair dryer in my hands, who comes shoving her way through my legs.

Yup.

First I laughed, because I’m dumb and can’t help myself but then I took the rug and put it on the floor and said, “Down.”

She sat on the rug.

I didn’t battle with her at all, I took her by the collar, led her out into the bedroom and shut her out of the bathroom.

Seeing as this is DELILAH we are writing about, I need to make sure there is nothing lying about that she will decide to chew up or I will need to make sure the bedroom door is shut before I banish her.

Negative Punishment.

“Negative punishment reduces behaviors by taking away or withholding something good or something the dog will work for.”

I’ve been using this technique for a couple of weeks in a number of different ways.

When she does not sit while I am preparing her meals, I stop what I am doing and wait.  My motto is “Nothing moves in the kitchen if you’re moving.

When we are eating dinner and she is supposed to be in a down on her place and she gets up, she goes in her crate.

Last night we were watching TV and eating our dinner, it was a pretty intense show and we were both fixated on the TV.  I caught movement and realized she’d gotten up and gone over to inspect her bowl.

FAIL.

In the crate she went.

Get excited about this.

Let your mind soar as you think of the possibilities.

Dog doesn’t respond to recall = Dog stays on leash.

Child doesn’t clean room = Child doesn’t go to birthday party.

Husband doesn’t mow lawn = Wife doesn’t,,,,,,,,,,,

buy beer.

Where did you think I was going with that?

Book Update:  I haven’t updated you about my book in a while.  Truthfully, I wrote a really exciting part of the book and then I didn’t know what to do next, so I put it down for a while.  But I’ve picked it back up and my book now has 25,051 words.

Holy Pinata Batman!

Many many moons ago, I wrote a post about exposing your dog to new experiences.  If you missed it you can read about it here.

The bottom line is if your dog is experiencing something for the very first time you can never be truly sure how he/she will react.

Case in point.

Last night I wrote about my niece’s eighteenth birthday party which was held at our house.  In this post there was an adorable picture of Sampson looking at my niece as she readied herself to pummel her Pinata.

What are you doing with that stick, T?

What I didn’t write was what happened after she took her first whack.

Sampson barked and got up and came to stand with me, my sister and my nephew.  He actually placed himself between my nephew’s legs.

Taylor whacked the Pinata again and Sampson barked again and that’s when I brought him into the den to join Delilah.

As I explained to Hubby, I’m not going to ruin an eight-year-old dog by having him scared by a Pinata stick.

Normally Sampson is not afraid of loud noises.  Last year I laughed when a particularly loud clap of thunder shook the house and Sampson jumped up and tore outside to lift his head and bark at the sky.

I’ve only ever seen Sampson afraid of one thing and that was an old rail road bridge we encountered on one of our hikes.  As we approached the bridge we noticed the walk way beside the tracks looked like a grate.   Sampson approached it, put one foot on it and trembled like a leaf.

We tried encouraging him and praising him but he was afraid so we turned around and headed back.  We did not force him to confront his fears, we just let it be and made a note to be careful around grates.

I will tell you, he was none the worse for wear with the Pinata episode, once the candy had been divided up, the dogs came out of the bedroom and Sampson was once again comfortable.

Cuddled up with his new friend, Hannah.

Can you stay with me? No-one pays any attention to me here.

Book update:  My book has 21,227 words.

P.S. I am struggling mightily trying to comment on some blogs.  I have left comments on DogDaz, Pawfect Friends, Paws Abilities, Rescued Insanity and Laurie Bartolo Photography to name a few.  Would you please check your spam folder and see if they managed to make it in there?

Snow Fall

It started snowing here late this morning.  I figured by the time I got home from work the snow might be too deep, so I decided to go home on lunch and give the dogs a half hour walk.

I have to say walking in the woods with the dogs during a snow fall rates in my top ten favorite things to do.

I love how the only sounds I hear are the squeaking of the snow under my boots and the jingle of the dog’s tags clinking against their collars as they run.

They stop.  Ears up, listening.  Then noses to the ground, they are off and running again.

