Right, how's this training business going then, hmmmm? C'mon Max, you're nine months old now - that's teenage years, so aside from the "Kevins1", how has your behaviour and obedience improved and what still needs work?.
Things wot are going well
Sit. Extremely good at obeying the sit command, from whoever gives it. Will readily sit on the footpath before crossing the street. Will voluntarily sit if he thinks it might get him what he's after (e.g a piece of cheese in my hand). 9/10.
Down. After a slow start, has got the hang of this one. I'd prefer it if he were to lean over onto one haunch, instead of the way he currently does, as it's too easy for him to move back up into a sit. It's easier to go from a sit into a down, but shows some improvement on going straight into the down. 7/10
Wait. Will wait for "get it" command before eating his food, and also if a morsel of treat is left on the floor or on my knee for a short period. Also good on the street at sit-wait while I cross a street, check for no traffic, and then recall (come) 8/10.
Stay. Now what's the difference between wait and stay, I hear you ask. Well, wait is "I'm about to give you another command but you're not to move until I give it", while stay is "don't you move till I come back!" His stay isn't too bad if I'm still in the room - I can chat to Dai, get a drink or whatever. But he'll not stay if I leave the room, and will whine at the door till I come back. 6/10
Come. Recall is good under controlled conditions, but he lets himself down badly when given a wide, open space like a beach, where he'll ignore all cries of "Max! Come!" and instead go and jump his big sandy paws on that poor unsuspecting couple strolling along by the water's edge. This could be the one that gets him into huge trouble! 3/10.
Controlled going through a gateway. This is one of the bronze certificate exercises, but we practise it every time we go in and out the door. Sit - wait, I open the door, call him beside me, sit - wait while I close the door.8/10
Things wot are still giving problems
Barking. Especially early in the morning. Bit of respite now that the hour's gone back (ie his 4 am barking is now 5 am, which is psychologically a bit easier to bear), but still really wearing. We take it in turns to get up, otherwise neither of us would get a decent night's sleep, and I'm constantly scanning message boards and advice sheets for ways of stopping his barking. I don't really want to have him sleeping in the bedroom (when do these people who let their dogs sleep on their beds have sex?), so we're still trying the sweaty T-shirt comforter. Maybe it's the early morning light. Or the dawn chorus.
Jumping. Bit of an improvement, but a long way to go still. He's become less likely to jump up on me when I come through the door, as he gets lots of praise for either keeping all four paws on the floor, or ideally going into a sit. But it's hard to reinforce this when we meet other people in the street who go "Oh I don't mind!" You may not dear, but plenty of others do, especially if he's just been splashing through the mud!
Mouthing. Not sharp biting, but I still have a motely collection of bruises on my arms that is regularly updated, as he likes to have a little chew on my fingers and wrist. We're working on giving him an allowed chew toy when he does this, and going "Ouch!" when the biting's too hard.
Well, we have our first attempt at the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog2 bronze award this week - wish us luck!