Training Tucson

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Now that Thanksgiving is over, I have something really wonderful to be thankful for.  Tucson is finally getting training!

My cousin, Kris, had come to Sherill’s memorial service in September.  Although I didn’t get an opportunity to speak with her, my sister, Lauryn, did and she found out that Kris raises and trains puppies that later go into guide dog training.  When Lauryn heard about what Tucson did to me back in October, she told me about Kris.  I called Kris before we even left Wisconsin, but she didn’t get the message until early last week.  With the Thanksgiving weekend, she agreed to meet us here and work with Tucson yesterday (Monday).

She suggested we get a head collar and she recommended one that is used with the guide dogs.  She told us to buy really smelly treats for Tucson and not feed her much before the lesson.  She wanted to see the environment Tucson is in.  When Kris arrived, Tucson was in her kennel and as soon as Kris walked into the RV, Tucson started barking at her.  Mark let Tucson out of the kennel so that Kris could meet her.  Tucson was a little leary.  We showed Kris the dog treats we had gotten for Tucson and she said they were too big, so I stood there cutting them into little pieces while Kris started working with Tucson.

Because we hadn’t had time to buy a head halter or a treat bag yet, Kris brought one of each to work with.  First she sat down in front of Tucson and held the head collar up with a treat on the other side.  Tucson put her nose through to get the treat.  Kris made no attempt to put the head collar on her at first.  She just kept having Tucson stick her head through to get treats.  Finally, she slowly started pushing the back part of the head collar a little further each time she gave Tucson a treat until she was able to get the head collar set all the way back.  Then she had Mark sit in front of Tucson and play the same “game” with Tucson until he could get the collar on her all the way.

Next, Mark snapped Tucson’s leash on the head collar and we moved out to the driveway:

In this first lesson, Kris told Mark to give Tucson a reward every two or three steps.

Kris demonstrating how to walk and reward

Mark was rewarding Tucson on his right side. Kris told him that will teach her to cross in front of him and that he needs to reward Tucson on his left side.

Kris said Mark should keep Tucson a little closer to his side.

Mark also gave Tucson lots of praise and good touch.  Good job Mark and Tucson!

The plan is that Kris will teach Mark how to train Tucson, and when Tucson starts to get the knack of it, Mark will teach me how to train her.  If all goes well, maybe someday I can walk Tucson without fear of ending up in the ER again!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *