Ace is a young man about 4 years old and weighs around 65 lbs. Until a year ago, Ace lived his life chained outside at an abandoned home in a rural area with little human interaction and he didn’t receive food or water regularly until he was discovered. Ace is very sweet and thinks he’s a big puppy. He doesn’t know his size quite yet! He knows lots of tricks and loves to show them off. He craves affection and is learning not to be too demanding for it. All of the dogs seem to like Ace and he gets to play with them one on one. Ace needs an experienced adopter because of his high desire for attention. He will continue to need help with new experiences because he can still get too excited when he sees new things. Ace will be seeing a doggie psychologist this month so we can help him manage his excitement. Note, he isn’t angry or aggressive, he’s just overwhelmed and bounces around like he wishes he could fly! Especially when you’re a big boy, that’s not very fun for your human!
As we know Ace is super hype with everything he does, so this week I thought we could use that hype during our training sessions. We sat up a course out back for him to run. We made do with a few crates & some flat basketballs. I would have him run and jump over the crates, come to me and sit. I would get super animated and take off running, have him target the ball, come back and stay beside me as we zig-zagged through the crates. The first few times were hit and miss, but once he got to understanding what we were doing, he really seemed to enjoy it. It gave me a chance to mix the training up with a little bit of fun and exercise, which really kept him interested. All in all, he did great. I admit to having a bias though, cause that's my guy!
My original plan was to work on non-verbal cues with Ace, but everything went south fast! We've been trying to work on this thing where, instead of saying,' Okay' I nod my head and Ace would 'Get It,' but today I put a few pieces of chicken down and would put my hand over it, meaning 'wait.' Normally Ace is very good at waiting to get the food, even when he's drooling on it right between his paws, but this time Ace goes into his crate and lays down. I called him back out. He comes over, sniffs the chicken, looks at me, and goes back into his crate. Now I'm thinking something must be wrong? I called him out and just gave him the chicken. Oh yeah, he's happy now. He then sniffs my hand, walks away, comes back, jumps on the bunk and starts sniffing around for more chicken. I ignore him, sitting at my desk. Then he starts nudging my hand with his big head. He's still on the bunk, laying down, but doing an army crawl this time, trying to get my attention. I move farther away. He looks at me, stops, and rolls onto his back with the saddest, 'I just want more chicken look in his eyes.' I broke down and gave up most of my chicken. When it was all gone, he knew it. He retires to his crate and curls up in his ball, like he does when he's serious about sleep. So much for any training. He trained me. #EatPlaySleep
The goal was to get Ace to ignore the truck. Somehow it turned into a weird game of 'Truck or Treat!' Ace gets really worked up when the slow rolling wheels of the large, squeaky re-supply truck passes by. Today, we heard the truck coming as usual, and I decided this would be perfect timing. Every time he would look at the truck, I would drop a few treats and tell Ace, 'Find it!' After doing this for 5 minutes, I guess he figured it out, 'All I have to do is look at the truck and I get treats.' So now, he would look at the truck and immediately start searching the ground for treats. To test my theory, I walked him away for a few minutes, just to see how he would react. As soon as we went back towards the truck, he get excited, but then he went looking for the treats. I take off running, toward the truck, tossing treats as he chases me. I would have him sit, shake or do anything other than focus on the truck. It went extremely well, or at least I thought so. As soon as the guy started the truck rolling though, Ace, my dude, forgot about all the training, treats and would only focus on the truck. As soon as the truck was out of sight, Ace comes back over to me, sits down like nothing ever happened. #AsLongAsItsNotMoving
The thing with training is, you want to set your dog up for success. By that I mean, I get Ace in a position to do something that he already knows how to do, then introduce the new thing right after that. So I'm working with Ace on not flying out the door. First I have him sit and wait, then I take one step outside, but step right back in. Then I let him go out, but as soon as we're out, I have him sit. My thinking is, when his forever handler goes to take him out, he would go in one or two steps out the door, sit and wait, giving his new mom or dad time to lock the door, get their keys, readjust or whatever. As long as Ace isn't running out the door or even trying to.
This wasn't practical, but we had to at least try it.The goal was to get Ace to roll over twice. Needless to say, Ace had different plans. We started with the basic 'down' and then a 'bang' for play dead. Then I give the roll over command, but the thing is once he rolls once, he always jumps right up. So I tried to assist the dude, but instead he turns it into a wrestling match. Of course! I wish you could've seen it. I had his front legs and I'm thinking I'll show him what I want him to do. Bad idea, but it did look like he was trying to give me a hug... So we've turned the whole goal into trying to teach him to hug me.
We worked on recall with distractions this week because Ace gets super excited so easily. We have several different exercises he has been working on. For example, I'll put a piece of food down and run him past it while trying to keep his attention on me. We've been successful with this and so we upped the game. I put him on a sit/stay, put the treat down between him and me, then call him to me and he has to walk past the treat without snatching it. Sounds good, right? Well, the first few times it worked, but after he would return to me, then he would run back to get the treat, then run back to me. Dude is lacking some self-control. But we all lack self-control, am I right? So, we gotta keep working on it. It takes time, but as the saying goes, 'Rome wasn't built in a day.'
I spent the whole week trying to get Ace and Tux to be friends, but their relationship is weird. When they're out and about about, they just ignore each other, but when we put them out back in the dog runs (separate runs) they'll run back and forth, barking at each other for a half hour. Today, I just let them go until they both gave up. Then on the way out, we let them walk side by side and neither paid any attention to the other. Once we got inside Tux went into his crate and right away Ace started running around and barking. #LoveFromADistance
I wish we could all be 100%, 100% of the time, but we can't... And that includes Ace. Oh yeah America, your home Ace had one of those days, but it's not a bad thing! See, nothing and no one in this world is perfect, so the question is, how do we respond? Do you give up? Do you freak out? Or do you remain focused and stay the course? His good outweighs the bad any day of the week. Plus, he's a dog! I mean he just went coo-coo today, yipping and jumping all over the place. At one point he got into it with a bee! Yup, a bee. He couldn't catch it, so he started barking, jumping and generally freaking out! Poor Ace, he really had a rough day. So we're sitting here at 8:40 PM on the bottom bunk, relaxing. He claims it as his anyway. He's exhausted and I'm rubbing his head like nothing went wrong. In my mind, I want him to know, no matter what happened, I'm still here for him at the end of the day. Truth be told, we're both here for a reason and we both need help... Not people giving up on us. So with all that said America, what do we do? I haven't given up, but your help is needed.
