Page 1:
7-8 weeks
9 weeks
10-11 weeks
12-13 weeks
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4

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Training diary, page1

Diesel 7-8 weeks

After being home for awhile I started introducing the clicker. Diesel was startled by the sound at first, so I kept the clicker inside my pocket and was soon able to click openly. Hand-fed clicking her first meal. After only couple of short sessions she seemed to alert and look for treats after hearing the click. I kept click treating for few more sessions. She also showed me a fine example of superstitious learning. Hearing the click started making her sit. I am extremely eager to start clicking behaviours and I have really hard time holding that back.
She doesn't seek my company, but spends time on her own. Didnt want to sleep with me the first night either! She wanted to sleep on the floor and did not whine at all. Maybe calming herself but I have difficulties getting her attention. She whines if doesnt see me when she wakes up, but she doesnt react to my voice at all. Outside I dont exist.
Im trying to click for attention and the only thing I got was discovering that my timing sucks big time!!!

Tried with the target stick. Before I could blink she grabbed the stick and started chewing it passionately. Shes a MANIC chewer. Tried it a few more times but the results were lousy and I feel very insecure about it so I decided to leave the stick for now. I have no idea how to make it work.
Started clicking for sits and she got that pretty fast. She offers sits nicely and of course, I hurried to add the cue.. arrghh.. The result is shes not really offering me anything else, she's just sitting and staring me. I have tried to click for downs whenever I see her going down but shes not offering me down at all!
I try clicking another behaviour and she just sits there and stares and stares and staaaares until she gets frustrated. Needless to say I get frustrated too. WHAT DO I DO!? I really feel like failing. I know Diesel would learn anything with the clicker, so it's me. One hears nothing but success stories and everyone says puppies are soooooooooooooo easy to train with the clicker and here we are.. Another aaarrggghhh.
More problems. This Labrador Retriever is picky with food! All the delicious liver treats I made her in advance are absolutely no interest for her. Does not eat her food too well either. Have been using toys as a reinforcement but am not quite sure whether I should do that right from the beginning.

Got some target stick advice and its working much better!! Holding a treat close on the other side of her nose and the stick on the other side and she doesnt have time to chew the stick. Although she still wants to grab the stick in her mouth, but have given me perfect nose-touches as well. Now I have an idea of what to do and am able to concentrate better. My timing has also improved a lot and am actually clicking before she grabs the stick. Boy, things are getting much better!
Diesel offered downs!! A major breakthrough! Shes also offering "hello" i.e. offering her paw. Were also having many attention sessions. She walks pretty well on-leash outside. Maybe were getting somewhere after all! Im getting much more relaxed. Reinforcement rate is increasing too! Hey, were doing great here! ;)

 

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Diesel 9 weeks.

Attention is getting good at home. Outdoors its still nonexistent. Shes still not offering downs until I placed on her chair and sat on the floor myself. She was looking downwards to me and I got three sessions of fast downs! Feels awesome. Sit is getting pretty good too. Im able to get her to sit in the middle of our wildest play which is; I rattle a milk-jar full of kibble (her favourite toy). Clicking a lot for simple handling stuff.
Now the target stick chewing is becoming a problem. No matter how fast I click she wont leave the biting and often wants to concentrate on that.
This is one self-confident puppy! I have been very proud of myself since Ive been able to restrain from scolding her in troublesome situations. Just trying to get her to pay attention to something else instead.
One big problem. Excess sleeve pulling. Also, shes still just staring me easily.

Arrrghh. Diesel chewed the main phone cord and it was hidden; only a small part was visible in the doorway is and she gets interested in that! Now were without a phone.

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Diesel 10-11 weeks

In the countryside. Were not clicking all that much, but things are going smoothly. Diesel has started mixing sits and downs, I think thats be because I was trying to add duration and obviously too much too soon. She offers me downs if I dont click immediately after she has sat. Forgot duration and working on distinguishing sit from down. Also started clicking for sitting from down positions. Recalls are going wonderfully. Few short sessions of calling her back and forth between two people (short distance), and then started (still two people involved) calling her and when she came the other person went to hide behind a tree (straight from Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson) and called her. Diesel absolutely adores this game. Also when Im walking in the woods with her, I quickly go hide if shes not paying attention to me for awhile and its working great. Shes checking to see me quite often.
Not working with target stick.. I guess Im still not comfortable enough with it and its easy to put it aside..
Digging, chewing, digging, chewing. Ate flowers and digs everywhere, especially where the soil is soft and damp (flowerbeds!).
She whines when she wants to go out, sometimes scratching the door. This is GOOD news.
Funny notions: During the first recall sessions (calling back and forth) my mom had difficulties asking Diesel to sit in a normal, quiet voice. Shes using veeery firm tone. Made me burst into laughter.
Were still trying not to scold and not to stop any behaviour. Difficult especially with so many people around who have such a history of other training methods. The hardest seems to be not to yell Diesel (by her name) when shes doing something undesirable. So set up a rule: if absolutely necessary or not able to restrict oneself from that, use some mumbo-jumbo or "Gabi" (which still comes naturally). This is difficult for me too at times but hardest for dad. That figures, hardest for the educationist..

Still struggling with treats but toys often make Diesel hyper so they can only be used within limits.

First trip by train. Diesel was OK and rather relaxed but I wasn't. LOT OF HASSLE. Luckily had Oona and Veera to help with all the bags and stuff.

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Diesel 12-13 weeks

Back home and allowed to meet other dogs. That means bye bye for any attention outdoors. Fine.
Downs are getting slower! Hmmmmmm.. Not sure why, have to start thinking and observing. I must have been doing something to cause that but have no clue. Down has been the most difficult in every way so far. I think we need a break from downs now.
I'm able to lift her upper lip to check her teeth! Grrrreat. We had few very intense teeth checking sessions and I was clicking like a madman. Grabbing her lower jaw is still a bit of a problem but this is wonderful. This used to be the greatest biting game ever and we've been working on it slowly occasionally but now it really clicked! ;)
I'm trying to catch the tiniest hint of attention outside, but I'm not clicking much outside. Diesel has no interest whatsoever for treats outside if there's any distractions (which there are a lot). So I use lot of praising instead and she responds better to that outside. I suspect I shouldn't though. Hmm.
She's also housebroken, I'm still expecting accidents though.
Target stick is back. Lo and behold, not much biting!
Started heeling inside. I'm clicking almost every step and it's going extremely well.
I added a small yellow papermass ball in the end of the target stick instead of the yellow tape I've been using. My goodness! Talk about focus! Diesel couldn't get her eyes off the ball and started biting. When she's a bit tired, working with the ball works wonderfully and I get better results than before but when she's lively it's too much of a temptation. I still don't feel we're doing great with the stick though.. I don't know.. yes and no, I wish I'd see someone else doing it.

We went to a weekend clicker camp. It was amazing! The very first night one of the trainers used Diesel as a "demo" dog and I couldn't believe my eyes! Diesel was superb! Touching the target stick, following the stick, sit, down, pawing etc. I cannot describe how extremely proud I felt. Throughout the weekend Diesel was great. We did lots of target stick practicing; following the stick (the first time), added a bit distance (as in go-outs) with the stick. I also, for the first time, taught her to touch a tile on the floor with her paw. This was my first real free shaping experience and I must say it was so interesting and enjoyable! Now I want to free shape all the time. I was able to ask all my questions, saw other people clicking and I also realized I have been doing relatively well on my own as well! Just what I needed, more confidence. Groo-vy!

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