The Graduate

Posted on August 20, 2012. Filed under: Dog |

We are proud parents of our Labradoodle who graduated from his Puppy Obedience class last week. He’s a smart cookie.

I haven’t posted much about Mason lately other than pictures, so here’s the rundown on where he is in his training. If you have questions about how we taught a specific skill, please ask in the comments section. I’d be happy to help.

A lot of his training we did on our own. He knew how to sit within the first few days we had him and he could shake and lie down after a week or two. Come is a continual work in progress, but he has improved tremendously.

Adam and I went on a 10 day vacation when Mason was between 14 and 15 weeks old. We left him with a friend of the breeders who trains dogs and dressage horses. We came back and Mason was a different dog! It was amazing. She only cost $10 more per day than the kennel. It was worth it. She had Mason fully leash trained, he was comfortable in public places like Lowes and Home Depot, he knew how to stay, leave it, and he was learning roll over and place (going to his bed).

Once we got him home, we worked with him for 15 minutes twice a day on his training – in the mornings and evenings when it was cooler. Sometimes he could only go 5 minutes before he got too distracted. It’s always good to make sure he’s having fun and being successful, otherwise he’ll get discouraged. For instance, if I was teaching him something new and he wasn’t getting it, I would backtrack and get him to sit and lay down. These are things he has down pat and he would feel good getting treated and gain some confidence. It helped him to regain his focus. We also walk him up and down our street once a day to keep up his leash training, practice sitting in the heel position, and staying on the curb with distractions. Don’t worry. He’s still leashed. If he tries to bolt, we can step on the leash to prevent him from going anywhere.

We enrolled Mason in a puppy obedience class a few weeks after the trainer. Mason knew most of the skills that were taught, but actually doing them with all the distractions of a pet store and with the presence of playmates was an added challenge. The puppy class was great for his socialization as well. I’m really glad we did it. He is too!

Here is the list of tricks Mason can do at almost 6 months old:

Potty trained – this means going to the bathroom outside and not in the house. I consider a house trained dog one you can leave to roam wherever and you know he won’t chew through cords or eat your toilet paper. Mason is potty trained. He was potty trained at about 5 months. He is not house trained.

Sit – learned this in 2 days

Down – learned this in a week

Stay – Mason is still working on this in terms of distance and time, but he grasped the concept at about 15 weeks.

Shake – learned this at 9 or 10 weeks

Roll-over – this took a few weeks to learn. You have to start very slow.

Place – this is still taking time. We are working on being in another room and having him go down the hall to his place.

Touch – he’s an expert. He puts his nose to our palms on command. We’re working on pointing to objects and having Mason touch them. He does this about 75% of the time.

Up – this wasn’t hard for Mason. He loves to jump on people. He loves people. Period.

Off – more challenging. He likes to get up on the coffee table, jump on people, and he’s started to put his paws on the cabinets. His nose is about 2 inches below the counter for now – thank goodness. He is learning. He knows what it means, but sometimes he doesn’t care. If he’s jumping on us, we freeze and ignore him until he sits. Then we give him attention. This is starting to work.

Play dead – work in progress.

Sit in the heel position (when on leash) – this did not take long since he knew sit and is comfortable on his leash.

Leave it – very good at this. I highly recommend this skill. Everyone should teach their dog this for when you drop medicine, chocolate, etc.

Drop it – starting to see success here. It was a miracle the other day when he brought me a ball and dropped it at my feet without me having to wrestle it out of his mouth or give the command.

It’s not all roses though. I obnoxiously brag about our dog, but there are things we are still struggling with: barking, jumping, mouthing/gnawing/sinking his teeth into wrists, ankles, backs of knees. Mason hasn’t quite learned that his teeth hurt and it’s causing us some concern. We continue to yelp, say “ouch” and replace our hands with a toy. I’ll keep you posted on our progress. Some days are better than others. It doesn’t help that he has 6 canines right now. Yep. His puppy canines on the top are right next to his adult ones.  As far as the barking, Mason is a talker. We’re learning to distinguish the meaning of his barks: play/attention, bathroom, watch dog. We still can’t get him to shut up very much. Recently, during play time he launched himself onto the couch in my lap. I didn’t even see him coming. It’s a ball of flying fur and there he is gazing up at me, tongue hanging out of his mouth, and his ball in my lap. He is not allowed on the furniture. See guilt-stricken face here:

This is a new thing he started doing last night and one we won’t allow even if it is funny. He went to time-out a few times. It’s hard to put that face in time-out.

But overall, we are very proud of our boy!

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3 Responses to “The Graduate”

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I’m so impressed by all that he can do! I need to crack down on Bella more. My parents let her do whatever she wants when she visits them so now she won’t listen. Sometimes you have to retrain old dogs when you fall short of keeping them up with everything!

How did you teach Mason to shake? Bella HATES when people touch her paw.

[…] a dog. 99.9% of the time, Mason’s such a joy. He’s so smart. You can read about his tricks here. He’s such a lover. He loves to snuggle. He’ll lay his head on our feet in the family room […]

[…] I find a project to focus on and pour all of my energy into that whether it’s planning a trip, training a puppy, whipping up some curtains, launching an exercise plan, or plotting our next home renovation […]


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