The Journey of Little Rosanne Rosannadanna

Please follow along as my new puppy, Rosanne Rosannadanna, learns all about life, the universe and everything.

Thursday, October 21, 2010



We had a very busy day today!

Rosanne and I traveled to the Gym this morning to teach a one-person class and, as it turned out, that student could not attend class. So we were on our own. I had the camera with me and the crate pieces so we did crate training on video. I did remember to do somewhat shorter sessions; however, she did need to remind me a couple of times. We made great progress - got intentional behavior, added a cue, added in release cue training and worked on pair of opposites training (into the crate and release from the crate).

We also started target stick work using her pink fairy wand target stick. After a few reps, it was clear I was getting open-mouthed touches to the target stick and that I needed to spend some time thinking of how to extinguish the open-mouthed touches. I was capturing her nose touch to the target and one of the ways I thought of to help with this would be to use the "Shedd way" for teaching targets, i.e. the trainer touches the dog's nose with the target. After some reinforcement history has been generated, the trainer then puts the target very near to the nose and lets the animal seek out that reinforcing target contact.

I had a long conversation with someone in the office while Rosanne stayed in her puppy play pen in the main space of the Gym, a good 60 ft or so away. Niiiicccce . . . Quiet puppy, able to be left to her own devices alone in a new place. Thank you, Granma Mary! :)

Later in the day, I returned to the Gym to evaluate a dog for Control Unleashed class. Rosanne and Joey both came with me. For the first time, Rosanne was *not* the dog going into the training center! She stayed in her crate in the van while Joey went to work and she handled it very well.

After the evaluation, I walked her around the parking lot all the way up to the icky stuff along the chain link fence which she very much wanted to visit. She visited the fence line and its debris, then checked out some piles of shop waste material and we called it good. A nice scent-hound experience! We returned to the van and did a round of Name Game before loading up and going home. It's really important to slip in as much Name Game as you can during the course of whatever you do with your puppy.

When we arrived home, there was a little daylight left so I put Joey and Rosanne off leash into the big back yard, again hoping their might be dog play happening. It was quite hilarious. Joey ran big circles enjoying himself, Rosanne ran after him but it was not at all mutual or interactive. Joey did give her quite a work-out.

We did lots of Name Game calls back to me (for both dogs) with nice rounds of mutual treats. Joey responds to "RosANNE!" - hah, no issues there, ha ha! There was a great deal of running and as a result Rosanne totally crashed in her play pen when we came inside. Nothing like a tired puppy to end a day on a really good note. :)

For evening TV time, we did a lot of Eye Contact work with my hand holding the treat on the back of the couch (Doggie Zen - Attention). She figured it out right away that looking at my hand produced nothing while whipping her eyes back to mine produced /treat. She's sooooo smart! :)

I also did a few nose touches to my digital recorder which were not met with open-mouthed touches.

One really cool thing happened in couch time: Marcus (9 year old Havanese, low confidence) was on the back of the couch and Rosanne was pestering him to play by jumping up at him with both feet landing on him. Marcus gave her ONE HECK OF A GOOD CORRECTION! It was loud, intense, assertive, quick and over with. This, for Marcus, is a miracle because, in his lack of confidence, he would normally "attack" the offender and not let up. This time it was perfectly appropriate adult dog communication. I praised Marcus like crazy. He looked at me as if he thought I was nuts. I don't think he was expecting to be praised for that!


TUESDAY, OCT. 19, 2010
Finally, I am back home for a while - home with my boys and my puppy! She had another rousing great time with Auntie Lynn and Big Cousin Ziva. There was a five-month-old WireHaired Pointing Griffon at Auntie Lynn's (named Mia) but Mia would not play with little Rosanne Rosannadanna.

This morning was her first Sit-for-Food session. I had her bowl of puppy food in my hand. Rosanne offered a sit, I lowered the bowl. If she got up from the sit, the bowl stopped right where it was while I waited for her to resume a sit. The bowl stopped 3 or 4 times until she caught on and held her little sit for a count of 3. I then rushed the bowl to the floor and cued "OK" (to release her from the sit - this is the start of release cue training).