My Little Diva

I wanted to share a little Delilah story with you.

First I have to tell you, I’m not very good about setting time aside to actually work on training my dogs, which is one of the reasons I really, really like our Thursday night drop in obedience class.

I also think it’s a really great opportunity to expose and work the dogs around other dogs.

Last Thursday we went to our drop in obedience class after having missed it for about a month, for whatever reasons health, weather, a soldier returning home 🙂  it had been a long time since we’d gone to class.

Hubby goes with me and he works Sampson, while I work the Diva.  Apparently even though we do make the dogs sit, down and stay at home, someone forgot the rules in obedience class.  It really didn’t take her TOO long to go into a down for me, but she had a real problem ‘staying.’

Anytime I would walk away and she would follow, I would turn around and gently lead her back to her place.  We’ve got a real great group of people in that class so a couple of times she got up and someone would take her leash and stop her.

I’m the only one in the class that carries a treat bag on my hip (and trust me, all the dogs know it!) And I was running pretty low on treats and basically had to let her lick the bag to reward her, so during a ‘stay’ command, I took the opportunity to run out to the store in order to grab a sample bag of kibble.  I’ve been using Taste of the Wild in my treat bag and I’m telling you, if I could figure out how to get my dogs to stand on their heads, they would do it for this kibble.  They like it THAT much.

I’m sorry, I do digress at times.

Delilah happened to be on the far end of the training room in a ‘down stay,’ and Hubby and Sampson were at the front of the training room, so if you were looking at the shop as a long rectangular room Delilah would be at one end, I would be at the other and Hubby and Sampson would be about half way in between.  Also at the far end of the room was my friend Dave with his dog Molly.

I had put the kibble in the bag and was throwing the wrapper out when I heard Molly, for no apparent reason let out a noise, which if I really think about it, sounded like a howl.  Whatever it was, it scared the Bejesus out of my little Diva who with no mommy to reassure her she was ok, sprinted across the room for daddy.  Needless to say the entire class burst into laughter, while I walked in saying, “What?”

Yes, my dogs DO make me laugh on a daily basis.

Book update:  My book has 11,324 words.

Sometimes You Just Want Your Mommy

We’ve had Sampson since he was eight weeks old, and we used the crate to train him.

Once Sampson was house broken he only used the crate at night.  After he started sleeping in bed with us, he used his crate when he wanted to.

When Delilah joined our pack we added a second crate.   I’m pretty sure that whoever had Delilah before us, also used the crate, because she doesn’t mind it at all.  In fact, if she’s misbehaving all we have to say is, “Do you want to go in your crate?” And she runs right in there.  She will also stay in the crate without having to latch the door.

When we moved we only set one crate up, for Delilah of course.  After a bit of time I noticed Sampson was going back inside the crate, so we set the second crate up, but we are now back to one crate.  It sits in the corner of the living room and Delilah uses it when we need her in it or when she wants it, which isn’t frequent.

Mostly the crate is used by Bob.

Last night after the dogs finished their snacks Sampson started wandering around.  He climbed down off the couch and went into the crate where I heard him scratching around.

The he walked out and scratched at the rug, he laid down but I could tell he just wasn’t comfortable, so I sat down on the floor with my back to the couch and patted the floor in front of me.  He just looked at me with his sad eyes.

So I got up, grabbed a blanket and threw it over my legs.  His eyes lit up and before I had even finished arranging the blanket, he got up and came over and laid next to me.  He put his head on my leg and I stroked his ears and he went to sleep.

Sometimes you just want your Mommy.

Book Update: My book has 6,378 words.

Death By Chocolate – Part Two

If you missed the post about Delilah’s first attempt on my life, you can find it here.   Since she failed in her attempt to kill me by force, she decided her next attempt would be to give me a heart attack.

Before you read any further, I will let you know that we are all fine.

I had planned on walking the dogs this morning, but needed a quick trip to the post office.  I was gone from the house for 20 minutes, 25 minutes tops.

I came back grabbed a cheese stick to munch on and started gathering all the items I use on our walk.

