Thursday, September 22, 2011

Halfway point

Ugggh man I haven't written in a while. I really want to keep up with this too so I feel terrible about falling behind. But my husband is gone for a month and since he left I just haven't had time or motivation to do this. Especially since I'm the only one taking care of the puppies 24/7! Well we're almost to the halfway point of this separation and the puppies just made it halfway through their classes this week! (Hence the title of this post).

It's interesting to see the different teaching and training styles of the trainers doing Harley and Ace's classes. I find things I like and don't like about each one. So hopefully it'll help make me a better trainer too, cause then I can pull all the things I like about the classes I've taken and combine them. The trainer teaching Ace's class (who is my co-trainer where I work) begins every class with a puppy massage, and I've begun to use the same technique in all of my classes too.  It's basically just calmly and slowly petting your dog while holding them close to you to get them to calm down and not be so excited or anxious during class. It really helps Ace out- since he has a problem with getting too excited around other dogs. I have to massage him periodically throughout class to keep him calm. I've begun doing the same thing with Harley in her class because she gets really excited too. It's funny, my husband and I thought that Ace would be worse in class because he's so excitable when he sees other dogs on our walks, but actually Harley has been worse about acting up in class. Until yesterday, that is. For some reason Ace was just not on his game yesterday and kept freaking out when he saw another dog and he wasn't interested in his bully stick. The bully stick worked the first week, and a little bit last week, but not at all yesterday. And it didn't work at all for the really anxious dog in my class that my manager suggested it for. I had to switch that dog into private to see if he'll be less anxious that way.

Last weekend I had to leave the puppies home alone overnight while I went to camp out for a free dress giveaway for Marine wives of Camp Pendleton. I had to work that Friday night til 9:00 and then I came home to take the dogs for a long walk and prep the kitchen so they wouldn't destroy it. By prep I mean spray every surface with no chew spray, and put bully sticks, kongs filled with peanut butter, and toys all over the place. Then I left around 10:00 to make the half hour drive south to my friend's apartment, who then drove us another half hour south to her friend's apartment, who then drove us to the event site. We got there a little after 11:00 and I got home the next morning a little after 10:00. So the dogs had been inside and alone for over 12 hours! But, amazingly, nothing was destroyed. They didn't even chew their whole bully sticks! I think that's partly due to it being overnight and not during the day. They're used to being in the kitchen all night while I sleep- I don't quite trust them yet to leave them in my bedroom with me. And there have been a couple nights here and there when they were in there for 12 hours- like when my husband would go to bed early and I'd stay up and go to bed later without taking them out and then he wakes up extra early and doesn't take them out before he leaves for work and I then sleep in longer than normal. Because they were much more ill-behaved when I left for work on Sunday for 7 hours. They're not used to being alone that long during the day- cause usually my husband is home for at least part of the time.

Dealing with the dogs while my hubby is gone is a lot harder than I anticipated! I'm the only one here... so I'm the only one they go to when they need something or want attention. It's exhausting! well, having two puppies at the same time was exhausting anyway, but at least I was sharing the work with another person. I can't imagine what it'll be like when he deploys! I need to make sure that they're trained pretty perfectly before that so that at least I don't have to worry about them being terrible at walking on leash or freaking out when they see another dog or having accidents in the house, etc.

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