Pupdate #10: Everything Changes
When I last updated you, 3.5 months ago, I was having a hard time walking Winston. There was snow on the ground and he was really energetic and still trying to control the walk. Tonight -- just now, actually -- we had our first off-leash walk around the entire block. The pad of my thumb is sore from all the snapping I had to do to keep him by my side -- and he really didn't get more than two feet in front of me -- but I'm very pleased that he has come so far in his training. While we haven't been in a while, due to my hectic schedule lately, Winston really enjoys going to the dog park at Sorauren Avenue Park. There's one dog, though, that when he shows up, it takes forever to get the two of them settled down and to get him to leave. When we go to the park, we've been working on Winston's entrance to the fenced in area. I've been getting him to lay down by the entrance calmly before he's allowed to go in. This is a practice he is used to as he has to lay calmly by the front door before he's allowed to come into the house, every single time.
Likewise, Winston's feeding routine now consists of me putting food and water on the floor, Winston assumes the "down" position, and he is not given permission to eat until his ears are back and he is in a calm state. When I started doing this about a month ago, it took upwards of 10-15 minutes each meal. Now, he's lying down in an alert position before the bowls even hit the floor. Then it only takes about 10-15 second before his ears are back and he is in a calm state. As soon as I say, "Okay!", he gets up and promptly eats his meal.
As an added bonus, if I say "stop" while he is eating, he stops right away, lays "down" and waits for the next "Okay!" command. You might wonder why I would train him to stop eating during his meal, but it came about because he eats his food too rapidly and often ends up regurgitating it into his throat and "re-eating" it. It's not healthy for him for to eat so quickly, not to mention how disgusting it sounds and smells.
Other tidbits: His teeth are great, thanks to his Prescription Diet oral care food and daily "toothbrush" treat. He now sits by the door when he needs to go out for a poop -- he learned that one on his own, I'm not sure how. He's been molting and shedding like crazy; I vacuum up a whole dog every few days. And he's doing pretty well when left at home on his own. There are more improvements to be made still, but those will all come with time, consistent training, and focus. Soon he'll be able to fetch me a beer from the fridge.