So it finally happened! Ace got to play with Maxwell! Normally Ace would just walk by like Max doesn't exist, but today I forced his hand. I had Ace in a sit & stay, I dropped the leash and walked over to put Max. At first Ace just ignored us, then I released him and guess it got the best of him cause he got up and to Max. Stopped in front of us, did the play bow thing, and the two of them started playing like they've been friends for years, so now when I bring Ace out, he has his heart set on going to see Max.
I've been trying to work on Ace going to his place as soon as someone comes to the door or knocks. The goal is to not have him charging up to people when they come over. So here's what we've done. First, I would have someone come to our door and knock, then I would give Ace the 'house' cue. When he goes to his crate, I would then shower him with treats and praise. It must've taken at least 10 times before Ace would go into the crate as soon as he heard the knock. After another 20 times, I would have him come out to meet the person who knocked.This is one of those things I hope will help Ace with his self control.
This week I really tried to get Ace to focus on self control using confidence building techniques. We started with the basics, then worked up to leave it, only now I would take a few steps back, while Ace remains in a stay. Here's the kicker, I would drop a few treats right in front of him. The trick is to step back to him, then issue the reward from my hand, and expecting that he still leaves the treats I've placed on the ground. A few times I was able to have him come to me, but sometimes he would grab the ground treats first. No worries, we'll keep working on it. In the meantime, we are also working on transitions to obeying commands from all the other handlers.
Not really the normal protocol, but I though it would be cool to teach Ace to clean up! So I sat at one end of the cell and tossed the ball or toy to the opposite end. When he brings it back, I would wait until he's standing over the bucket and give him the out cue. Once he dropped it, I gave him little pieces of cheese. No verbal cues other than out. It works fine with toys, but with the ball, it bounces out of the bucket and dude goes chasing the ball around the cell. It might take a few more days to get him to do it perfectly on cue. I'll keep you posted on his progress!
Ace continues to work on his meet & greet. I have trained him to sit when meeting someone. But Ace has trouble keeping still, so I've trained him to walk a couple of feet to touch the person's hand, and then come right back to me and sit. He is really good at this! But if the person gets closer, he won't stay in a sit. This guy needs wings, because he really likes to leave his feet! Anyway, he has come a long way with this and we will continue to work on staying in a sit position during greetings.
For the last 3-4 weeks, every morning, another handler would come over to take Ace outside for his morning break. But this morning things got a little weird. Normally, as soon as the other handler comes to the door Ace is ready, he's stretching, pacing back and forth, and then he'll jump up and down on the bottom bunk. But today, dud comes to the door, Ace is just laying there, dude grabs the leash... Ace just eyebals him. Finally dude gives the cue, 'Ace, let's go!' Man, Ace looking at the dude like he done lost him mind? So I'm thinking, 'Oh no! Ace might be sick!' I go tot he door and grab the leash and before I turn around Ace is by my side and ready to go. As I'm walking out the other handler goes to take the leash but Ace isn't having it, puts on the brakes. By now it's really weird. So we come back in, I'm sitting at the table while Ace roams around. The other handler walks over to Ace and Ace takes off running back to me. The other handler starts trying to chase Ace around the table. It's a game and it's ON! We were all laughing so hard, even Ace! Finally the handler gives up and walks away, so Ace runs straight over to him, gives him the nose nudge and takes takes off running again. The other handler ignores him, so Ace finally goes back to him and they hung out the rest of the afternoon like nothing happened. I'm thinking Ace just isn't a morning dog. #GiveMeAMinute
I've been working intently on rapid recall with Ace using the cue word, 'Bingo!' My objective is to get Ace to come to me no matter what the circumstance is. We always warm up first using basics of sit, stand, down, & touch. Then I have another handler play with him doing tug-o-war on the opposite end of the tier. Then I yell, 'Bingo!' and the second he even glances my direction I get super excited clapping and praising him, when he runs to me I give him more treats than I can count to make it a real party. With every treat I say, 'Bingo!' This recall could come in handy when he gets too interested in something inappropriate.
Ace worked on proper greetings with other dogs that he is SOOOO excited to meet. We start with auto sit (that's when I take a few steps and he sits automatically when I stop.) Once he's into working mode I will take a step toward the other dog. If he starts pulling or getting too excited I'll back up and wait until he looks up at me and sits, then we take another step toward the object of his desire. I'll continue to do this until he calms down walks nicely towards the other dog. This is the same training we use when greeting people. The difference with people is I will have him touch the person and then yo-yo back to me to sit, then he gets a treat, then he can go back to the person. This is really helping Ace with his excitement in greeting people. We keep is slow and deliberate.
Ace continues to work on properly greeting and meeting people and other dogs. First we start with the auto sit. Once I've established that he is going to plant his behind, I'll start toward the other dogs. Pulling or getting too excited only puts us in reverse. We are trying to keep him from getting overwhelmed. When he looks at me and sits, then we can move back toward the dogs of his desire! I'll continue to do this until he calms down and walks nicely toward the other dog. This is the same training I've been using when we meet people. I've been having him touch the person's hand and come right back to me and sit. Then I treat him and allow him to go back to greet the person. This has been the most effective way to help him with appropriate greetings so he doesn't get too overwhelmed.
Most of this week we worked on sit and stay, which is a self-control exercise, something Ace needs to work on. I hold the leash & give him the sit cue a few times, just as a warm up. Then I give him the stay cue and go to the end of the leash, returning immediately and treating him. Eventually I work until I can go to the end of the tier, wait 3-5 seconds, and walk back to him. Most of the time he does really good! This next week I'm going to add distractions and non-verbal cues. Oh, and we will continue playing the push-the-cart game. He cracks everyone up with that!
This week's training was based on auto-sit. The goal is to train Ace to sit down whenever we stop walking, without any verbal cues. The way we're training the dogs is to get the dog's attention, take a step, and give the cue. After doing this a few times most dogs pick up on what you're trying to get them to do. Once you're able to get them to sit without any cues, you should be able to increase your steps. Because Ace is a cookie monster, he's pretty good at auto sit. Most times, I can go about 15-20 steps until he gets a whiff of something that distracts him. But one of the most important things, for us anyway, about the auto sit training is how it affects the dogs' greetings with people and with other dogs.