We went to Auntie Lynn's house today to do video work, have a play fest and to let Rosanne know that she doesn't get left at Lynn's every time we go there. Rosanne did some official shaping to go into a crate (bottom only) which I videoed. I did have to (re-) learn that five-treat sessions are best and especially best for young puppies. In my zeal to do video, my sessions were just a tad too long and Rosanne kindly informed me of that clause in her contract. I also had an opportunity to see what happens when she gets no-click - she took off. I like to teach concepts more than behaviors at first. Understanding click/no-click is more important to me than shaping her into the crate right away.

Rosanne did video with Lynn shaping her to go to a mat. This is for a video project to catalog the behaviors I teach at the Gym in the Start Right program so that students have a video reference for what they work on in class.

We then had a big play fest with Joey and Ziva - hoping that Joey's love for play with Ziva might carry over to play-interest in Rosanne. It didn't. Ziva and Joey ran fast and hard and Rosanne hauled her little butt as fast as she could to keep up with them. But alas, Joey did not develop any interest in Rosanne as a potential playmate. *sigh*

Rosanne then had a big nap at home in her play pen while I worked in my office. We had a car ride for some errands today too. Nice getting back to a routine!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


THURSDAY, OCT 14, 2010
Today Rosanne and her littermates are 13 weeks old! And today her mum is working all day to prepare for a workshop and fiercely packing to travel to California. It's going to be a long and not very active day for Rosanne I'm afraid.

I am really not liking these two back-to-back trips. I just got back from leaving her and now I have to leave her again tomorrow morning. *sigh*

We had a lot of cuddle time on the couch this evening. Joey (Beardie) was draped across my lap with Rosanne then tucked into the little triangle between his back and the back of the couch. We did a lot of eye contact training while watching TV.

When I ended the training session, Rosanne settled into Joey, laying across his back. She was there for a few minutes before started to move around. Joey totally ignored her. She wiggled and dug a bit into his coat but he never moved a muscle nor did he leave my lap (no way is that twerp going to usurp him from The Lap Position!).

ROSANNE ROSANNADANNA: Bits and Pieces of Training

WEDNESDAY, OCT 13, 2010 Today we went to the Gym to teach our morning class. No students signed up for this session so Rosanne did a little greeting training with one of the other volunteers. I gave Brooke three things to do:

1. Click/treat proactively for feet on the floor.
2. Ignore Rosanne if she jumped up on her, then click/treat when her feet were back on the floor.
3. Cue "sit" proactively before Rosanne had a chance to jump up. Brooke did pretty well with her training task. Here is the video:

After that two of the conformation people came in with their dogs. The dogs were out at the end of tight leashes and Rosanne reacted to them. I gracefully moved her off to a sufficient distance and did some desensitization work. She doesn't yet know Look At That which would have been a good thing to do (must get that trained!). We were able to gradually move closer to the other dogs successfully. Suddenly another person came bursting through the door yelling "NO ... NO ... NO!!" at her dog in a loud voice. This really caused Rosanne to go off reactively. *sigh* These are people for a conformation class, *not* our clicker training clients. I picked her up and took her to the car. I need to set her up with handlers with good leash handling skills with dogs on leash and desensitize her to that before ever again having her on leash near anyone with poor leash handling skills. NOTE TO SELF: No more Rosanne on leash when conformation practice is about to occur.

Later in the evening, we were in my office at home. While I worked she was sequestered with me via X-pen. There is a small soft crate under the knee space in the other desk which she discovered. She now takes any chewies into her "lair" to chew and even chewed on a short piece of bully stick for quite a while for the first time.

On a break I worked on targeting her through a left spin. I faded my target hand quite a bit, down to just a small motion of my hand as the cue. The reinforcement system was click/tug and this was her first opportunity to work with a game of tug following the click. She took to it fantastically! It's important to me that my dogs can switch from toys to food and from food to toys in the same training session and she has no problems in that area.

