Welcome to Our Home!
One thing Dz Dog and I talked about was the idea of building a gate on our front porch. Since Jack was practically feral when we first took him in we ended up dealing with a lot of bolting issues. On a good note he's improved dramatically in the two months we've now had him, and his Last Escape was a couple weeks ago.
We discussed a gate though for a couple reasons, it would allow us to practice with Jack on his front door manners while providing a bit of safety should he make a break for it while we're training, if guests come over it would give us a safety measure so that when the front door gets opened - ideally he'd be stuck on the porch rather than potentially darting into the street, and finally since we plan on doing more fostering in the future it would provide all these same benefits for future pups we work with and train.
So here it is! Our new gate! It's mainly just a visual detterent for potential escapee's. If Jack wanted to he could jump it or go through the side (Not in Our Plans), so we're considering adding a few bars to the porch itself. As you can see from the pic, Dante, if he wanted to could definitely slip his head through the side and get out, but he isn't motivated to leave me for any reason so he stayed on the porch like a good boy so I could snap a picture.
Also I love the red! What do you think? We thought it was a nice warm and welcoming color and a great addition to our house which is brown with cream accents.
Training a Hound..
So last night Jack and I made a huge step forward. In order to test him "off-leash" but in a safe manner, hubby rigged a 50 pound fishing line leash for me! Being fishing line Jack practically can't feel it, we then attached it to a heavy duty metal leash clip on one side, with a handle on the other end, and gave him about 50 feet to roam.
Jack weighs 50 pounds, but so long as he didn't hit the line at a dead sprint we felt pretty safe using it as a training tool and being able to potentially reel him in if needed.
So with my treat bag full of hot dogs I ventured outside in the front yard (which is un-fenced, lots of kids, lots of cats, squirrels, and other distractions) with Jack.
First we practiced his door manners. I put Dante and Ziva in our backyard so that they wouldn't interrupt my training with Jack.
Step one - Ask for a sit, reward the sit.
Open the door just a crack - Reward him for continuing to sit with the door open, if he gets up we start over with the door closed.
While he remains sitting - I exited the front door, then asked him to join me with, "Come". Reward him for coming straight to me through the doorway.
We practiced this for a bit, then did it again when exiting the gate on the front porch. What seems to work really well is just keeping his attention. He loves to do nose touches so when he starts to get distracted I ask for a "touch" and then throw a party when he does. Touch by the way is a great way to teach recall.
We then went into the yard with Jack on the light leash, he did great! All the kids were out on their bikes, roller blades, skateboards, etc. making a bunch of racket. At first I was prepared to call it quits or go find a quieter place to train - he hasn't had much distraction practice.
But he did great! He paid close attention to me because I had yummy high value treats - The Value of High Value Treats.
We walked around the yard, tossed his tennis ball a bit, said hi to some of the kids and Jack was a rockstar about it!
I was even able to call him back to me when he wanted to go check out the neighbor's cat! All without having to put any pressure on the line!
I'm still not ready to just let him be off-leash in the front yard with me but i'm feeling more confident about my ability to be able to recall him should he do some silly zoomies again.