Finn has been working on getting used to being touched in various areas (handling) such as paws, legs, tail, mouth, and ears. Conditioning dogs to handling builds calmness and trust between the dog and handler, makes them less likely to bite when put in the situation of being touched unexpectedly, assists the dogs with impulse control, and prepares the dogs for grooming and visits to the veterinarian. Finn has also been working this week on walking appropriately on a leash and learning the "sit" and "watch me" commands. “Watch me” may seem very basic, but it is a stepping stone to many obedience skills he will be learning and is used to begin to teach Finn to focus on his handler.
Finn has also learned the positive reinforcement marker "yes" which allows the handler to communicate to him that what he is doing is the appropriate behavior and that the behavior will be rewarded. Finn also learned the negative reinforcement marker "eh eh" which allows the handler to communicate to him that what he is doing is something that is inappropriate. It was a busy week for this new diabetic alert dog in training. Training locations this week have been the trainer's house and local neighborhood, Lowe's, Petsmart, and the park. These environments will allow him to build confidence without being overly stimulated.
Next week, Finn will continue to work on the "watch me" and "sit" commands and on walking appropriately on a loose leash. He will begin to learn to auto sit which will teach Finn that every time the handler stops, he should sit right next to the trainer's left leg. He will learn the phrase "Let's go" and he will begin to learn the "take it" command which will allow the handler to communicate to Finn that he has permission to take an item.