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Thistle the dog

Thistle The Work In Progress

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Woops shared this story everywhere else but here. Too many "journals" to keep track of :laugh:

Bit of a stressful and eventful walk/training session! We're home now and Thistle carried herself incredibly well!

Basically every thursday or friday I take her to a pet store while puppy classes are on and late night shopping. We walk around practicing being calm, impulse control, looking at people, heeling, tricks, recall...whatever feels right depending on the business of the store.

Tonight started averagely enough, speed walked past some goldens in the doorway and started doing our thing. Little while in, another dog saw us as we came out of an aisle, saw we were on a collision course with them and turned for a different aisle. The dog started screaming! Like full on screaming and scrambling at us! Never heard a dog scream before (except the time Thistle was attacked and it was more yelping-screams, this was a throaty scream). Anyway, Thistle was alarmed but we calmly walked away and she offered focus as we did. Very brave doggo!

We did some backs in the aisle cause it's our entry in weekly competition at dog school this week. It was not good, entering anyway ;)

Watched puppy classes walk around and rewarded looking at me or watching calmly ( no concern-ears or leaning forwards!)

What then kept us occupied for the next 20-40 minutes was...after class ended...one of the owners gave lead of small pup to a small child! Who then started running laps of the store! It is a big store with wide aisles but I still expect a small child with a small puppy running around loudly could be alarming. For the first 10 minutes we hid in the aquarium aisle and practiced our backs and also our stands with a staff member.


Then we went to the vet section and people watched, anytime I heard the running kids coming I would put Thistle behind the vet's counter (they were closed and we have special "weekly visitor privileges aka can hide in staff areas if need be"


Also had to be careful as kittens in the rescue kitten adoption "shed" and Thistle would like to kill them. We did some recalls from them, at a distance where she was least "tunnel visioned"

Continued to avoid the running children at santas corner (she was more curious than alarmed, but I was stressed to high hell they'd run into us or drop the puppies lead or tread on this tiny little puppy!)


Got cornered by the running children! I asked thistle to stand on the mini forklift in case they dropped the lead and small puppy ran over. Answered some questions (what is she! is she a dalmation*?) while also telling them "she's shy, you can look but don't touch. your puppy is too small to say hello". They went on their way. Polite kids.


(she concerned, always so concerned. I was getting tail wags though, she wags a little more in the store every week)

Followed a lady with a big rattling trolley about as she cleaned. Did Stand For Exam with another staff member

Showed fave staff member ( a male~~) her new trick. Complimented on her adorableness


Thistle was alarmed at a big tall guy walking past at a distance. He was just walking but very big. But she didn't hide behind me, just sat down and watched him go past.

Children accidentally ran into us, managed to untangle, avoid any k9 incidents and go on our ways (they even apologised! Feeling a bit sorry for the tired puppy though).

Then we went home, with a "leave it" successfully past a smushed bigmac in the car park.

What a night!

We are both exhausted. It's not normally THAT busy or tricky to navigate

*second time someone has asked if she a dalmation, I love it

Today I am hoping to pick up that gumtree dog crate :)

Edited by Thistle the dog

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Nothing much to update but I'm going on holiday soon and have lots of adventures planned for thistle

Also got an award at dog school ☺️ One day the trophy but it is very hard to get. No dogs got it this year.

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 - 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.
  • Drop - 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.
  • 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 doors - I have a baby latch on the fridge now D: This one is only normal doors
  • Close doors - This command is both sliding doors and normal doors
  • 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". Our touch is a "rest your head in hand" command.
  • 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!
  • Stand - Stand, don't move 4 feet and ignore people
  • Cut - Bite through this thing I put in your mouth
  • Bow - Learning to bow on command
  • Switch - heel on my right side
  • Sniffit - NOSEWORKS TIME
  • Side - come round my right side, behind me to the heel position
  • Beg - as on the tin, sit up and BEG
  • Wiggle - Do the wiggle dance on command (WIP)
  • Gently - take the treat gently, dont eat my fingers!

Current improvement focus:

[*] Bow

[*] Sniffit

[*] Back - straightening it up

[*] Stand - with other people and/or me at a distance

Edited by Thistle the dog

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you got a stay or a wait coming on in there?

or is that implied by a sit/drop/stand (control position) cue

I used a "wait" cue to park my dog over there while I went and talked to a lady with four italian greyhounds about a sand piper nest up the beach... bird is being really persistent despite all the human and dog traffic.

