June 11, 2023: introducing the concept of weekly calm days
Activity level: low
We had a physically calm day today. I have decided to keep Chai – and that means I’ll want a bit more structure in our weeks. Once a week, I’ll go for a below-average calm day. This is important because I live by myself and sometimes I get sick or busy and can’t provide the usual amount of entertainment or enrichment. My puppies learn from the very beginning that some days are calmer than others.
I haven’t always done that, so I’ve learned the hard way that we create expectations in our dogs’ first year of life or so. If every single day is filled with action, this is what your future athlete is going to expect as an adult as well. If you normalize downtime from the beginning, they will have a much easier time just chilling on the couch every now and then.
I’ll track calm, active and average days under “activity level” right under the respective date.
Morning walk and a tiny little bit of off-leash time!
Chai went on a morning walk with Game – and I briefly let her off leash in a very quiet area!
We worked on tug on the roof, but Chai’ wasn’t as good at returning the toy as she has been in the last few days’s toy return behavior seemed to backslide. It may already have been too warm when we played this morning (it’s only shady up there in the late afternoon and very early in the morning).
The Game of Chai
Chai and Game spent a lot of time wrestling and playing on the bed. It is hot out – perfect for an indoors day! – but if you’re not an only dog, all that need to move has to go somewhere! That’s what big sisters are for!
I took Game to the Paseo Dominical Muévete en Bici for the first time. That’s Mexico City’s Sunday street closure where a number of large streets are closed to motorized vehicles and taken over by cyclists, inline skaters, skateboarders, runners … It’s fun because you don’t need to worry about cars, and you can go quite far:
Random Mexico City fact
In addition to the Paseo Dominical, Mexico City happens to be a very bikeable city in general. In 2022, there were over 200 km of bike lanes (a lot of which are protected bike lanes wide enough for a human and a dog).
Green: bike lanes in Mexico City in 2022.
The goal is to have 400 km by 2024 (source). (I did not google extensively so I don’t know how likely it seems that Mexico City will be meeting this goal. But it’s a great one!)
Anyways, so while Game and I went on a bike ride, Chai stayed home by herself.
Later on, she stayed home with Zane while Game and I went on an evening walk – another important skill: I don’t want her to only be able to stay home alone-alone, but also with friends in my house!
Leash walking – manners mode (collar)
Afterwards, we practiced count-to-15 LLW1 in our street and Chai waited in front of a corner convenience store by herself. Staying next to me behind the invisible line was hard for Chai today – so we went back to feeding after 1 and then after 5 steps before building back up to 15. This is a good reminder to always train the dog in front of you today (who may not be the same dog you had in front of you yesterday or are going to have in front of you tomorrow!)
+ “Claws!” (clip back dew claws).
We rounded out the day with a brief round of positions (sit/down/stand) practice with Chai’s remaining dinner!
Calm day of the week – check!
June 12, 2023: fun with toys, friends and training
Activity level: average
Today, we went to tug on the roof first thing in the morning, right after getting up: no running, playing with Game or walking and no hot and sunny roof (yet)! From there, we went right back to the apartment and tried some more tugging on the bed. Video evidence here!
Morning walk with Game
Both dogs went on a morning walk – nothing exciting; just two good girls and their human vagando through the neighborhood(s).
Home alone – free in the apartment for the first time!
Chai got another chance to stay home alone by herself while Game and I went to pick up laundry. A little later, I left her home and free in the apartment (rather than in her indestructable luxury kennel, the bathroom) when Game and I went to the bakery, and then again at night – totally free in the apartment – during Game’s solo evening walk.
Today was the first time I gave Chai unsupervised apartment freedom. For now, she is doing well and not getting into stuff. I’ll keep an eye on her of course – she’s still a young dog, and if/when she starts getting up to mischief in my absence, she’ll go back into her luxury kennel when home alone.
We spent 45 minutes with Alan and Kiba at the park. Chai practiced a recall away from Kiba and then our pups got to play and socialize.
We also practiced “Paws up!” on a bench. Chai showed me that she wasn’t ready to start right with the cue and you see me chute back down and build up again. You may have to watch this video more than once to catch all the marker cues – I’m too far from the camera for decent audio – but it’s an excellent example of how different marker cues can be used to build duration and setting the dog up for the next rep.
“All done” is my “end of session” announcement.
We practiced going from 5 to 10 to 15 steps of LLW on Chai’s collar out in the street.(1)
(1) Once again, the usual spiel in a footnote: for more leash walking context, check out the leash walking lectures from Out and About in your FDSA library or look here for my December class and a micro e-book on LLW.