Cell phone, pepper blaster, treat bag, keys. (The poop bags are missing.)

I noticed the dish rag was on the floor.  I picked it up, looked at Delilah and said, “Why is this here?”  She turned her back and ignored me.

I went to the area where I keep our walking things and then I noticed this.

Of course this is how it looks after I picked it up, I was so freaked out that I didn’t think to take a picture.  Why?  Because before it was destroyed and consumed it had at least two to four of every one of these inside it.

I remember saying, “Oh My God, Oh My God, Oh My God” while I looked frantically for the vet’s phone number.

I finally found it and called the vet, our conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi this is Jodi Stone, Delilah just ate a whole bunch of supplements and other stuff.

Angie: OK, what did she eat?

Me: Well flax seed, calcium, vitamins, some Benadryl, some Omeprazole, and some adrenal support supplements.

Angie:  OK, let me see if a Dr. or vet tech is available to speak with you.

Me: Ok.  Oh My God, Oh My God, Oh My God.

Angie: OK, I spoke with Dr. B, she thinks Delilah will be OK, but just to be on the safe side, you should make her vomit.  You can either bring her here or do it at home.

Me: Well how do you make her puke?  (I mean I’ve heard of people puking their dogs before, but in all my years of owning dogs, I’ve never done it.)

Angie:  Dr. B says a quarter to half a cup of Peroxide.  Start with a quarter cup and if she doesn’t vomit, give her the other half.  If that doesn’t work, you will need to bring her in.  Give her a little water after you give her the Peroxide.

Me: I don’t know if I even have Peroxide.  (As I’m talking, I’m walking to the bathroom and checking under the sink.)

Me: OK, I have some.  Now how do I get her to drink it?

Angie:  Well when I had to give it to my cat, I used a syringe.

Me: OK, I’ll see what I can do, if I can’t get her to puke, I’ll call you back.

Angie: Call us back either way.

After we hung up I began rummaging thru the cupboards, thinking how many times I will need to fill the syringe  to give her a quarter of a cup.  That’s when I remembered Mr. Honey Bear.

Yes, I saved the bear that my honey came in because I thought it might be something fun for my grandson to drink out of when he was at my house.

Mr. Honey Bear worked great.  But she wouldn’t take any water.

And then we waited.  Of course Delilah was all kinds of pissed off at me.  I tried to keep her off the deck so the vomit would be on the ground and I kept stroking her and telling her it was OK.  Her stomach heaved once, but she didn’t puke.

After five minutes I called the vet’s office back.  Of course I couldn’t remember who I talked to, so I asked them to ask around and I ended up with Angie again.  I told her she’d had the quarter cup and hadn’t vomited and asked how long I should wait before giving her the second quarter.  Angie said it should be pretty immediate and if five minutes had passed and she hadn’t puked, I should give her the rest.

I hung up and filled Mr. Honey Bear again.  Delilah didn’t want anything to do with me, she walked around, then went to tinkle, right after she tinkled she turned around and puked.

Thank God.

I’m still not sure what happened to my cheese stick.

Book Update: My word count is the same as yesterday.

When You’re Down

I’ve always been under the impression that dogs (as well as other animals) have a sixth kind of sense.  That they can sense things that humans may not be aware of.

I’ve heard stories of animals living in nursing homes who suddenly appeared in a patient’s room and a short time later the patient  passed.

One time when I had a terrible migraine I overdosed myself on Xanax, quite by accident I assure you, yet I somehow managed to drive myself home where I immediately fell into bed.  Sampson my sweet puppy stayed right by my side.

So when I came down with a stomach bug and had to leave work a few minutes early on Monday, I expected a bit more from the dogs.

I walked through the door practically doubled in pain and Delilah jumped into my face.  I went into the kitchen to get their dinners ready and both dogs were jumping around, under my feet, in my way.  Well you get the idea.

I went into the bedroom and sat down on the bed to take off my shoes and put my pajamas on and both dogs were jumping all over me.

I know, I know they were excited and happy to see me, and I appreciate that.  I really do.  I just felt really bad and had hopes they would sense my need for rest.

