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Two Best Dogs!

Thistle The Work In Progress

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Pretty sure I've mentioned this before, but I think it's worth repeating! Although Thistle is scared of some things, I think she is tremendously brave and courageous. It takes a lot of strength to face one's fears and overcome them. Of course it does help that she has a lovely and determined person by her side. :grimace:

Now for some down time to relax after that very big day. :)

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Woops haven't updated in awhile! That is because more steps forwards than backwards :) still some challenges and I am impatient, but pretty happy with how this girl is coming along!

I'm going to double post here. So first:

Current command list and status...

  • GOOD/YES/*click* - you done good
  • No/ah/oi! - verbal correction/try again markers - aka no dont do that, try something else
  • Recall #1 - reasonably okay, still not 100% reliable. Hide and seek games helping. Most of our parks are still on long line cause not fenced. Considering a vibration collar because recall is so damn important to me. But hey she looked at another offlead dog on the otherside of the footie field and came back to me today! :D
  • Recall #2 - not a formal queue so much as a "ey i'm going the opposite way so you should come this way" - only really used in forest outings and more of a "hey i'm leaving" indicator than a "GET RIGHT HERE". I use this one in obedience when I'm wanting her to go to Front OR to do a command like drop on the way to me.
  • Sit, Drop - all with implied stay and distraction ignoring. She can do these positions from movement and at about 5m distance. She holds sit/drop borderline indefinitely.
    I have been re-teaching her drop as she was creeping forward. So now teaching her to drop head first not butt first. She remembers the new way most of the time!
  • Stand - she can let some people examine her now, but not well enough to advance to level 4 (growls at approaching men)
  • Heeling - keep focus for about 25-30 metres with distractions, flip to heel, flip-to-heel-on-other-side, come-around-back-to-heel and she can heel backwards/in circles backwards. Heeling is my favourite "trick" to do with her!
  • Behind - walk around me backwards
  • Between - heeling between the legs!
  • Hold - hold things in mouth, she has done this upwards of a minute. Has started learning to carry things around.
  • Go get it - go get an item! Thinking of refining this to identify and retrieve her ball like on the Catalyst TV show
  • Bring it - Bring me the item!
  • Open/Close doors - I have a baby latch on the fridge now D:
  • Out/In - for both doors, gates, store entry and the car. She's not allowed to rush through entry/exits, must wait until I give command. We also have a new game where I recall her then command her to the car over and over ;D
  • "Get the mustard" - "get the beer" but with a mustard bottle ;) open cupboard, bring me mustard!
  • Pivoting - she can do both left and right for multiple spins on one command. Has mostly stopped jumping while pivoting. Can pivot with all 4 feet on a small target...i am not teaching her to pivot with her REAR on a target
  • Touch - and the cousin command "high five"
  • Jump - jumps on spot
  • Back - walk backwards/go backwards - can do about 2m now, but still working on doing it in a straight line
  • Fistbump - basically shake
  • Leave it - applies to food from the hand, dropped food, her dinner, toys, food from strangers, bones and can even do it while eating a bone! Very pleased she'll do a Leave It when trainers offering her food.
  • On - 2 front feet on a target
  • Up - all feet - she can now do this at a target I point at to in the distance
  • Booty - just the back feet
  • Pull - formerly moosh. Very useful for the treadmill and going up hills
  • Muzzle - shove your nose in the muzzle
  • Collar - shove your head in the collar
  • Front - Sit in front close to me and rest chin on hand
  • Crawl - this one is so-so but she can crawl two body lengths
  • Go sniff - go nose boop or sniff that person
  • Toilet - piss or shit please
  • Touch - touch the hand/rest head in hand
  • Mat - her place command. Not to leave until released
  • Bed - just go to bed, but can get up and drink and stuff.
  • Box - all four feet IN the box. We are now at very small level!


I think that's all the commands...Also we did some Rally O for funsies at obedience, remembering the sign meanings is hard!

