It has been a while since I’ve posted; we have been out of town visiting our new grandson (Of course, I’m very excited about this, but since this is Rocket’s blog, I’ll control myself and stick to the subject at hand ). While we were away, Rocket was able to spend some time at another foster home with his littermate, Zuma, and from all accounts had a great time. Thanks, Darleen and family for taking such good care of him!
Since last writing we had been given the go ahead to have the puppies wear their Gentle Leaders and packs (their blue coats) to class and on outings. I was looking forward to this. Besides the fact that he looks so adorable all dressed up, I was hoping it might make it easier to explain to people who wanted to pet him that he needed to mind his manners and remain sitting whenever he greets someone. Last week I took him over to the neighborhood park while a ball game was going on, hoping to practice some greetings with children, and to my surprise people didn’t come up to me and ask to pet him at all – I heard one mother tell her children – “No, you can’t pet him, he’s working.” While I appreciate that people understand this, it is going to force me to be a bit more assertive and ask people outright if they want to meet him.
Oh, and remember the last time when I bragged about how well Rocket was doing with the Gentle Leader? He still loves to put it on, but he doesn’t necessarily love to wear it right now. In fact, he has been rubbing his nose on the ground whenever he gets onto a patch of grass, and to my embarrassment, on a trip to Petco he scooted around much of the store on his nose. Nancy, our teacher, suggested that I make my trips to the pet store very short for now, merely walking in, practicing a few “watches”, and leaving quickly. In class on Thursday I was also surprised that Rocket wasn’t picking his retrieve items up like he does at home; it dawned on me that I had been only practicing this without the Gentle Leader on. Therefore, I am now practicing play retrieves while he’s “dressed” at home, and I can see it might take a while for him to make the connection that it’s okay to pick things up with the Gentle Leader on.
Overall, though, I’m sure these are minor things that will be worked through, and I believe Rocket is still doing very well. He is walking on a loose leash very, very well, with great attention, knows the “sit” command, can shake his right paw on command, is learning “drop,” and can even have a bowl of food set in front of him and wait to eat it until he is told “release.” One of his favorite things right now is a recall game, a dog version of Hide and Seek. I throw out a piece of food to distract him, then run and hide somewhere in another room and call out “You can’t find me!” He gets SO excited when he discovers where I am. My understanding is that the goal of this game is to reinforce the idea that coming is always an exciting, fun event. I have to admit it’s my favorite game to play with him, too.
Well, that’s our training update for now. I took some pictures of him all “dressed up” this evening, but since I was home alone I had to tie his leash around the tree – he wouldn’t wander far enough away from me to get a decent picture of him – a good thing!