Saturday, August 10, 2013

First Public Outing!

I got up early this morning to write about yesterday. We took a 2.5 hour nap right after class because everyone needed to crash. An experienced 4 Paws mom told me there will probably be a point where I am so exhausted, I will cry. I can totally see that happening. We are only in class for 6.5 hours but we have Bomber 24-7 now. Then mental aspect is far worse than the physical aspect of training.

We started out the day by going tracking again. This was our third practice track. We will track every day (sometimes twice) through next Thursday. It was misty and drizzly during our track. The humidity was much less than the previous two days! Bomber did find Rosalie again! We have also done two practice tracks at the hotel. The first one, we couldn't tell if he actually found Rosalie or just knew the way to the room. The one last night, did not work at all.

We need to find a way to make tracking the MOST IMPORTANT game Bomber plays. Today, for the second day in a row, Bomber stopped to pee and then to poop during our track in class. Tracking should be so cool to Bomber that he doesn't care if he has to poop or pee. He needs to think the end of the track is so amazing that he won't stop for anything.

Bomber finishing the track with Rosalie yesterday
The thing you have for the dog at the end of a track is their absolute FAVORITE thing. Jessa (trainer) calls it doggy crack. Sometimes it is the ONLY time a dog EVER gets to have this item. Some dogs, however,  are so ball driven that they can have a ball at the end of tracking and still get to play with it at other times. They will still be so happy to have the ball. I am really feeling like it has to be more special than that for Bomber.

We know he likes squeaky tennis balls, but they don't make him go nuts. We asked Jacob (Bomber's foster) what we could maybe get Bomber for the end of tracking. Jacob confirmed our suspicions that Bomber LOVES stuffed animals. Jacob never gave them to him because Bomber would demolish them so quickly. Corey bought Bomber a squeaky stuffed monkey last night. We showed it to him and he did really like it.

Stuffed animals are not an appropriate toy for Bomber on a normal basis. He will not be allowed to grab the kids' animals and they will not have to keep their rooms perfect for him. The thing is, Bomber is so chill and tracking is so important that we get to break the stuffed animal rule for him ONLY at the end of tracking. Other dogs may have a different "forbidden" thing they need to get them excited (wrestling/tug of war/etc.) We'll see how it goes today.

Then we went back to the training center and learned "under." This is a two part command that the dog follows. It involved going under (a table) and laying "down." Bomber did great! We will now be able to practice this when we eat. It also leads to the next exciting thing.


Corey "treating" Bomber for a job well done at the mall
We went to the local mall with Bomber today. We practiced "under" while eating some fries. We went shopping in Bath and Body Works (talk about distracting with so many smells!). We were observed walking around the mall with him by Jennifer (trainer). We were approached by lots of people.

Being in public with Bomber is currently exhausting. He is really good but I still need to keep my eyes on him right now. The thing he needs the most work with is "heeling." He knows how to heel, but he needs to learn to match pace with us. This is especially difficult on the the stairs.

Heeling practice with Bomber in the mall
Matching pace is important because Bomber is trained as a balance dog. When Rosalie is having a good day (where she is more "with it"), she can hold on to him for help. Which, by the way, I didn't specifically ask for. I didn't even really know to ask for it but 4 Paws matched her with him based on the information we sent in. I am so thankful! She will really use this.

Bomber is definitely getting attached to Rosalie! (It may help that treats appear whenever she is around :-) He wags his tail when he sees her. He puts his head in her lap in the car automatically. He breaks command to be near her (ok for now). I am so glad to see this bond forming.

Rosalie loves to pet Bomber in the car
Ann (Corey's mom) took the boys to Cincinnati this weekend. This is a nice break and make things a little calmer to help foster the budding bond between Rosalie and Bomber. I miss them but things are a little more relaxed without them.

We practiced a lot in the evening too. We took Bomber to Arby's for dinner. I have a lot of questions now. How do I manage the kids and dog in a place like a fast food restaurant? How do I go to the bathroom? How do I manage the buffet style breakfast at the hotel? I can't leave him under the table by himself and I can't carry a plate and serve it with him in line? Lots to talk about today!

In other news, Bomber has been getting dirtier and dirtier throughout the week. I can't wait for today's grooming discussion!

Ok, I have to go get ready now. Thanks for reading and following along this journey!

Thanks Virginia for taking so many pictures of our journey!

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