I have not many new additions to the command list, because past few months mainly been focussing on distraction, distance and duration! Distance with distraction can be done at 10m with strangers walking past but this is still very challenging for her and she may break if it is a man. Or growl if they approach directly/lean down to her (in controlled class setting, not randoms in street)

Here is some distance+distraction - a dog is being recalled + trainer walking past + two new dogs have just joined the class


Also I got a manners minder. She did an hour long drop-stay while I gardened and is ignoring my neighbours talking to me. I can't wait to have guests over again


Photos and major challenges and achievements will come in a bit, after I have lunch. :o

Edited by Thistle the dog

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Pssst we have an instagram we update with our more daily adventures. We recently won a competition! I got a tea towel with her "breed" (lol) on it, lots of treats, a new dog tag and more treats hopefully soon!

We are still Level 3 intermediate :o We got a trial run in advanced but Thistle is still growling at the odd approaching-without-a-dog person, even when they just walking past. So we are not in advanced yet. The lesson in advanced was REALLY CHALLENGING.

We are doing lots of LAT and some BAT. It is a shame, only one male trainer we see about 5-10 minutes a week so it's our weakest thing to practice. It is slow, changing her impressions of men.

But she has stopped doing her big growl-bark displays so small progress.

She has also minimal barking or growling at guests, mostly watching cautiously and after about 5 minutes will approach and sniff, even attempt to solicit chin rubs and butt rubs. Hopefully with the manners minder the rewarding when in presence of guests will improve her view of them!

She did not bark or growl at my fence tradie at all :o he was there about 2 weeks, on and off. She was kept separate and mostly just slept, except for one time i was gardening in front yard with her and he showed up, but she did a driveby sniff through fence then went to her bed inside. Tradie safety is important! But she was much calmer and more chilled out than 2 months before with the outofsight plumber (not barking/growling but nervous and edgy and shaking visibly that time).

We have been doing....ummmm kind of BAT, kind of encouraging calming signals based off Turin's book. So I am praising and rewarding self-distractions and calming activities like sniffing the ground, turning away from dogs, sitting down voluntarily, yawning, air sniffing, the lip lick etc. All the subtle self soothing things to encourage slower approaches to dogs and better dog communications.

Also been teaching her bow in hopes it will become part of her greeting repertoire instead of the "herding dog stalk and rush".

Okay so I posted about the snow pictures....what else have we been up to.

Manners Minder (video) being used to train whistle-recall and going to her mat!

Took her back to my secret camping spot


Other explorations, found an old logging mill area


I've actually retired her yellow scared jacket from use - except for obedience school because it has a high turnover of people who come for the basics and need the visual reminder.


Been going to bunnings every 2-3 weeks. It's no big deal, she's a little less worried each time. Our latest trip, we followed a forklift around as it was moving planks of wood. Here is a video of us heeling in bunnings with a trolley!


Botanical gardens (with Didi too!)!


We had a day where she ate something in the park then spent the whole day throwing up all over the car, herself, my couch, the rug, her own collar. Wow. What a day it was.


Also been doing...exercises? Things like crawling-limbo, pivoting, sits-to-stands with front feet raised up and stands-to-drop with back feet raised up. Her walks she is wearing her backpack. Stretches. and i make her interact with random things like standing on kennels, standing on mini forklifts and even explored around a storage warehouse! (All this with permission from the store owners)


Recently she injured the webbing between her dewclaw and foot, so I put the muzzle on to stop her licking at it until it scabbed over


and today she had a grand play session with Didi! The important question of the day:


Who's going to get this ball?!


(I do not remember who got this one)

Edited by Thistle the dog

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We found a new park recently...and the lighting is gorgeous!


It is quite the small "duck park" and visibly onlead only. The few other dog owners I met were really good and respectful of the area and other users!

I think Thistle enjoyed the new smells and thinking about killing the ducks


She gave it the Thistle Wiggle Dance of Approval


Tomorrow I will decide where to go this weekend, as our favourite places are closed due to flood and storm damage :o so forcing me to seek out parks with other people and animals are! :laugh:

We are enrolled in a noseworks class in a couple of weeks. Just the theory first up, i have other commitments on the practical session day.

