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November 7, 2013: Ryder – Oh Oh

Raising a puppy that was previously an outside dog has its moments, some good, some not so good. Ryder’s doing well – for example, she stays on her bed and chews her antler when we sit down to eat. (We eat three squares a day). And she’s jumping up on us less. I was told by Claudia (our trainer) that what staying down, sitting, even lying down, is what an animal learns to do when something else doesn’t work. In other words, in fact my words, it’s a compensatory behavior. I’m now working on getting Ryder to stay when I’m working in and around the horse pen. She’s doing okay. Won’t happen overnight.

But we do have relapses, some of which are of our own making. For instance, last night Ryder ate the two Ultimate Woman Warrior Cookies that Pete had stashed under the car seat when he went into the supermarket. (He’d picked them up at a social function in town.) This resulted in Ryder’s getting a major sugar buzz. She was very wired, and last night and this morning she dashed around like she was on fire. She chewed the porch stair on the deck of the black hole cabin. (Oh Oh). And she pooped and peed in the living room. (Oh Oh). I noticed that the poop in the living room was the shape and consistency of a Woman Warrior Cookie. Seeing it, I wondered what happened to the other one. . . .

Just in time – tonight we had class. Pete and I gave her time to pee before entering the facility, but once inside, she peed. It was a clandestine burst, had to be hers. After we cleaned it up, Claudia said hello to Ryder who did not jump on her. Rather, she did this later.

It was by now 5 p.m. We got to work. We worked on hand targeting. We worked on walking on leash. We worked on name recognition. After class, I stood behind the half-wall, in the waiting area, where Ryder hung out and I watched the click and trick class. The other dogs worked on jumping through a hoop, to interact with a box, and to roll over. Right now, I’m most interested in roll over. Chunked down, it involves getting the dog to bow, down, play dead, and roll over. I got Ryder to do this once. Then I looked to my left and noticed that she’d done yet another clandestine pee, this one on the carpet. (Oh Oh). I couldn’t get to the pee cleaner because I didn’t want to interrupt class.

I’d talked earlier with Claudia about Ryder’s “accidents” and discovered that we are on the same page. She said it’s all about management: meaning we have to keep Ryder close and keep a close eye on her when she’s in the house. This might mean tying her up when she’s inside. She’s also begun to attempt to herd the horses. Hearing this, Claudia reiterated that it’s all about management: meaning that Ryder will have to either be on a leash or on a line when she’s down in that area. “She’s got to earn her freedom,” she said.

Management is easier for us than for others. We don’t have a lot going on, like say, a houseful of kids. Nor do we live in a three-story mansion. And the equine facility is centrally located. Pete did insert a large piece of plywood in between the kitchen and the living room doorway this evening, after class. He was going to build a fancy gate, but rightly figured that this isn’t going to be an ongoing problem. The plywood makes the place look like a boot camp barracks. I want to put up a sign that reads “No Pee Zone, Violators will lose their living room privileges.” Problem is, Ryder can’t yet read. I think this is something that she will learn in the advanced classes.

Next: 227: 11/8/13: Veterinary Visit