Eventually they did settle down and luckily I began to feel better pretty quickly because I ended up rubbing this one’s ears.

For a very long time.

But seriously, how can you look at this face and not want to snuggle?

Team Delilah

Tonight Hubby was back, so I decided to test my theory.

I let Sampson and Delilah sit on the edges of the kitchen while I got their snacks together and Hubby and I readied our dinners.

When I was ready I called the dogs and together we walked into the living room where I put them in their downs in front of the couch.

Hubby came in and we gave them their treats and we ate our dinners.  Neither one of them moved.  They stayed through the entire meal until they were released.

So my theory is that Delilah doesn’t want to miss the action.  I cannot as yet come up with a reason for her moving and getting up while we are eating, but for tonight it didn’t happen!

Score one for Team Delilah.

Death By Chocolate

I have a dessert recipe for Death By Chocolate, it is one of the all-time favorites on my holiday table.

I won’t share the recipe here (but if you want it, send me an e-mail and I’ll shoot it over to you) but I will say it involves chocolate cake, a variation of chocolate pudding, Skor bars and cool whip.  And yes, it’s good.

When I was attending college in my Effective Speaking Class, one of the required speeches was a ‘Persuasive Speech.”  Being the oh so clever being that I am, I decide to try to persuade people to choose their death, by chocolate.  I enlisted my friend’s help to carry in the HUGE bowl of DBC.   I also had paper plates and utensils and while I was giving the speech, my friend was passing it out.

I started by saying something along the lines of, “If you could choose the manner of your death, what would you choose?  Would you choose death by hanging, or heart attack”  well you get the idea.

I then went on to say, “I would choose my death by CHOCOLATE,” at which point I whipped off the covering from the bowl and revealed the decadent dessert.

When I stated I wanted my death to be by chocolate, I meant the chocolate sweetness of dessert, not death by the paws of a chocolate lab named Delilah.

If you are my friend on facebook, you know I spent part of New Year’s Eve in my local emergency room.

Here’s what happened.

It was cool, not cold on New Year’s Eve.  We had fog hanging around all day and as the afternoon waned the fog got a bit thicker.

The dogs and I headed out to the trails shortly after 3:00 pm, because of the thickness of the fog and the moisture on the ground I decided to stick to the upper trails and not venture onto the steeper ones.

The light area in the back of the picture is our field.

I kept hold of Delilah’s lead because the fog was so thick and dense and I was afraid to lose her in it.  We had just completed our first pass and were heading down from the woods via the large rocks.

I told Delilah, “Easy” and “Wait” which she did.

I had reached the bottom of the rocks with my feet on good old Terra firma when I said, “OK, good girl, good wait.”

Delilah took the “OK” as her opportunity to explore the field (which she should.)

She took off at a dead run giving me a really hard tug.

It happened so fast I didn’t have the opportunity to drop the leash.  I remember my feet moving quickly as I was propelled forward and a very hard SLAM as my shoulder hit the ground.

I sat there for a minute looking across the field at my dogs who were frolicking about.  My right should and upper arm were in agony.  I wasn’t sure if I had broken my arm or dislocated my shoulder.

Thankfully although all my pockets were full, I didn’t land on anything.  My right arm instinctively moved into the Pledge of Allegiance position which put it in close proximity to my cell phone, which was in an interior pocket on the left-hand side of my jacket. I managed to get my cell phone out and by holding it close to my right hand, I dialed Hubby’s number.

Meanwhile Delilah decided to come back to check on me and managed to dance around me to the point that I was now tangled up in her leash.

Hubby said, “Do you need me to come and get you.”

But the longer I sat there getting my bearings the better I felt.

I said, “No, I am going to finish this walk.”

And we did.

Once we were all back at the house I immediately iced my arm.

I’m not usually an alarmist when it comes to illness or injury and tend to err on the side of caution.  I know my body and I normally know when it needs medical attention.  After about an hour I decided it did.  So I drove myself to emergency and had an x-ray.