Not much else to say, she really is growing into a lovely dog. Enjoying the current smooth sailing :)

Edited by Thistle the dog

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Guess where we went again today? C:

Royal Botanic Gardens! I'm really liking all the different photos ops, although prefer the glasshouse the most because it mutes the sunlight a bit and has the lovely tiles that bring out her eyes


and the patented Thistle Wiggle of Approval


We have actually been exploring lots of local and not-so-local parks of late





No training updates cause chugging along well. A lovely labradoodle and Thistle drew for the weekly trick competition. It was which dog could hold a metal spoon the longest! Turns out the answer is: a long time.

She's also started learning beg. It's taken a bit to build her balance up, cause of her big head XD

She's making new doggie friends damn near weekly. The most recent is a big black bully mix.

She's no longer grounded and has her offlead privileges-in-the-park back :laugh: downside is, she seems to have wrenched a toe in her mad-zoomies and/or chuck-it. Going the wait-and-see with it.

Edited by Thistle the dog

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Today's crisis averted! Took T for a bushwalk in state forest.



Towards the end of the walk (so close to the car!) I head voices heading our way. So I call her back and put her lead on, turn the corner to 4 people and a dog!

"Is your dog okay with other dogs, we don't have a lead" says the man with the growling dog.

"Better not, she's tetchy", says I with the very tired not giving a shit but dont want to risk it dog.

They hold their dog by collar off the path and I put Thistle to my right. We walk right pass them, although I grab her collar just in case cause the little guy (cute little japanese spitz type) amps up his growls

They continue there way and we go on ours!

If it had been a few minutes earlier, likely would have run into them on the road. A few minutes later, likely run into them with two loose dogs in the bush.



We have also graduated! To the newly crated level 3.5 - for those too good for intermediate but falling short in one area that disqualifies them from advanced (cough-growling-at-people-means-cant-do-stand-cough)

Also we are starting noseworks. Which means my tracking will be longer away, but promises to be fun. Hopefully will improve my geocaching abilities!

Yet more local park explorations. This one was Mill Park






one of those multiuse parks in reservoir




Edited by Thistle the dog

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Thank you!

I should have included this photo, taken about 30 seconds before blindsided by an angry very-uncontrolled offlead dog. Thistle handled herself well, considering.


This was on the Merri Creek trail so not sure the exact location.

The patented Thistle Wiggle Dance is anywhere anytime


Edited by Thistle the dog

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Guest crazydoglady99   
Guest crazydoglady99

You are amazing Thistle & Thistle's mum :)

She is one very lucky girl!

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She's such a gorgeous looking dog and I love the photo's you take of her :D

Edited by Roova

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Aww SM :heart:

Always love Thistle updates too. :)

:offtopic: Well, we all know Scottie is the bestest - except when I need to change the bed (we've just had our weekly battle) but you know I'd say the same about Mal too :)

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Thistle update!

We had a solo session with head trainer, the focus was refining her recall (Thistle thinks she can take on wombats, eek!) but had the pleasant side effect of letting her investigate and build confidence about the only male dog trainer in the school

She walked, heeled and sat with him while I watched :) then she shoved her butt in his face for scratches XD


I bought the best dog collar in the world:



Thistle went to the marina in williamstown with our doggy BFF's


I was in sight the whole time but she found it a little worrying to be so far away in such a busy new location. Handled that challenge well and they shared doggy icecream.

Incidentally I went to the dog park to do some distraction work with her, but not a dog to be seen. What a let down!


We went on a riding path in Dissa and looks like some horses must have been nearby recently! She was intrigued (didn't eat or roll in it thankfully!)


Royal Botanic Gardens smile :D


Blairs hut walk, I think, we got lost a bit


Been doing spots of training on our weekly socialisations: Video link

She enjoying the sun of late, almost blue shell time :)


I have also been thinking about retiring the "scared dog" label. We only use the jacket at dog school because of it's high risk environment these days. So when people go "what's wrong with her" I want to say something other than "scared rescue", because she is not scared all the time and can be quite confident about new things. Just very specifically worried over some people and some dogs and sometimes a bad day happens.

She doing well though :)


Even when pub owners randomly slam their door open while she's walking past and she gets a bit of a shock XD


I am forever in dismay at how many photos to share with the world and the time it takes to upload them :'(

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