Where most people see an obstacle, Ace sees an opportunity to exercise. I got my wash bucket sitting in front of the cell door, right in front of his crate. Normally the crate would be blocking the door, preventing the dude from running out. Today, I'm washing clothes and decided to but the bucket there. At first Ace was walking over and just sniffing the bucket. Then he went over and decided to put his paw in the bucket. Dunk, then ran back to the bunk. They finally hit the door for yard, dude jumps from the bunk and over the bucket, clattering on the the tier. So me and another inmate try to make it into a game. We must've spent half an hour trying to get him to jump over the bucket. He would run straight at it, then either stop, or run around it. Any ideas? #JumpJump
Here was the challenge, get Ace to push the cart like Dexter used to do. (Yeah! My boy Dex!!) But, here's the thing, Ace isn't as big as Dexter, but he's got a lot more energy. So I go out on the tier, get the cart, treats, and another handler. We've got this, right? Nope, I take the leash off Ace, dude takes off to another cell, goes straight in like he owns the joint, jumps on dude's bed and lays down. I don't know the guy in this cell, but he always plays with Ace, so no real problem there. We try again. I finally get him to stand up with his front paws on one end of the cart, but he refuses to move. I took 1-2 steps back, Ace decides this is the perfect time. Dude takes off back to the same cell, runs in and back onto the guy's bed. We get him again. This time we kept the leash on. For about 10 minutes, all Ace would do is put his front paws up on the cart. He won't push it. Then, out of nowhere, Ace jumps into the cart! People are laughing and calling out to him. Ace is loving it. I'm loving it! So I gave the dude his cookies and praise. Now I have to pull him out. I tell him, 'Up,' expecting him to put his front paws on the cart. Nope! Dud jumps right back in like that's what's supposed to happen. Since I coulnd't get him to push the cart, now we have him jumping in the cart. Whoever adopts Ace needs to buy him a doggie stroller! #MyTrickMyWay
I don't think Ace found it as funny as we did! We're working on some rapid recalls. I'm at one end of the tier and another handler is at the other. We would get super excited and act as if we had something and call Ace to come. Then the other person would call for him. Anyway, Ace must've raced back and forth for 10 minutes, just going crazy with his tongue flopping and his backside wiggling. Dude is exhausted from this. After a little while Ace man figured it out. I thought I'd rev him back up so I take off running, thinking he would give chase, and he did for about 10 steps. He stops in the middle of the tier, lays down, sprawls out, refuses to move. Now everyone is coming in from yard, but dude doesn't budge. I go over and put treats in front of him. Nothing. He must be really mad or tired. I grab the trash, like I'm going outside. That usually gets his attention. Still nothing. So finally, he gets up, looks at me, looks at the other handler and trots back to the cell. He hits the water bowl hard and flops down on my bunk like he just ran a marathon. The other handler and I go over, calling to him to get back out. Nope! He just gets up and goes to his crate, like he's pouting. About an hour later he's back up on me and wanting to play. #PowerNap
So, I guess this would be round 2? Remember I told you that Ace wants to try me? Yep, it happened... I'm laying down, dude is running around the cell like he owns the joint. No worries, he does it every day, but then dude goes sniffing around in the locker. There are towels in there, his towels. So all I said was, 'Ace, no.' He walks away, goes into his crate and sticks his head out. Then, I guess he wasn't finished with the locker, cause he walks over, snatches a towel and brings it to me. I tried to play it cool and said, 'Okay,' thinking he would drop the towel, however dude had different ideas. He gets super excited, jumps on my bed and is trying to shove the towel in my hands. That ended up in a tug-away match and now I'm going to have to move the towels.
So, I'm trying to ignore the dude, but it isn't working.... Normally I would be here wrestling with Ace, but I'm trying to get him to stop nipping... I'm at my desk and the dude keeps walking past, bumping me, a few times he nudged me, but I wouldn't give in. I know he wants to play so I pull out an old towel and try to get him into a game of tug-a-war. At first, it was cool until dude tried to jump in my lap! So naturally, it's on! He goes on his back and I had to pin the dude. We must have spent the last 10 minutes wrestling. Now he's laying down, sprawled out, tongue hanging out, and breathing like he just ran 10 miles. But it's not over. Every time I would get up, he comes jumping on me and wanting to go again. So we went again. I think he might be done. He's panting and drinking water, but he keeps an eye on me every time I move! #RoundOne
So your man Ace just came back from the yard with the dude Neiko. The whole time outside, they only played for 20-25 minutes but now, on the way back, they both suddenly wanted to play. So, we put them both in my cell. First, I put Ace back in the cage but Neiko came strolling in like he owned the joint. So we let him and Ace run around the cell. The dude Ace is selfish. Every time Neiko would go and sniff something, Ace would run over and try to take over. Then, Neiko picked up one of Ace's balls. Ace jumps down off the bed and runs head first into the locker which scares Neiko half to death. Neiko drops the ball and goes bolting out the door. Meanwhile, Ace grabs the ball and runs it into his cage, comes out and sits in front of the cage door as if he's blocking it. Oh and Neiko never came back. #Whatsmineismine
It happened again. I couldn't figure out what the dude was doing so I ignored him. I'm sitting on the bunk and Ace keeps pecking my leg then sits down. Weird, but, I'm okay with it. I get up and he walks along my side, nose stuck to my leg. I sit down and the dude sits down, puts a paw on my leg and turns his head away from me. The thing is, I had him out on the tire earlier doing some training and I forgot I had a bunch of treats in my pocket. But Ace didn't. So as soon as I dun in my pocket, the dude started drooling and his tail must've been going 100 mph. But you know I had to make him work for it so I would tap my pocket and every time, he would put his paw on my leg. I would say, 'search him' like he's patting someone down. So now, I have to try to turn this into a trick so that I can bring Ace on the tier and have him 'search' a few people. #Somebodygottreats
So this week was kinda weird. First, you have to understand my man, Ace. Once he gets excited, all bets are off. First, he tore someones pants and later on, he tore a shirt. Then I guess for good measure, someone else decided to give him an old pair of slippers to chew up. Nope! No interest whatsoever so we tied the slipper to a piece of string and drug it around the block and let Ace chase it down. Dude would chase it then act like he was afraid of it so we changed it to a T-shirt. Oh yeah, he was more than happy to tear the shirt up. Then when it's all said and done, the dude still isn't tired. How and why does this dog have so much energy? #Nonstop
So Ace and Neiko are out in the yard doing the, 'chase me until I drop' thing. On my way to work I stop by to mess with Ace for a few seconds. I got the dude at the gate so he's not paying Neiko any attention whatsoever. Well, I'm guessing that the dude Neiko didn't like it...First, Neiko comes over and pecks Ace a few times. No response. Next, he comes over and just mounts Ace like a horse. No response. Then I guess Neiko figured when all else fails, bite and run, so, he pay bit Ace and takes off. That was all it took. Ace takes off full speed after Neiko but Neiko turned so fast that I guess Ace wasn't ready. Splat. Straight into the gate. Ace stumbled and looked at me. I'm laughing and so are the other two handlers. I think that set Ace off. He stood still until Neiko came running back towards him and then Ace jumped clean onto Neiko's back. America, I wish you all could have seen it. Neiko took a few steps before falling down to get Ace off his back. Funny scene to watch. Once I started to walk away, Ace ran back to the gate but as soon as Neiko came over, Ace didn't wast a second. Full speed chase was back on. #foolmeonce,justonce