Thankfully there was nothing broken or dislocated and while the Physician’s Assistant send me home with a sling, she preferred I didn’t wear it, opting instead to use my arm, which I did.

The more time passed, the better my arm felt and I am happy to report I have almost 100% mobility again, and only about 5% pain.

I can’t say 2011 left me without a whimper. 🙂

By the way, I did get an A on the speech.

 

 

Things I Learned In 2011

It’s that time of year where every time you turn around someone is recapping SOMETHING.

Surprise marriages and divorces, top cheating scandals, celebrities we lost in 2011, ten dumbest things congress did this year. 

I’m pretty sure you know what I mean.

For my last post (of 2011, don’t panic) I thought I would recap the top blogging things I’ve learned this year.  I know I’m probably going to sound really dumb when I reveal some of these things, keep in mind I didn’t know the first thing about blogging when I started.  And for the record, I prefer to think of myself as naive. 🙂

Categories.    Categories are words which you choose, that help people find your blog/blog post in a search engine.  For instance if someone googles ‘rescue dogs,’ somewhere down at the bottom of that list you will find one of my posts about Delilah. 🙂

Be The Change.  Be the change for animals is an event that happens four times a year in Blogville, on the 15th day of January, April, July and October bloggers EVERYWHERE write a pet related post.  It could be anything that has to do with making a change for the betterment of animals.  One of my first BTC posts was a copy of  a letter I sent to the Governor of CT regarding a change in law for rescue organizations.

Pingbacks.  Pingbacks are still a subject I’m kind of wonky about, but the best I can figure is if someone makes a reference to a post you made, you get a little note in your comment section letting you know that someone mentioned you.  So far most of my pingbacks are from myself 🙂 but that is something I hope to change in 2012.

Writing Prompts.  Yes there are blogs out there that will help you become a better writer (if that is something you are aspiring to.)  Write on the Edge is one of these blogs.  Every Tuesday and Friday there is a different challenge.  You can choose to participate or not, no pressure.  A few weeks back I did participate and wrote a short story that got a lot of comments.

Comfort Zones.  Step out of your comfort zone.  Try something new, this past year I participated in a “Back to school blog party.”  Hosted by Frankie and Sarge, this was something way out of my comfort zone.  The post was supposed to be from the pet’s point of view and I don’t normally write in that form.  But I took a shot anyway.  If you haven’t seen it, you can find it here.  I think it came out decent if I do say so myself.   

I also participated in the Social Media event hosted by Two Little Cavaliers.  It was a great event that got me a bunch more followers (mostly Twitter.)

I’m thinking for 2012 I will be taking part in the Pet Blogger Challenge hosted by Edie at Will My Dog Hate Me and Amy at Go Pet Friendly

Yup. Stepping. Out. Of. My. Comfort. Zone.

Linky Tools.  Linky tools is a blogging tool used in Blog Hops and links you up to other bloggers.  Linky Tools does NOT work with the free WordPress account.  Which leads me to kindness.

Kindness.  Bloggers are very kind people, if you need help or seem to be struggling with something, chances are there’s a blogger ready to lend a helping hand.  Case in point when I did my first blog hop, I couldn’t figure out how to make that Linky Tool work.  A very kind Pamela from Something Wagging This Way Comes sent me an e-mail explaining exactly how I had to use the Linky Tool.  How kind is that?

Blog Hops.  Blog Hops link you up with other blogs and help you easily manuever from one blog to the next, hence the term Blog Hop. 

Right now I know of three regularly scheduled blog hops.  The Monday Mischief blog hop hosted by Alfie’s Blog, Snoopy’s Dog Blog, Luna a Dog’s Life and My Brown Newfies.

The Wordless Wednesday blog hop hosted by BlogPaws.

And of course, the one that I struggled with in the beginning, the Saturday Morning Pet Bloggers Blog hop hosted by Two Little Cavaliers, Life With Dogs, and Confessions of the Plume.

I am looking forward to the challenges of 2012, and as we bid adieu to 2011, we pray you have a safe, healthy and happy new year!

You guessed it, this is the Saturday Morning Pet Bloggers blog hop, hop on.

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