I'm finding it hard to keep up with all that Sully does! He's learning so fast - and growing even faster.
He's now making it all night without a potty break - HUGE!
We've been working on retrieving items, loose leash walking, grooming, coming when called, name recognition, eating/spending time in the kennel, meeting new people with our paws on the floor, NOT chewing human flesh, and the ever popular - eliminating outside. It is amazing to see the little light bulb go on in his head when he recognizes that his behavior gets a reward, so he repeats it. It started with simply clicking the clicker, then giving him a treat. It didn't take long before he'd hear the click, then look expectantly toward me for the treat. Then, I'd wait until he gave me eye contact. Click. Treat. Then, I say his name. Click. Treat. Step toward me on leash? Click. Treat. Follow me walking backward? Click. Treat.
I have to say, I was leery of this "all positive reinforcement" style of training. I truly thought there should be a big contrast between the positive (vocal praise) and negative (vocal reprimand, correction) Now, I'm seeing that just the positive is incredibly effective!
And there is no doubt Sully is a bird dog. I had him out in the yard and decided to let him crawl around on some rocks in our side yard. He started sniffing and digging between two of the rocks like crazy. I thought he must have caught a whiff of one of the billion chipmunks I've seen hiding in there. He was determined to get at whatever it was! Well - a bird had fallen down amongst the rocks. Barry grabbed it before Sully could - it was a little chipping sparrow. Sully went nuts! Barry tossed it into a nearby garbage can, and Sully had to be picked up and taken away - he was pretty sure he could chew it out of the garbage can, or at least dig under it. His little heart was hammering! So, if this service dog thing doesn't work out, I think we have a prize Chipping Sparrow Retriever on our hands.
Or circus dog. See photo.
Peanut butter doesn't agree with him. Loves it. Tummy doesn't love it. It will be saved for later - I think Sully would jump through flaming hoops for it. Or be shot out of a canon. Or ride an elephant. Or wear a tu-tu. Okay, maybe not a tu-tu. A guy's got to draw the line somewhere. Even in the circus.