So, I'm trying to ignore the dude but it isn't working....Normally I would be here wrestling with the dude Ace, but, I'm trying to get him to stop nipping....I'm at the desk, the dude keeps walking past, bumping me, a few times he nudged me but, I wouldn't give in. I know he wants to play so I pull out an old towel and try to get him into a game of tug-a-war. At first it was cool until dude tried to jump in my lap! So naturally, it's on! He goes on his back and I had to try to pin the dude. We must'be spent the last 10 minutes wrestling. Now he's laying down, sprawled out, tongue hanging and breathing like he just ran 10 miles. But it's not over. Every time I would go to get up, he comes jumping on me and wanting to go again. So we went again. I think he might be done. He's panting and drinking water but he keeps an eye on me every time I move! #1moreround
When Ace was playing with Hank, he would spread out like superman and army crawl to him. Ace would nibble on Hank's leg. Hank stood there as if he was being pampered. Then, Ace rolled over and Hank nibbled on Ace's paw. It was priceless.
Truth be told, I was scared to death America! I had Ace out just walking the tier to let him play with different people. I could hear Hank in one of the other cells barking his head off as he always does when people get near his door...what I didn't see was Hank's door open up! Ace took off on me and ran straight into the cell with Hank! My heart skipped a beat then fell out of my chest. Ace and Hank are fine together outside, but I've never seen them together in a cell or just indoors period. I went running into the cell and it was almost pitch black except for the glow of the TV. When I turned on the light, these two are both in a play bow. Ace is licking Hank’s face and your man Hank is wagging his tail 100 mph. All the other handler and I could do is look at each other and laugh. Oh, that's a thing now... Ace runs into Hank's cell just to say hi.
So uh, Ace decided to play anyway! I'm out back and Neiko just got his stitches removed. Neiko was roaming around the back cage minding his own business when Ace decides to play. I'm talking to Neiko's handler when I feel the leash jerk and I see Ace running full speed into the gate. Didn't affect the dude one bit. He hit the cage, jumps like he wants to dunk a basketball, and then takes off on me. But I'm not tripping... I waited before I opened the gate where Neiko was and naturally, Ace comes running and jumps on Neiko thinking it was playtime. Nope! I grabbed the leash and started walking the other way. The dude put the brakes on me! I mean he stops dead in his tracks and looks back at Neiko. That in itself was weird. They're just staring at each other. The look on his face was too much so we let them play for 5-10 minutes. #WhatIWant,IGet...
When one door closes, Ace finds another. Normally, Ace and Neiko would go to the yard and just run and play like there's no tomorrow, but Neiko can't play for a few days. So, we're out back and Ace and Neiko are side by side in the runs going crazy, running, jumping and screaming. At some point, Neiko started running in circles. Ace is watching with this weird look on his face. So on the way into the cell, we run into Hank. Normally Hank would be yelling his lungs out except for this time, Hank did a play bow. Ace looked at me then just takes off. I swear to you, these two played like they have known each other for their entire lives. Naturally, I let them do their thing. Plus I like to see Ace play with different dogs.
Did you ever hear the saying, You don't know what you have until it's gone?
Well listen... Ace was gone for about a week. Naturally, I would see the dude everyday but going from Neiko to Ace is like day and night. When I had Neiko, he just wanted to chill out. Now that I got Ace back, it's on! Ace wants to wrestle, play, and jump on anything that he can. He's only been back in the cell like 10-15 minutes and he's already pulled all of the blankets out of his cage, knocked over the water bowl twice, and now, right now, he's doing something weird under the bunk. Earlier, I tried to get him to chase the basketball and he just looked at it, turned his nose up, and ran back into the cell. When I looked in, the dude was trying to get into my cabinet. To most, it might sound like a lot, but that's just Ace. The funny thing is, I actually missed the dude...
So to the naked eye, it might look as if I'm teasing him. I promise you that I'm not. We're working on some self control exercises. I filled his bowl up with his regular meal, but this time I added a pack of mackeral. Normally he knows to sit and wait. I'm guessing the smell of the fish must have been too much. The dude kept creeping over to the bowl and licking the top. Then he looked at me and sat back down. So I moved the bowl closer to me and the dude goes under the bed, between my legs and comes flying out from under the bunk. He takes 2-3 mouthfuls and runs into the cage like he just pulled off the world's greatest caper. I moved the bowl again and put it right in front of the cage's door. I swear to you the dude has half of his body in the cage and the other half is mauling this bowl of food. I guess this is one of those things you have to see in order to realize how funny it really was. #NoControl
So this was unexpected. I'm taking my man, Ace Boogie, out back to get a little bit of exercise. We get out back and two other dogs are in the cages playing together. Tawny and Neiko. I didn't know that those two got along so well but anyway, Ace is going nuts. He was pulling and jumping around like he lost his mind so I took the dude into the cage next to Tawny and Neiko. America, listen to me, it was like having three children at the playground hyped up on candy and soda. Ace is jumping up like he's going to dunk a basketball. Tawny is rubbing up against the gate which is only getting Ace more hyped. Then Neiko starts chasing Tawny around and that engaged all three. So now they’re all running full speed into the gate, changing directions, and then running into the wall. If nothing else, at least they're all tired. #SleepWellAce
In my mind, I wanted to turn this into a trick. I wanted to name it, Hide, but things went and got weird fast...Normally, right after count time, I would take Ace outside then run around the tier for a minute practicing a couple of things and letting him socialize. But for tonight, I wanted to see if I could get Ace to jump into the laundry cart. As it turns out, getting him into the cart was the easy part. Getting him out, well, I ended up pushing the cart over on its side. The whole time dude was in the cart, he would jam his nose into the clothes and start biting down on whatever he could come up with. He had shirts, towels, what looked like an old sheet, and when I tried to grab it, he turned it into a game of tug-a-war so I took him for a ride. Once Ace felt the cart moving, things got real. He tried to jump out but couldn't push off of the clothes so finally, I tried putting the cart on its side so that he could walk out. Man, dude flew out of there so fast that his feet might not have touched the floor for 2 to 3 feet. Instead of running away, the dude grabbed a piece of the clothing and backed up, staring at me, so naturally I took it as a challenge. We were in this game of tug-a-war for 10 minutes. Once we had to lock in, I guess Ace wasn't ready. When I gave him the house cue, the weirdo looked at the door and bolted on me. Now I know he doesn't like to be left out so I enticed him with the shirt like I wanted to play. He got too close so I threw the shirt in the cage and he followed. Now he's looking at me as if he’s trying to ask me why I do that to him.
