It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve journaled and in dog training time a lot has happened. Arlo has really settled into the routine of our life. Although he’s been with us just about two months now, it’s hard to imagine life without him. He has brought so much life into our home. Keith and I find ourselves laughing at all of his antics, and he and Cowboy continue to be good buddies. As we well know, that can change as the teen months approach, but so far, so good.
I’m working on Arlo’s leash walking skills. He’s pretty soft on the buckle collar, but the challenge happens when we come across other people, cyclists and other dogs. He tends to get a little “out of body”, all wriggly, and he dances on his hind legs. I’m working on his greeting behavior which means he has to have all four paws on the ground to interact with people. I step on the leash and reinforce “four feet on the floor”. I stop kids in town to help proof this skill. In addition, I’ve now added the element that not everything is at his disposal when on leash. I don’t want him and Cowboy to interact while on leash, and we are working on ignoring bikes and skateboards, and other things that whiz by him while on leash. That is why responding to pressure on the collar is so important. When he softens to the pressure on the collar and turns to look at me instead of the distraction, he gets reinforced. It’s going pretty well, but my timing needs to be right on, and I have some physical limitations that interfere with my technique but all is going pretty well.
I’m learning more about his drives and sensitivities. Arlo loves food. He loves people. He loves toys. So far, he is friendly and deferential to other dogs. He plays like a jerk at times with Cowboy, but Cowboy disciplines him effectively and I interfere. Arlo is doing great with his confinement in the crate. He’s starting to ask to go out to potty. As far as sensitivities, he is not real pushy with me and while not overly socially sensitive, he responds nicely when I stop him with my voice or interfere. I’ve noticed some startle responses to sounds but his recovery is real quick. He tail tucks and runs back to the door at night when he hears other dogs barking and coyote howls freak him out a bit. Smart dog. Very typical, normal border collie stuff. We are really working on body handling. He’s not the most comfortable with being touched and pretty darn squirmy.
Cute things that he does: He likes to lay under the freezer where it is cool. He’s figured out too that I will lure him away with a treat. A dog after my own heart, he likes whipped cream out of the can. Favorite treats: string cheese, meat, especially bacon. Bully sticks and raw bones for chewing time.
Arlo is becoming more interested in retrieving toys. He loves to play puppy heeling games or what Jennifer my training mentor calls “Let’s Go Walking.” He’s got everything possible in his mouth, and does a nice “trade ya”. I’ll update soon with some videos. I have to post them on youtube because the media library on wordpress continues to fail.
This morning he heard Paul Robeson sing “Old Man River” on NPR. He kept cocking his head, and looking at the speakers.
When we walk by benches I cue him to do a “paws up” and he puts two feet up on the bench.
Right now I’m mostly working on the basics: Sit/ Maintain, leash walking, leave it/walk away and a few tricks. Oh, he is way less mouthy. Yeah for that!
I went away over labor day and Keith babysat for Cowboy and Arlo. It was a great bonding time for the boys. Made my heart sing to see Keith so happy.
Two years ago, Keith had just finished his first round of chemo for his Esophageal Cancer. More on that when I write about dogs being “blind-sided”. Keith and I have an intimate understanding of that concept now.
Yesterday we had a puppy family reunion at the Jefferson County Sheep and Wool Festival. Here’s a picture of the pups and their mom Peach.
Peach and 4 of her pups. Pat, Jo, Donner and Arlo