Chews for a Growing Pup

Quinn was very “mouthy” as a pup. And she had a bit of aggression for a short while. Chewing on things seemed to soothe her so we went through a lot of stuff to find what kept her interest yet didn’t go away after one session.

When she was small, we used the Yak milk chews. Wonderful things. She loved them. But as she grew, they didn’t last as long because she would bite off chunks and then barf them up.

Then we switched to Benebones. They were lasting a long time and The Boys liked them, too. They’re not exactly edible but as long as the dog is able to chew off only rice-sized pieces or smaller, all is well.

Except for Quinn. She’s always had a sensitive stomach. She started eating dirt. And was almost frenetic about it. Even if we went somewhere, the first thing she would do is look for dirt to eat. We put her on a vitamin for a while and that seemed to work. But then she took up the culinary arts of eating raw grass.

Continue reading “Chews for a Growing Pup”

Pumpkin Treats!

I made a treat for the dogs the other night.

1 can plain pumpkin
1 can’s worth of yogurt (it may have been plain vs vanilla)
3/4 can’s worth of water (use to rinse out can before adding)

Put it in my blender and made a gross smoothy. It was thinner than I wanted but it still works. Next time I won’t add much water.

I then poured some into an ice cube tray and put the rest in the rinsed out yogurt container since I’d emptied it.

I gave Quinn some of the leftover. She snarfed it then went nuts for more. I didn’t give her any because I’m mean.

The next day, I popped out three of the ice cubes and gave them to the dogs. They loved ’em. Even Sam, who is hard to get to eat veggies and fruit. He’s a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy.

Dogs can have about 1-4 tablespoons per day. It adds fiber and can help with both diarrhea and constipation. You don’t want to give too much or it can cause both issues. It isn’t supposed to be given every day, not a spoon of it straight from the can with each meal. It can be a diluted treat like I did or just use it once or twice a week. And if used for constipation or diarrhea, if the problem isn’t fixed within 24hrs, go to your vet!

Quinn has a sensitive stomach (hard to believe but yeah) and I’m trying to come up with treats for her. One ice cube is not much so I can treat them twice a day, making them feel special.

(both links became broken. ah well. just take my word for it)

Tasks for Quinn

Joella had a long list of tasks she could do. And it is hard to keep in mind that Quinn is not Joella and I cannot expect her to do the same. Plus, my needs for a service dog have changed and I understand those needs better.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service animal can only be a dog (and some miniature ponies) and must do at least one trained task that assists the person with the disability. Carrying a backpack is not a trained task since it doesn’t take training for it (unless the dog hates it and you have to work with them but that’s not “training”, that acclimatizing). So simply having a dog carrying your books in a dog backpack is not a trained task even if it helps. Pushing a door button so it opens, yes. Picking up your bag, yes. Handing you something you dropped, yes.

The wonderful thing about breaking down a task into bits is those bits can go into other tasks. TOUCH for example is the basics for a lot of tasks. You teach TOUCH in order for them to understand this is what we are working with. I want you to touch it (over and over). Once Quinn had the basics of TOUCH down, TAKE was easy(ish). So will be pull, push, open, and close. Each task can be broken down into bits. But more on training in another article.

(italics means she knows this!!)
– specific object by name (get my shoe; get the phone; get your leash)
– person (go get Lorna)
dropped object (get it/that)
targeted object (get that thing I am pointing to)
– next object (get the next one; not that one, the next one)

– Get behind (get behind me or my chair)
– Go around (go around from one side to the other)
– Look at me (focus!)
back up (go backwards)

Give (give me what you have)
Take (take what is in my hand)

pull sock (take off my sock; which also teaches “the next one”)
– push button (power entry door button)
– get drink (open cooler, take out container, close cooler, bring container to me)
– carry (keep what you have in your mouth and bring it along)

Regular obedience
sit (butt on the floor)
– wait/stay (when I am training a dog, they are the same thing)
down (lay down)
free (release)
– leave it (don’t touch it, lick it, pick it up, just leave it)
off (get off whatever you are on)
– easy (don’t bite; be gentle)
drop it (whatever you got in there, let it go)
up (jump up onto something)
out/outside (go outdoors; also part of cue to do business)
hurry up (do your business)

May or May Not Teach Her
– Pill alarm or alarm clock? (nudge me? go get water bottle?)
– Help to stand? (she’s up curb, I pull on harness)

As we continue to learn together, I’ll add to the list on the tasks page (to be made but look for it the top or side menu).

Breaking a Task Down

In teaching any thing through clicker training (aka positive reinforcement, aka force free training), the key concept is to break the trick, task, whatever down into small bits, teach those bits, then put them together.

There are some foundation bits that are used a lot such as SIT and TOUCH. With TOUCH, I can link it to TAKE then to PULL. And soon we have Quinn taking a rope and pulling the laundry basket.

Gail Hubbard from A Good Dog’s Life made a video with her dog, Tayt. She’s teaching him a trick. She breaks down the trick into small bits and slowly gets him to do the entire thing. I’ve put the video below but go read the post to learn what she is doing and why and how to do it yourself.

In another video, Donna Hill of Service Dog Training Institute teaches a dog to touch then flip a light switch. Watching it is both boring and exciting at the same time. I will be adapting this to teach Quinn to push buttons. I don’t *need* her to do light switches but we may do it just for another notch on the cape belt. Donna Hill, who is legendary for her training, has a bunch of videos on stuff from agility to bird dogs to service dogs.