When I got home from school yesterday I took her on a long walk around the farm. Unfortunately it was disgusting whether - wind and cold, pelting rain. Emory's not thrilled with rain, but after the first five minutes of the walk she stopped pausing to shake off so often and got used to it a little. Her heeling is atrocious; she's never been taught to heel, so I wouldn't expect anything else, but I'm anxious to teach her to heel so we can go on a civilized walk. Thankfully she is only 15 pounds, so even when she runs full speed to the end of her leash, my arm is not being ripped off. Depending on how her training goes, I'll begin heeling work shortly.
She's learned to come to us when we call her name and is getting a little better at sitting. She loves jumping up on people, so when we call her she used to come and launch herself at our legs. Now she runs full speed towards us, and will jump once then get back on the floor, look at us, and sit. So, it's progress at least. I love watching her consciously make the decision to sit in order to get her treat though!
Last night I worked on charging the clicker, click then treat. She had a small lunch so I used plain kibble as a reward. We did about 30 repetitions or so. Towards the end she was catching on though and would stop what she was doing to retrieve her reward.
This morning she wasn't hungry enough to use plain kibble, so I upgraded to cheese. I began to work on eye contact. Before this session I had never received eye contact from her, she would look at me or at the rewards I had, but never give me eye contact. So I began this morning by just rewarding her for sitting (still not using any words or commands), I lured her into a down a few times as well. Then one time when she sat, I withheld the reward but made a little kissy noise with my mouth. As soon as she looked towards the noise - my face - I clicked and treated. I did this again, but required actual eye contact, just for a split second, rather than just looking at my face. I did this about three times, interspersed with rewarding for regular sits and lured a down or two (she's quite energetic so all this took a few minutes as she gets distracted easily). Then I stopped making the noise and when she sat, just withheld the treat, and she gave me eye contact on her own. Clicked and treated of course. I repeated this about 20 times or so, again interspersed with other behaviors. At the beginning, she still didn't quite understand, so she would sit and look at the cheese in my hand, then get up. One time, she sat and looked at the cheese, then looked at my face (no eye contact so no reward), then laid down - first time she offered a down on her own, after only being lured into a down a few times. She got a reward for that! She began to offer eye contact faster and faster as she began to understand what I wanted from her.
Yesterday and today she's mainly been discovering that she controls when she gets the reward; by adjusting her behavior and performing certain actions. Basically, she's learning to learn. Once she fully understands this, she will begin to want to work for me and be more focused on what I want, because then she gets what she wants. I'm very pleased with how she's doing. She's still a little skittish of certain things, such as dark rooms and objects outside at night, but she may already be getting better. I think she will continue to improve with this as she begins to trust me and people in general more, she will then start to look to me for reassurance and feed off of my confidence. Hopefully, eventually she will feed off this confidence and then as a result become immune to these things; I'm still unsure though because she was in a kennel environment for a long time compared to most the dogs I work with.
I plan to begin adding the verbal cue for sit, and continue luring downs. We will also continue working on eye contact and greeting politely - no jumping.
So far so good though!