So, how do I explain this? The dude is willing to break out of the cage but if I leave him out, he will stay in the cell...I had to leave the block so I put him into the cage. A few days ago he figured out how to shake the cage and get the door open. So today when I got back, another handler told me how he had to chase Ace around the block because he had gotten out. I'm back now so I decided to see how he's getting out... I put him back into the cage. Nothing! I mean the dude didn't even try to get out. I let him out and left the door open while I went to hide on the other side of the block and waited to see him running around. Nope! He just stayed in. After five minutes or so, I creep back to the cell trying to catch him doing something, but the dude was just laying on the bed. I can't figure this out. I think he knew I was waiting on him. Is that even possible?
So tonight was bath night for my man Ace. I didn't give it to him...another handler did. The bath went fine. It was trying to dry him off that was the problem. Every time he would try to dry Ace off, he would grab the towel and turn it into a game of tug-of-war. I'm in the cell and I keep hearing, Ace out! So I walk to the shower area and see Ace giving them the complete business. He's pulling the towel, running away, and jumping. Ace went bananas on the dude. When I called Ace and said to leave it, he just dropped the towel and then let the other handler dry him off. As soon as I turned to let them resume, he went bananas. I told Ace to leave it and he lets go again. Yep, you guessed it... I turned to leave and Ace goes right back at it. After two or three times, I guess the dude just gave in because he spent the next 10 minutes just playing tug-of-war with Ace Boogie. #Spoiled
So one of the other handlers decided it would be funny to take Ace and Neiko out in the snow. No problem. These two were having the time of their lives. They must’ve been playing for almost an hour but once the fun ended, it was on! I guess Ace wasn’t done playing with Neiko so on the entire walk back, he would try to engage Neiko. Once we got back on the block, I let him off leash in Neiko’s cell. Man, Ace went bonkers! He was in the cabinet, the boxes...dude even jumped into the handler’s bed. He was snowy and muddy leaving paw prints everywhere. All I heard was the other handler are saying off. So I turn the corner and Ace is half on his bed and half on the cage trying to get to the bucket of treats. All I could do was laugh. Oh yeah, I got him those treats.
So we were working on self control this week... With that said, I take homeboy out in the day room and he’s doing super good until he sees some guy digging into his pocket. After awhile, most of the dogs here start to realize that when someone is digging into their pockets, treats usually follow. So anyway, I got homeboy in a sit/stay then I would walk away for a few seconds before walking back. He was doing so good that I decided to extend it...Wrong move. I’m at the end of the tier watching this whole thing unfold. Ace is by the water fountain, chilling, when some guy walks by and puts his hand in his pocket. I could see my man struggling with his decision as he slowly creeps over to the guy. Once Ace realized that dude didn’t have any treats, he creeps back to the water fountain, looks around then sits. I walked down to him and he gets all pumped up and excited like he won an award. It was as if I didn’t see him creep away... I gave him a few treats before walking away only to turn around and see that he’s back sniffing at the dude’s pocket! #PayMe
If you want to, try it. I did and Ace got me! First, you have to get Ace all worked up and then you have to try to get him to relax right away. Just so you know, Ace isn't with that! Once you push that button, it's go time! So, it's snowing and I have the creep outside just letting him run around. I would get Ace to chase me and then stop and try to get him to sit. At first we were good, but after doing this 5-6 times, Ace was done with it. I was standing still for about a minute and Ace was sitting in front of me with his tongue hanging out and a smile on his face before trying to engage me to play again. He would paw at me and lick my hand, but I ignored him which turned out to be the wrong move... Dude just got up and took off running around me in circles and that's when it happened and he got me. His leash wrapped around my legs and when I tried to take a step, as you might imagine, I took a spill instead. The sad part is that Ace tried to keep on running while I was down! With friends like that, who needs enemies? So then I started flicking snow in his face and the dude started playing with the snow. Meanwhile, my entire back is all wet and muddy. So again, try it. Ace will win every time. #TwoSpeeds-OffAndOn
The funny thing about having a dog is that it’s almost like having a 2-3 year old stuck in the cell with you. I was messing with Ace because I could tell he was bored so we started a game of tug-of-war. We were cool for the first 10 minutes or so, but then it was time for dayroom and I stepped out of the cell. I was only out for 3 seconds, 3 SECONDS, when Ace decided to jump the crate gate door and take off on me. He would only run up to the end of the block though and come right back once I called him. Another handler and I decided to turn it into a game where I would call him and take off running to the opposite end of the block and the other handler would do the same. This lasted for about 5-10 minutes until dude got tired...or so we thought. I put him back in the cell and went out to play ping pong when all of a sudden people are laughing and yelling, “Ace Boogie just broke out.” So now people are playing with him and he’s getting more and more hyper. I was chasing the dude around the table (running full speed I might add) while he jumped on and off the table until we finally got him cornered. I swear to you America, dude had a smile on his face with his tongue hanging out. I didn't lock him back in because I figured he would be bored so why not just let him hang out? I let him chill under the table while I finished my game. #PlayByPlay
So dig it, I got “Ace Boogie”, (his jailhouse nickname) out on the tier doing normal things like walking back and forth, going up and down the steps, jumping the tables, working on stays, and other basic commands. Dude was doing super good. I put him in a stay position and walked to the opposite end of the block. Normally I could say,“Ace, Go home,” and he would take off back to our cell but not this time though... Maybe the dude was just confused? See Ace and I live in a corner cell so normally I would have him facing our side of the block, but this time I had him on the other end. Anyway I say, “Ace, Go home,” from a “sit-stay,” and dude jumps up and takes off full speed into the wrong cell!! Oh yeah, I panicked!!! He runs straight into the cell and I run like the wind after him...Man, I get to the cell where Neiko lives and they're in there having a blast! They're on the bed wrestling around while Neiko's handler didn't skip a beat. He was just laying there like nothing happened. So I let the dude, Ace, stay there for a bit. When I took him back to my cell, the creepy dude, Neiko, just walked with us! #FriendsToTheEnd
So I, well we, decided to take Ace and Neiko outside again but this time off leash. I wasn’t too worried because Ace isn’t dog aggressive, just noisy! First off, Neiko is a totally different dog when he goes out. He runs, plays, jumps around and just has a blast. So anyways, we must have been outside for 5-10 minutes while I watched Ace and Neiko chase each other around. Then, I turned around for 2 seconds only to turn back to see that Ace allowed Neiko to mount him! Neiko had his tennis ball in his mouth and Ace had this, “Get this dude off me,” look on his face while the other handler was laughing his heart out. I yelled, “Neiko, no,” and then they both took off running. After a few minutes, both of them decided to take a mud bath! I mean covered from head to toe in mud. When it was time to go in, Ace decided to run full speed into Neiko which forced him to chase Ace around again. I’m sure they both planned this. They went running straight back to the puddle of mud and just rolled around in it…He got that one, but he still had to get a bath.
