So much has happened in the last few days in the land of Raelyn!
2 days ago Raelyn did not pay any attention to the "Down" command. Today she is doing it like a pro! She still needs to be prompted by pointing at the floor, but she knows what to do. Crazy how fast she picked it up. Just an all of a sudden thing.
She "Waits" so consistently now too. She will patiently wait in either a sit or a down while you turn your back and walk away from her. She will even remain in position when then kitties walk by her! We call her to the next command pretty quickly, so it is a temporary hold. She is still distracted by something shiny, so we will wait on the stay for now which is more of a long term hold position.
She also figured out that "Go to bed' just means to find one of her soft comfy things on the floor and lay on it, so she isn't tied to just her special towel anymore. This is a big step as she originally learned the command on her special towel, but now realizes the command doesn't mean go there, it means go lay on something soft and stay there. Pretty cool!
Our walk today went really well too. Switching to the heavier leather leash has been a HUGE help. She stopped trying to eat the leash and walks a lot better. She is still distracted by most things and doesn't want to pay attention sometimes, but she is improving a ton. At the end of our walk, she was content to sit calmly sit next to me as I stood in the driveway and watch the cars go by. She loved it!
Our big issue that remains is the vocalization. She is super whiny and sometimes barky when she is frustrated/bored/doesn't get what she wants. We will be asking the Guide Dog trainer at our meeting this week what to do about this as correction, ignoring, and flat out denying whatever she wants isn't working.
On a more positive note, we think we may have solved our crate issue! Raelyn has hated the crate with a passion and will whine, dig, figet, and just not settled down well. We thought about it and the bottom of the specific crate we have has 5 large circular lumps, so the bottom isn't flat. Maybe she can't get comfy! DUH! So I put one of her beds in the crate and VOILA she has been sleeping voluntarily in the crate with the door open all afternoon/evening. No whining, figeting, or digging. We will monitor to make sure she doesn't eat her bedding, but wow, what a difference. We also think that she is probably getting bored in the crate, so we are going to buy some more toys. This way she has more to play with/chew. Now that we know what kinds of things she likes, we can try to pick out good things on our next trip to the pet store.
All things considered, things are going smashingly! :)