Thursday, June 20, 2019

Buddy Clicker Training Session 5 & 6

Session 5 - I think this was on Monday the 17th.  I waited too long to write about it, so I don't remember much.  We reviewed sit and down which he does great.  He did get confused on down because I wasn't sitting on the floor like when I taught him, but he did get it in the end.  After that we worked on come and he did fantastic.  It was SO weird though because he kept 'resetting' himself. Normally when teaching a puppy to come the hardest part is getting them far enough away from you to call him again.  Buddy would come running to me, sit, take his treat and then spin around and run to my dad's chair (not jumping in it, but laying in front of it).  I have no idea why, but it was super helpful because I could just keeping calling him without having to move around.

Session 6 -  This was today.  We reviewed sit, down and come.  He was resetting himself after the recall again like last time.  Then I started working on beg (I call it sit up).  He is sort of standing on his hind legs, but that is fine to start with.  I will refine it later into a sitting position.  Beg is great for strengthening a dog's hips, but by the same token they also have to build the strength to be able to do it, so we're going slow. 

After that he was tired (we had been playing hard before training) so he plopped down on the cool tile floor.  Since he was laying still and tired I decided to work on his down stay.  He did SO much better than I expected.  I've never cared for teaching puppies to stay (although I know it's necessary and I always train it anyway) because they are so bouncy and always breaking it, but he only broke it a couple of times.  I started out just saying stay, waiting a second, clicking and treating.  Then I worked up to saying stay, stepping back one step, stepping forward, click and treat.  Then I'd add another step backward away from him.  I made it to three steps before I called it quits.  I don't ever want to keep going to the point where he gets bored or frustrated.  Eventually I'll work up to turning away from him and walking circles around him, but that will be a while.  We have to take baby steps with such young puppies.  Since we found him at four weeks it's easy to forget he's only nine weeks old.  We keep forgetting and wanting to treat him like he's older, because he is SO smart.  Then he does something that is typical puppy to remind us he's a baby.  I'm having so much fun working with him!!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Buddy Clicker Training Session 4 - Video!

I did some clicker training with Buddy after work today and he did great!  I started off reviewing sit and down.  He knows them so well!  He just needs to learn the vocal cues.  Buddy is the smartest, most enthusiastic puppy I have ever worked with.  When working on down I like to toss the treat a short distance because it gets them out of the down so you can ask for it again.  He runs after the treat, hits it with his paws like a cat sending it skittering across the room, chases it down, eats it and then runs back to me at full speed and slides into a down next to me (literally like a baseball player sliding to home plate).  My mom got a short video.  It's poor quality because it's in bad lighting and off a cell phone, but you can see what he was doing.

After that I worked on "go to bed" to have him go into his crate when asked.  He was confused at first because he was trying to follow my hands around the back of it, so I started reaching inside of the crate to drop the treat.  He followed my hand in and I would click and he'd find the treat.  Within less than a minute I was sitting a couple of feet from the crate and tossing the treats inside it.  One time he didn't see me put the treat in there so I just sat still and waited.  He lay in front of me looking at me and then jumped up and ran into the crate.  I love watching puppies learning how to problem solve and think!!

After that I was talking to my family about what to teach next and "shake" or "sit up/beg" were popular choices.  I tried out both to see which one he would catch on to quicker and I think I'm going to do sit up.  He's at the mouthy stage and grabbing his paw is too tempting to nip at my hands.  He sat up once, but then I could tell his attention span was gone so I ended the session.  He is so smart and enthusiastic it's hard not to get carried away.

I think from here on out I'm going to do weekly posts with his sessions because as the sessions get more frequent I don't want to fill up everyone's feeds with posts too often.  I know some people aren't interested in dog training and will probably skip over these, which is fine.  I'm mainly keeping this as a record for myself.  At this rate he's going to learn tricks so fast I won't be able to remember them all!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Art! Attempting to draw humans.... scary!

I have drawn animals my entire life.  When I was younger I never had any interest in drawing humans, but as my art improved I started wanting to branch out.  I have loved experimenting with different mediums (charcoal, colored pencils, chalk pastels, oil paints, etc.) and I've enjoyed branching out with landscapes, but I was always too afraid to try drawing humans because I'm awful at proportions.  Today I was feeling brave so I decided to just go for it.  The result is above.

This is completely free hand drawn with a reference photo (no tracing).  I'm extremely critical of my work, so all I see are the faults, but my family has praised the result so I decided to call it done and stop trying to "fix" it.  After stepping away for a bit I'm pleased with the result aside from the glaring proportion issues.  It will get better with more practice.  I really like the pose, the face shape and the hair.  I also like the individual features, but I do wish they were the correct size.  Oh well.  Please let me know what you guys think!  Feedback (good or bad) is helpful.  :)  Thanks guys!