So I take my man, Ace, outside to get some fresh air and exercise. We ran into Neiko and Harry. Neiko gets along with Ace, but Harry is a moody little dude. While Ace and Neiko were playing, Harry was going bonkers! He was yelling, screaming, lunging, and just bugging out. So his handler tells me that Harry wants to play with Ace. We went over and Ace froze up at first. Harry was licking his face and I started getting nervous. Ace sat down and let Harry jump all over him until it happened...Ace hits Harry with what can only be described as an “over-hand right” then takes off. Ace was running like his life depended on it while Harry tried to keep up with his little legs. He wasn’t fast enough. Ace decided to stop and let Harry catch up. Ace hit him with another jab and took off again. We were all laughing so hard at this point. When Ace was leashed up later on, Harry came over and jumped all over him. They both just laid down for a minutes then. #OddCouple
This is just weird! I had Ace on the tier chasing the ball and everything was cool until I bounced it... I would roll it down the tier to the other handler and Ace would chase it down. Every time he would get it, I would reward the dude. After a few times, he started getting weird. Once I would roll the ball, he would just jump up and down about 5-6 times then chase it. So I decided to change it up by picking up the ball and dribbling it. The dude takes off in full speed in the opposite direction. I rolled the ball towards Ace and he jumps over the ball and comes running to me. So another handler rolls the ball back to me and Ace sees it and literally tries to jump up into my arms. He missed and went splat into the wall. He hopped up and went running down the tier. I was laughing but then I saw my man, Ace, trying to peek around the water fountain so now we have to get rid of the ball.
So I handle Ace now...his handler went home. Right now, we’re just trying to figure each other out. I’ll set a limit and Ace will push it to the max. First, I let the dude roam around the cell and every time he gets near the outlet or toilet, I would tell him NO. At first, it seemed to work until I left the cell for two seconds! I came back and Ace is up on the table with his nose buried in my bowl which was empty to begin with. I didn’t say anything and just stood in the doorway. I guess I really startled him when I said off. Dude jumps down and goes straight into his crate. I didn’t say or do anything. I wanted him to come back out, but he laid down and stared at me. Maybe he’s upset he got caught?
My last week with Ace didn’t involve much training as I spent these last few days just hanging out and enjoying having him around. Ace is a very sweet dog and he is very fun to be with because he will always do something to make you laugh although it isn’t always funny when you’re trying to work with him. Ha ha. Ace will be Ace though and that’s what makes him so great. Hopefully his day will come soon too and he gets the forever home he deserves. In the meantime, Ace is here and even though it isn’t the greatest place to be, it’s better than where he was and that’s what’s important. He’s no longer neglected and he’s able to be around someone which is really all he wants. Ace loves everyone and everyone loves him so it’s only a matter of time until he gets his chance.
As for this week, we went to the gym on Saturday morning and had a great time. Ace loves it there and is so happy running around being a dog. It’s really nice to see how he interacts with everyone, especially the staff member whom he shadows and follows around. I take toys along, but he really doesn’t care about them though. He just wants to mingle and eat treats from the guys we are there with… Ace and Hank got together this week in an attempt to work on their reaction towards each other. They play but are very reactive when they see each other and can’t out of frustration so that’s a work in progress. Like always, Ace and Gracie had their fair share of time together doing what they do. I remember when Gracie would only play for a few seconds before being done so it’s nice to see how far she’s come with Ace and how much she likes him now.
Well, it’s 4:12 AM and I am trying to pass the time by writing this, but I’m a little too excited to focus on anything. Haha. Before I end this, I just want to thank everyone involved for the opportunity to be apart of this program and wish everyone the best moving forward. It’s been a long time and I appreciate everything this program has done for me over the years, but it’s time to move on so this is it. Soon, I’ll be reunited with my family and the very first dog that I trained in here back in 2010. Hopefully she remembers me....
Ace wasn’t able to go to the gym this week, but we were more active than the last few weeks because we were able to spend more time outside. Ace and Gracie play well together so of course they had their time, but we also worked on them not playing and being able to just co-exist and listen. Ace did great as we worked in proximity and even when he started to drift towards her, I was able to call him back easily… He also played with Neiko and while doing so, shared a tennis ball which is great. There was even a point where they both had it in their mouth... I’m still working on “sit pretty” but it isn’t a cue yet. He’ll only do it when lured so I just have to continue drilling it. The same goes with roll over as I attempt to turn that into him being able to wrap himself up in a blanket. He will roll over and grab the blanket with his mouth but not together though. Using a treat doesn’t work because he’ll drop the blanket and fixate on what’s in my hand instead so I don’t know if this trick will happen.
