Sully's class is going to be the first in Helping Paws history to wear a slip collar instead of a gentle leader. At least, that's the hope. The gentle leader (as I'm told) is a great tool, but there are some drawbacks. It can be difficult for a graduate to buckle on the dog. And sometimes, the nose band can cause skin issues. Some dogs balk at it, and that can be a reason to disqualify them as a service dog.
So, this week we're working on introducing the dogs to the slip collar. It's a nylon (blue, of course!) strap that looks like a regular dog collar, but it can tighten when you pull on it, like the old-fashioned "choke chain", only less severe. (We'll work with the Gentle Leader later as well, just in case. )
First, if the puppy shows interest in it, we click and treat. (By the way, when I say "treat", we're actually using a portion of their daily food - keeping these dogs nice and lean and healthy is important! (Not to mention the consequences of giving other foods...ahem, like diarrhea.) Then, we click and treat (C/T) if the dog touches the collar. Then, putting their nose through the collar. Guess who stuck his head right in? Captain Fearless. Guess he likes the color blue.
We're still working on name recognition. Say the puppy's name, wait for them to look at you , C/T. Eye contact. Wait for the puppy to make eye contact, C/T. This week, we're extending the eye contact - working up to all of 10 seconds! Hard to do with a puppy distracted by things like... dust. (Not that we have any.)
We're working on lots of other stuff, too. I personally am working on remembering the fact that I got a new, tiny camera that fits in my purse. But you have to actually take it out of your purse and push the little button in order for it to work. It's my homework for the week. And I, unlike Sully, do NOT use part of my meal for treating. I only work for chocolate.