I like to teach training *concepts* to my new dogs as a priority over specific behaviors and this concept, as I said, is an important one. We had a blast working on left spins, adding the cue left while she was moving through the spin, and reinforcing with click/tug. She's great at being clicked to release the toy too. I click, she opens her mouth, I give her the treat while picking up the dropped toy. Wooooo hoooo!

I also did a little bit of shaping her to go into the soft crate under the desk. I got her voluntarily going in and turning around. I think Rosanne likes shaping games!

After all of that training and playing, Rosanne circled about, laid down and fell asleep for her first nap not in a crate or play pen but just where she happened to be when she became tired. Very cool!

She's such an easy keeper - so relaxed, able to be left in a crate or play pen without fussing, able to fall asleep when there is no activity, yet able to play and train any time. Auntie Lynn says the same things about her - so easy to manage as a puppy. I'm thinking that Granma Mary had a lot to do with this - the Early Neurological Stimulation, the puppy enrichment and socialization of the litter, the early crate training. Hats off to you, Mary, for such an *excellent* job!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


MONDAY, OCT 11, 2010
I picked her up late Monday afternoon on the way home. She grew! I can't believe Auntie Lynn let her get bigger. Her legs are longer and she looks to my eye to be really nicely proportioned. She's more active - as if that could be possible - but maybe the better way to say it is she's more active in a more focused way.

After I got the other dogs and got everyone settled in, I laid on the couch to watch TV with Rosanne on my lap. I was flat on my back with her in between my legs laying up on my stomach. In that position we did **45 minutes** of captured eye contact!! Wow! I was using little cubes of Rollover and breaking them into fourths.

Once I ran out of treats, she stayed with me on the couch for an hour and 15 minutes more - two hours total. She wasn't totally exhausted but just very relaxed. She changed positions - sometimes on the ottoman, sometimes on me, sometimes at my feet. What is particularly nice about this is that it's very important for me to be able to crash on the couch when in pain or exhausted and know that my dogs can "find a hole" and just settle in themselves. And there was Rosanne - fitting right into her own manner of settling. One of these days I should put a cue to that - though I think my physical condition is probably noted as a cue. Marcus and Joey have always been distinctly different when I am exhausted and need to not move for a couple of hours.

TUESDAY, OCT 12, 2010
This morning I took Rosanne out to potty on leash. I went out the door ahead of her, looked back and she was sitting in the doorway. Lynn had told me how the weekend's rainfall had been a shock to her as far as "what? me go outside to pee - it's wet out there!" But she wasn't sitting there as if resisting going out. She was sitting there with that special way that clicker dogs do things - as if they are dead certain this is the right thing to be doing.

I hadn't taught her to sit at doorways and it didn't appear that Mary had either. I released her with "OK" and she trotted right on out. Later I asked Auntie Lynn if she taught her to sit at doorways. Lynn had - in a way. Her four dogs have to sit before going out so Rosanne just joined in and sat with them. Isn't that precious!? She generalized this to our house.

Rosanne had some yard time with just Joey this morning - not any real change in their activity together. She had some puppy play time with me followed by a nap. After her nap, I took her out to the sideyard to have a run-about while I picked up poop. Next on the agenda was time in her Puppy Palace in the kitchen while I went back outside to mow some of the yards.

She is definitely chowing down her food much more now. She's also chomping on chewies that had previously been too tough for her. She still isn't into the rabbit feet though - the ears go quickly but the feet, not at all.

Rosanne has had several brushings while relaxed on the couch with me at night. It's much easier to start brushing when the puppy is in a naturally relaxed state. I do need to do her nails. I totally forgot all about that in the first week or so I had her!

It is so good to be back home with my dogs. Rosanne and I have finally arrived at a rhythm for work, naps, potty breaks and such. She's such a good little girl. :) My current system is for Joey to go out by himself and Marcus and Rosanne to go out together. That is just enough complexity for me to be successful. :) For work time, she's in my office with an X-pen blocking part of the area. That allows the other dogs to be in the office without being closed in. Joey's happy with this arrangement now. He comes in and lies down on his side of the X-pen which is much better than standing in the middle of the room looking miserable.