And she stayed there like an absolute champ. All I could say is you've got iggies not poodle crosses... cos she's not perfect.

It is very useful tho.

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The stay position is implied but she has a wait command for outside of the 3 basics/place commands/doors/a few other commands or if a reminder is needed ☺️

She's pretty good at it for a "late starter in life" I reckon. Good enough to ignore barking dogs walking past our front yard while I'm talking to the neighbours. She makes me look good 😂

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Mine didn't learn stay until I learned about reward based training and proofing and NILIF ie you have to hold a stay in front of your dinner... can't do anything about the drool but the stay is excellent.

And we have added to that game - "catch the bikkie"... which is also part of back back (back up).

Haven't yet got her to back up towards me - she only backs away - probably something to do with where the reward is coming from (she likes to see me).

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I think wait rolls into impulse control and NILF very well, since it's about ...well, NOT doing things? Restraining yourself no matter the distractions (with time)?

It is one of the things we work on the most, impulse control. It is what behavourist and trainer both gave our task after she was assessed after she got attacked. It helps her control her fear, her excitement, teaches her manners and patience...when in doubt, wait! then treats and praise will raise from the heavens! or you get to go outside! or roll or piss on something or sniff something or get a butt scratch! no running through door ways!

I try and do exercises throughout the week, since she's so ...visually aroused and impulsive...I worry if we don't practice it will fall out of habit since it's so very against her nature. :) good thing her nature is very eager to please and smart to boot! I love watching her brain tick over and think. Where she thinks about breaking, or almost does then holds herself back then....wait for it...the head looks at me! TREATS! RELEASE!

Did it with kittens today. She finds kittens VERY HARD to ignore. (pretty sure she would like to bite so at a safe distance with barriers)

Still loves to jump up and down though, unless I tell her otherwise. Oh Thistle!

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I'd try putting the jump up and down on cue...

I've got "tail worky" and "paddle" (foot pumping) on cue

but I don't know how I'd get "jump" other than - "over the agility jump" on cue...

instinct drift - ie when there is no training the dog will revert back to instinctive behaviours...

so - always training.

Especially impulse control and Its Yer Choice.

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Thistle has gained enough weight to just about stop counting as underweight! I am proud, it is nice patting her and not feeling every sharp rib or bit of spine. Her coat is currently so soft as well.




I'm laying this credit with Thyme, I have not increased her food in anyway but I think the cuddling and playing and chilling with him has helped her relax and hence, burn less energy. We even did last week's obedience class practically offlead the entire time and she just hit her 50th verbal command/trick.


I've dialed back the second dog school now the weather is cool enough to take them both to my usual and rotate. I'm thinking once a month for the second school, with Thistle, as a bit of a new place challenge.


She is relaxing more at noseworks too although still hyper vigilant.


The only concern is her resource guarding food (prevented by once done eating, i take the bowls away. all kongs packed away too) and the occasional bit of cranky if she's having a cuddle and thyme crawls on her (fair enough!).


Upcoming soon is their first joint dog play date, I am hoping Thistle is not protective of him. So far i've been continuing with their each socialisation work individually. We will exercise all dogs individually at first, then let the two big ones do some rough and tumble and when THEY have slowed down a bit, introduce the puppy.


Thyme also has his own upcoming puppy play date with a bunch of small dogs of varying ages I've picked to help him work out how to be around small dogs. it includes a 7 month old chihuahua, 8 month old toy poodle, 3 yo toy poodle, 5 year old maltese mix. He is getting big enough he now looms over a lot of them.


and of course, little adventures of our own!



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What an awesome update.  Always love hearing about Thistle, so glad Thyme is helping :)



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Did I miss something? Who is this beautiful thyme?!

This is Thyme:



He is Thistle's new little brother, he just hit 5 months old but I've only had him for 2 months. Lots of pictures of him over here!


She is still a bit of insecurity over some things with him, but nothing I don't think time and trust won't fix.


He has general puppy excitement but he's not super interested in other dogs and people. He's pretty laid back and stable and eager to please, a perfect match for thistle.


He is very soft too. I have to brush him a lot!


Edited by Thistle the dog

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He is beautiful! And they already look great together now so when he's an adult they should compliment each other nicely (and in temperament from what you say)


Welcome to the dol family Thyme!

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