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KevTheDog

Courtyard hangout training advice?

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Hi all! Spring has FINALLY arrived here in Stockholm, and our courtyard has tables and chairs for sitting outside. Kevin and I have been practicing Control Unleashed style mat training and he's getting pretty good, though, at 7.5 months, he has not fully figured out yet that he needs a release word before getting up from the mat. I'm hoping that will come with patience, practice and maturity, but it does lead me to my question:

I would like to sit outside to work and today I did it! I brought out Kevin - who had been relaxing inside, so he's definitely in calm boy mode - the mat, a chew and some treats and for the first 10 minutes, he just lay on his mat and chewed his toy; it was awesome. But after about 10 minutes he got up to do some sniffing of the furniture (which is new to him, understandable). When the teeth came out to chew on our shared-with-neighbors outdoor furniture, he got a "no" and I redirected him back to the mat a few times. And then suddenly his leash looked very delicious and he started chewing on that, and generally being a bit more distracting for me.

None of this behavior is surprising; it's the first time we've started treating the courtyard as we treat the living room/office inside (a place where I work, and Kevin settles down). But I'm trying to figure out just how to approach our time spent outside with my computer ("time to work"). Should I bring him inside before he starts to get restless? Or wait for the restlessness to begin and then go inside (in a "we don't get to stay outside if you're wandering about" sort of way). I don't expect him to be perfect at chilling in a place where he hasn't spent time resting before, but it's a very low-key scenario in the middle of the day - we're on our own, just outside instead of in. Maybe I should give him a chance to sniff around and then ask for the settle?

I'd love some ideas! I want him to get into the habit of seeing me with computer outside = he settles down for a rest or a chew. We are out there a ton for play time, so he needs to learn how to distinguish between play time and work time.

Thoughts?

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I would definitely give him time to sniff around first before settling down.

I work from home and my 11 month old seems to know to leave me alone when I am at my computer, but I think I would have trouble outside as he thinks this is a place for play.

Have a look online at Outback Dog Training Group, they have an excellent range of videos, there is one on teaching a dog to be calm. Maybe of use to you.

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Full disclosure: I've never raised a puppy. 

I think the advice of letting him sniff around a bit, maybe even a brief walk to relieve himself, before settling down is a good idea. I assume he's got a 'settle' cue? Or something that resembles it ~ my boy gets 'blanket' and he goes to the closest dog bed and settles in.

If it's possible, bring the mat you're using inside with you when head for the courtyard. I have a dog bed/blanket in 3 spots in my home and G knows those are his places to settle down while I work or clean or whathaveyou. When he was younger I took him on some road trips, along with one of his blankets from home. When staying with friends or at a motel, I could point to the blanket on the floor, say the magic word, and he'd go curl up peacefully. My hosts were always impressed, and it was very very easy to 'install' this behavior in him.

Good luck!

Ruth & Gibbs

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39 minutes ago, urge to herd said:

...I took him on some road trips, along with one of his blankets from home... I could point to the blanket on the floor, say the magic word, and he'd go curl up peacefully.

Yep, this is a very useful skill for a dog to have. I haven't really had as much need for it recently as I did in a former life when I could grab a jacket, a towel or even a handkerchief and lay it on the floor for them to use. Seeing a 40-50 lb dog (one, not a BC, was ~70 lbs.) go lie down "on your blanket" on a small ladies' handkerchief was pretty amusing. But it worked. ;)

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