Today we worked on re-orienting to me after going through doorways as a captured behavior - just the bare beginnings but cute nonetheless. I discovered something she will chew for an extended period of time - one of the chew bars that comes with the Occupi toy! Finally something to keep her busy for a while - a miracle!

We did a little bit of work on a left spin. I have been targeting her through the spin and fading back on the target. Today we used just a bit of target, she completed the spin on her own, click/tug with a raggie. This was our first use of the game of tug following the click while working on a trained behavior. VERY cool! It's a big deal with me that my dogs can work for food or toys following a click and for them to be able to switch from one to the other. So here we are: Rosanne's first experience at click/tug - and very successful!

We again had a nice couch/TV time - another bunch of click/treats for eye contact while on my lap (captured eye contact). I then switched to capturing her chin resting on me. That was becoming an intentionally offered behavior. I gave her a chewie and she switched to laying on the ottoman which gave Joey an opportunity to resume his normal place draped across my lap. A very nice evening!


I spent today really hustling around getting ready to go to Modesto to present a seminar with Megan Cruz (Go For It! Relaxed and Ready) - the whole time dreading being away from my puppy for the first time. She's only been with me for a week and a half and now I have to leave her.

She's 12 weeks old today!

We did a little training this morning while I took a break from computer work. We did 10 click/treats for standing and another for a cued sit. I am working on teaching her to wait for the sit cue rather than offer sits in a training session. She offered a down and I cued her to down 8 or 9 times using my fist on the floor as a cue. She's very itchy and it messes up the flow of training when she has to stop and scratch so much. No fleas though!

We then did 8 reps of check-in - captured head turns in my direction. She then wandered out the sliding glass door onto the deck. I didn't know where she was and so called her name. She came *barreling* back into the house, leaping over the sill of the door. She got a full 30 seconds of treat-treat-treat for flying back to me so quickly. She is sooooo funny how sometimes she'll just have a super burst of energy.

Marcus was in the office with us. Rosanne kept trying to get him to play with her by play-bowing and barking at him. I click/treated any downs she did as I am valiantly wanting to build the down behavior. Well, Marcus had it - couldn't take being pestered to play so he jumped her and yelled at her, leaving her squealing her head off. That all took place in a tiny space under my desk. She hasn't pestered him since I must say. I kind of think Marcus was a bit extreme in his correction. On the other hand, she's not traumatized and she did learn from it to leave him alone.

On our next computer break, I did quite a few captured check-ins and I put the treat only a short distance away. That made it easier for her to check in again (head turn in my direction) and it also helped her to get less distracted by things around her. This was a great training session!

Rosanne had her third set of shots today and she got worm meds too. A small scrape on the top of her back was discovered - possibly from the fracas with Marcus. It has a very purplish edge to it, almost looks like she ran into a purple magic marker. She weighs 9.0 lbs today. The vet wanted me to put flea preventative on her even though no fleas were found. I am declining to do so. I'll wait for a while and see how it goes. It could be a response to the climate change. The Willamette Valley has a lot of allergy-inducing grasses and such.

We had a really nice time on the couch tonight. She laid on my chest for a long time while I did massages ('sagees I call them), T-Touch, stroking. She had very modest chewing on my shirt or my ear. This was an hour of calmness, pretty amazing! She usually has a great need to be constantly busy so being able to relax for an hour was quite an accomplishment.

Later on she had trouble going to bed. I put her to bed at 10 pm, went to bed myself to watch TV. She was kind of agitated, playing with the crate bars, just fussing about. It seemed like a puppy version of insomnia. Could be related to her vaccination earlier in the day. She finally went to sleep around midnight.

FRIDAY, OCT 8, 2010
Off to Auntie Lynn's for almost four full days! I forgot to bring her plastic play pen to Lynn's house but she made do. She put a large dog crate in her office and Rosanne spent down time in that while Lynn did computer things.

