I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and had fun ringing in the new year! We're at home with Oscar (although still waiting for one piece of luggage which had most of our Christmas presents in it) and settling back in. Apparently Oscar did all right with our friends, though he chewed up a lot of paper and apparently had a few accidents in the house. Yikes! We'll have to see how he does and make sure he hasn't forgotten his training and that it was only due to not being familiar with his surroundings.
My new year's resolution regarding Oscar is to consistently work on his training, especially when it comes to teaching him to be calmer. As a miniature schnauzer puppy, he has energy to spare and gets very excitable. A few of his bad habits which we've been (unsuccessfully) working on getting rid of include him jumping up on people, walking on people as they're sitting on the couch, and nipping when he gets excited while playing.
We have made it a habit, since he learned the command, of getting him to Sit before he gets anything he wants, including dinner, toys, treats and us opening doors for him. However, at 7 months, he seems to have forgotten how to Sit at times (as well as the commands Come and Off, unfortunately) so we're trying to reinforce those commands. I'll be picking up some really good treats at PetSmart so that we can get his attention more effectively, even when he doesn't really want to listen. Since he's so food-oriented, we can usually get his attention that way, though I don't want to have to rely on food for his training. I'd like to phase it back out once he gets past this period where he just doesn't want to listen.
In order to help to teach him some patience, I have been working on Wait, which is where he has to wait until I get to the base or top of the stairs before he runs up or down. Usually as soon as we make our way in the direction of the stairs, he goes off on a tear and is upstairs or downstairs before we even get there. He can really move! When he runs up or down without me, I ask him to come Back beside me and we try again. The upside of him making the mistake is that I have a chance to correct it, and it also tires him out since it requires him to take the stairs again to get back beside me before he's allowed to proceed. Once he masters Waiting at the stairs, I'd like to apply it to him going through doors and exiting the car as well.
We're going to go to PetSmart to look at their training schedule, since it's our plan to continue his training and socializing by taking another class. Hopefully 2011 will bring us a more well-trained and calmer puppy!
Happy new year everybody!