The extended holiday weekend made this a long, boring week that wasn’t helped by the weather outside. Ace is not a fan of the elements unless he’s playing with Gracie so we didn’t spend too much time out and about except for Sunday when he enjoyed playing in the mud. We did make the most of this week by doing things in the cell though. He knows all of the basics so I’ve been working on “sit pretty” with him in an attempt to have him sit up like a prairie dog. Six seconds is the longest I’ve been able to get him to hold the stance, but that’s with a lure so hopefully I’ll be able to get him to do it on cue soon... Ace shook out of his leash again but more importantly, he didn’t run away and came right to me. I don’t know how he does it but even though it isn’t intentional, he does and I’m just waiting for the day when he doesn’t listen and runs around the prison. Haha.
Our week began with a snowstorm that Ace wasn’t too fond of. I had hoped that he would be, but I’m not surprised because he doesn’t like rain or the cold weather so Thursday was eventful to say the least. I knew as soon as we went outside and the snow was falling that he didn’t want any parts of it so our time outside was gonna be short lived. We went out front and Ace wasted no time using the bathroom before pulling for the sidewalk that was cleared. He couldn’t get there though because I was cleaning up his mess which was annoying for obvious reasons. While doing so with him pulling, he shook his head because of the snow falling and all of the sudden the tension that I once felt in the leash was gone. Come to find out, so was Ace. Haha. The leash came unhooked when he shook and Ace went right to the sidewalk and ran off leaving me standing there with a bag full of poop in my hand. Surprisingly enough, I called him and he stopped at the top of the sidewalk and came running right back to me! I’ve never been more proud of him because even though he’s friendly, I envisioned him running off trying to meet everyone who was out walking around at the time. He didn’t though so it ended up being a funny story to tell instead of an adventure... Ace also went to the gym again this week and had fun. He is very well behaved after the initial outburst of excitement which is understandable.
Once again, there really isn’t much to write about this week other than two field trips. On Friday, we walked around the jail and visited two blocks, but it was all literally dampened by the rain. The following morning Ace went to the gym and even though we were locked down, we got to stay. I like when that happens because it’s the closest thing to being in a home in here for Ace. There’s only a handful of people there and he can just relax as though we were in a home environment. He did great aside from his initial burst of excitement and behaved really, really well. He spent the morning mingling and checking in with everyone as we did a little bit of work and hung out. Everyone loves him and can’t wait until this Saturday when we’ll hopefully do it again.
There really isn’t anything to write about this week because there wasn’t much done. A lockdown on Saturday prevented his trip to the gym and the rain over the past few days limited our time outside so for the most part, we just hung out. Ace did go on a field trip around the prison on Friday afternoon though where he finally got up close and personal with the Gator utility vehicle. For whatever reason, it’s a trigger for him and he doesn’t seem to be scared of it so I suppose he reacts out of excitement based on his past experience/association. He got the chance to hop in and go for a brief ride while also getting to investigate it and explore. All he really wanted to do was bite at the tires. I don’t know what his fascination is with it, but it peaks his interest to say the least.
Ace went on his first field trip around the prison this week and did really well. He was relatively unfazed by all the different people and places we went to so the fact that he wasn’t overwhelmed with excitement was a good sign of the progress he’s making. He was well behaved and listened everywhere we went so we are looking forward to continuing to build off his improvements. We went to the gym again, but this time we were in the weight room where we stayed back in a caged off area while people worked out. Before everyone came though, he had the run of the place and enjoyed exploring everything. The best thing about that morning was how well behaved he was off leash with the handful of us that he is used to. His jumping and mouthing has decreased significantly from the beginning which is great because that’s his biggest issue. After the weight room, we went back to the gym to finish setting up for the game and ended up playing around on the court. While doing so, Ace went down on the other end and used the bathroom as if we weren’t just outside. I thought he was going to the other end to take a shot with the ball! Haha
Ace had a busy week so there is a lot to write about and I’ll begin with the addition of two new dogs that he got to meet. Ace is great with other dogs so he’s perfect for initial introductions and did well welcoming Harry and Neiko. It took Neiko a bit of time to warm up to Ace, but they’re OK now and will get better moving forward as Neiko gets comfortable and tempers his excitement… Hank isn’t a new dog, but he is a new friend. They are over whatever differences they had and now play together. In fact, they throw tantrums when we are out and they don’t play. Ha ha… Ace’s trip to the gym this week went great and we had a lot of fun on Saturday morning. There were just five of us around and Ace spent hours exploring and keeping us company. He already knows where we are going when we are inside the gym so he leads us while looking back to make sure we are coming. He’s also built quite the bond with the staff and Ace cries when he drops us off and walks away.
Ace went on a field trip with a volunteer and did well from what I am told. He had a vet visit too. I was super happy to hear how well behaved he was for the vet and how he handled some of the tests his training was put through during the visit. He listened and was well mannered while another dog acted up so I am very, very pleased with his progress.
Ace went on another trip to the gym this week and did great. He even ran a lap around the field next to a guy and to my surprise did so perfectly which was kind of disappointing in a way though. I say that because we were looking forward to some antics during the run, but Ace jogged right beside him and behaved the entire time... Also this week, we begun trying to desensitize him towards the utility vehicles. Needless to say, it’s a work in progress but we will figure something out and continue to try different things. Thankfully, Ace doesn’t respond this way with regular cars and trucks.
Ace learned “Bang” this week and has been doing well with the other handlers who work with him. He knows all the basic commands and now we are just trying to generalize the training so that he listens to anyone, anywhere. Distractions are a challenge, but he’ll get there in time. I’ve started using treats this week now that he knows everything and that will help keep his attention and focus around distractions. Ace is very, very motivated by food, but he is doing great with his self control. He is like my shadow so he’s always around no matter what, but I can eat without him bothering me which is a big deal for him. He did something really funny though that I wish could have been on video because words can’t do it justice. While I was sitting on the edge of the bed eating crackers, he was sitting right beside me at my feet. He wasn’t begging me or anything like that and in fact, he was behaving perfectly as I reached into the sleeve of saltines that was sitting on the desk in front of me. As I did, Ace sat there without moving and watched intently as the cracker moved from the desk to my mouth. During this time, Ace would half heartedly open his mouth hoping that I’d put it in his. Ha ha… I did treat him, but not with the cracker.