Rosanne had big run-abouts with Cousin Ziva (Hungarian Wire-Haired Vizsla) and spent time on the doggie futon playing with Ziva. Lynn said that Rosanne could often be found in the same dog bed, cuddled up with her very elderly Border Collie, Liam. Liam is deaf in his old age and sleeps rather soundly. He never noticed that Rosanne was snuggling with him!

Lynn reported the Rosanne developed quite an appetite while at her house - wolfing down her food and still have stomach space left for training treats. Oh good! that's been a bit of a conflict for me till now.

Lynn also says repeatedly that I got a really, really good puppy. She goes into any crate, settles down and goes to sleep with no fussing. Her house-training is great. She has good dog skills, loves to play - only negative thing she had to say was her face-licking has advanced to face-biting. This is kind of good news for me as I have been unable to get her to play bitey-bitey games with me so I can work on bite inhibition so maybe now I'll be able to get that started.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

ROSANNE ROSANNADANNA: Closing in on the Down

We are getting a lot more offered downs today! Woooo hooo! This morning she went with me to the Gym to teach class. It was a one-person class with a young dog who is almost hysterical with his excitement over another dog. Therefore I could not use Rosanne very much as a demo dog. She did get a lot of practice getting attention for having four-on-the-floor and ignored when feet were up on Judi (bless you, Judi, for not reinforcing feet on you!)

We did a long errand on the way home which meant she had quite a long stretch of sleep in the van. We got home, did a potty break for all the dogs, and then I crashed on the couch. I was beat! So again, Rosanne had a long nap in her Puppy Palace. She's a real trooper, able to be on her own, quiet and fall asleep when mum needs to have a nap.

After nap time, we had all dogs in the side yard and Rosanne had a big run around the yard. She is sooooo cute when she's running flat out! I'm going to have to get the whip toy going with her and teach her to change gaits as I did with Joey. In the course of her running, Joey became very interested in running after her just a little bit. However, he started barking at the same time. He does have a cut-off cue for barking and I had to use it several times in a row (not something I like to do but I can't have him force-barking at the puppy). He caught on and held back on the barking. For brief moments he was interested in her as a possible play buddy, *very* brief moments. There were two times when Rosanne dropped to a down (cut-off signal) and Joey responded appropriately. I praised him like crazy and he broke off and came to me for treats. He's now more willing to act normal re: me in the presence of Rosanne.

We had work time in the office with my not able to get much done because Rosanne is all over the place. She has now discovered the tiny space under the drawers of my desk (old-fashioned desk with individual legs) is a perfect Rosanne cave for exploring. She then gets stuck and has to grunt and groan her way out backwards. It's very funny!

She's had occasion a couple of times today to bark at dogs that are new to her. I distracted her away. Both times were in a situation were I could not do proper desensitization. Next time we go somewhere I am going to be prepared for this. I'm also going to quit feeding her meals in a bowl as that is really messing with my ability to train her (she's too full to train). If I'm going to run into dogs who startle her, I need the power of food!

We had a lot of good work on clicking with a high rate of reinforcement for standing, occasional cued sits, and offered downs. Her downs are adorable. She will suddenly stop what she's doing, freeze and then fling herself into a down - as if she suddenly remembered to try down.

We had a really nice half-hour on the couch ostensibly watching the season premiere of South Park but really doing training with all dogs. Joey, having been the youngest for a long time, is used to being the dog in training while the older dogs watch. Now that Joey is more interested in being around when Rosanne is present, he's now come face to face with not being the dog in training. I tried to cue "touch" for Rosanne's hand target and Joey would leap up out of his down and touch my hand!

So it was treats for Marcus and Joey in downs with Rosanne on the couch. We did a whole lot of "Rosanne"/click/treat followed by a lovely bunch of offered downs. I discovered the my closed fist placed in front of her on the surface of the couch is a cue for her to lay down. Nice of her to explain that to me! :)

Many, many downs cued with the fist and many offered too. Woooo hooo! We had a couple good rounds of bitey-bitey games with my hand - all with the boys watching and being treated for staying in their downs. A very nice family training session!