Thursday, May 31, 2012

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The Return of Captain Crazypants

Jam has been on an extended leave from school due to his limping.  He's been out over a week.  Wednesday was his first day back and you would have thought he was the wild dog of Borneo and had never seen a school before.

He didn't want to follow any commands.  He decided that he didn't want to lie down and be a good boy.  He wanted to play tug with the leash.  Captain Crazypants was back.  Time for obedience lessons.


But then I saw something that our AC shared with us on Facebook: Southeastern tweeted the following yesterday... thought it was important to pass it along.. DogGuideTrainer (AKA Trainer Karen) said... "Dog I'm working was a certified crazypants as a puppy. Now he is my best dog. He just needed job to focus on. Raisers-don't give up!"

And I thought about how Jam looked later that day:

Jam taking a nap in the workroom, a very sleepy puppy.
Not Captain Crazypants at all.  Rather more of a sweet baby boy. OK.  She's right.  Jam needed a job.  Right now his nuggets are sending him all kinds of orders and I needed to give him lots to do to override those crazy thoughts. It's all a question of desire, focus and system overload:
  1. Desire: what does a guide dog puppy want most?  To please us.  So give them something to do and then praise them.  A lot.  And then give them more to do.  Create the desire to work.
  2. Focus: if they have the desire to work, they will know to focus on you and your commands.  Be consistent and praise often.
  3. System overload: when in doubt, do puppy pushups (Thanks trainer Jen!)! I also recommend doing stairs again and again.  
It's only 1.5 months until Jam goes IFT and we still can only manage a 2 minute sit stay without falling into a narcoleptic sleep.  But we are trying.  

We have the desire and the focus.  We just try not to practice at nap time. After all, everyone deserves a good nap.  Sharpens the focus for later.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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