This week Ace went to the gym with me on Saturday morning again, but this time we spent the entire morning there. Escorted by staff along with a few workers, we got there around 7:30am and spent a good hour exploring the place before activities started. Ace was as curious as you’d expect him to be. He followed us around inspecting everything. He even found a new best friend—a staff member who he seemed to be attached to at the hip. There were six of us in total for the first hour and Ace did great meeting and greeting everyone without acting too much like a puppy. He was off leash and happy to be there just like we were happy to have him there. He listened very well and left a great impression so we are looking forward to doing it as often as possible. The activity for the morning was a flag football game out in the big yard so I wasn’t able to let him run free, but he still enjoyed being out there with us as we stood in the corner of the end zone to film the game. All in all, it was a great morning that ended with Ace crying for the staff to come back after he dropped us off.
Ace’s stays are coming along nicely to the point where I can have him stay in one corner of the area out front and walk to the opposite corner. He even does that with a few dogs and people around so that’s impressive for him. He saw his first groundhog and reacted, but the good news is that he did pretty good with redirecting his focus. Trucks are another story though. Ha ha. Ace also spent an afternoon with another handler in their cell and did good. He didn’t raid his cabinet so that’s a victory in itself, but he also listened and behaved like he had some sense after the initial excitement of it.
Ace is continuing to settle in nicely and is proving to be very trainable as he becomes more comfortable. He is still very excitable and always will be, but that’s an endearing personality trait that makes him so fun to be around. There’s never a dull moment with him because he’s bound to do something to make you laugh although that depends on who you are. My cabinet wasn’t the one he pillaged last week. Ha ha. Speaking of which, he hasn’t done anything like that this week nor has he ever tried to with me. I think he only did that because he was upset about being away, but who knows why he did it...
As for his training, a couple of the other handlers have been working with him and he’s been responding really well to them. The only trick that he’s learned so far is shake, but there will be more to come once he gets a little more domesticated. Ha ha. Right now, the focus is on the basics like sit, down, stay, watch me, and recalls which he is doing great with for everyone, not just me. He is also doing well around some of the typical distractions that exist on a daily basis and isn’t as scattered as he was initially. He’s fine with a few dogs and handlers around, but the big issue was and still is vehicles. Whether it’s the delivery trucks, gators, or the medical cart, he loses it when he sees them and will even hear them before they are in sight. I’m not sure how to desensitize him from that, but hopefully we will figure something out though.
Ace continues to be friends with all of the dogs except for Hank. Over the weekend, Ace and Dexter played for a good half hour which shocked me because that’s not really Dexter‘s thing. He likes Ace though and that’s good because Ace needs all the exercise he can get. Also this week, Ace got the chance to go to the gym with me, but it was short-lived because we ended up getting locked down. We’ll get to do it again this weekend though so hopefully it all works out and he can have some fun.
Ace’s second week has been a productive one as he begins to settle in and get comfortable with his new surroundings. Everything outside of the cell is still new and exciting to him so he is understandably distracted by all the sights and sounds, but he’ll get used to it all in time. As he does, I work on things such as watch me, touch, and recalls to help improve his focus while we are out walking around. He is doing well with those things but when he sees or hears a vehicle, he fixates on it and ignores the world so a lot of work needs to be done there... As far as commands go, he’s learned all the basics and is perfect when there isn’t any distractions so I just have to continue to 'drill' him over and over when we are outside. He is very excitable and energetic so with plenty of exercise and constant training, he will be fine. To help generalize his training and help with his manners, other handlers have been working with him too and he’s been very receptive to them. Over the weekend, we had Ace off leash in one of the dog runs and we were calling him back-and-forth where he would not only come when called but also sit automatically before getting a reward. He still tends to jump, but he is actually doing really well with staying on the ground and getting attention during meet and greets. For the most part, I keep his meet and greets limited to just the handlers and others who know what we are doing so that his bad manners aren’t reinforced. Ace also got to meet the other dogs this week and had no issues in doing so. Hank doesn’t like Ace, but the rest of them are OK with him. He plays well with Gracie until she’s had enough and loses interest. Penny will play around for a little bit until she gets tired. Believe it or not though, Reggie seems to have taken a liking to Ace and they have the potential to be friends. Ace has yet to show any signs of resource guarding and is doing great with his food and toys. When it’s time to eat, he places and stays until I tell him OK. He eats as though he’s never been fed before, but he allows me to pet him and will even leave his bowl when called. He plays with all the toys and knows the drop it command so he’s beginning to like playing fetch. Even when he’s playing by himself, I have had no issues removing the toy. In doing so, I reward him and return the toy so guarding shouldn’t become an issue for him.
Ace is a very sweet and lovable dog who came to us after a rough, neglected life where he was chained up. He’s rescued now so there’s no reason to speak on his past other than to say that as hard as it was, it hasn’t ruined him and he will soon be ready to be adopted into a forever home. All Ace needs is to learn some manners which is really just a matter of time. He’s yet to be introduced to the other dogs, but he’s shown no issues from afar and wants to meet them badly so in time he will. He hasn’t met too many people either, but he wants to and it went well with the people he has met so far with the exception of his manners. Ace is a little too eager to greet you and will jump in excitement. He also tends to mouth you while you pet him, but all of that is expected given his past. All he wants is your attention and since he’s been neglected in that regard, it’s not a surprise that he doesn’t know how to handle it. He’ll get plenty of it in here though so he’ll learn soon enough and will calm down.... As far as his training goes, I wouldn’t say that he knows anything other than sit, but he is beginning to understand some of the other commands I’ve been working with him on. Being outside around dogs he wants to meet but hasn’t combined with the relatively new environment makes his focus hard to gain for the time being, but he’ll get used to it all in time. In the cell, I have his undivided attention and he’s doing really well with everything. He is taking treats much nicer than he was, but he still needs reminded at times. He is doing good with his crate training and has no problem being in there. He’ll even go in on his own from time to time. He acts like he’s never been fed before, but he has learned SOME manners. He knows that when it’s time to eat, he has to go to a certain spot, sit, and wait before devouring his food. He could potentially guard it, but he hasn’t yet and my focus is on preventing that issue. He has a decent grasp on 'touch' and 'down' and his 'stay' is coming along as well. He likes to play ball and is beginning to play fetch with me as he learns how to drop it. All in all, Ace is a great dog who needs some time and patience to teach him how to behave. He will be fine soon enough and will be a great dog for someone and their family.