We've been at this for a month. Monster is a very sweet, VERY smart dog. He's got all of his basic commands, and even though he doesn't like it, will stay on command, whether I leave his sight now or not.
We still go for at least 1 working outing a day, focusing, mainly, on his behavior in public venues, especially where there are a lot of sights/sounds/smells, like Walmart or the mall. He always does very well when it is just the 2 of us, and has only a little trouble focusing when Sam or the kids are with me. They equate to "play time" for him, so sometimes he wants to jump up, which isn't allowed unless we are at home. But over all, he is doing beautifully.
I have really begun working with him on opening automatic doors with him, teaching him to press the button to activate them, then return to me. It's a work in progress, but I am pleased with his work toward it.
Monster seems to understand that he needs to make sure I don't get too close to the edge of a curb when we are waiting for traffic. He is putting himself between me and the edge. This is not something I have taught him, it seems to be instinctive, after I stumbled down one as we were leaving Walmart one evening.
We are still only in the office together 2 days out of the week. Last week I asked him t odo 3 days because the apartment complex was resurfacing the parking lot and I would not be able to get to him at lunch time. 3 days was a little much and he was getting antsy by day 3. We'll stick to 2 days for another month or two, hten try 3 days again. I still get questions about where he is when I don't have in teh office.
At home, Monster still jumps up on Sam and the kids, but won't jump up on me. He still wiggles all over the place and licks like crazy, but he will not jump up unless I tell him "paws." That is good. But I need the rest of the family to stop encouraging hime to jump up without a command so that he won't do it to visitors. Another work in progress.
We did have 1 incident where I had to dominate Monster. We were visiting a friend's house. Monster would not stop being hard headed and would not obey basic commands. So I grabbed him and put him on the ground, holding him there until I got his belly. Then I "stood" on all 4's over him for a couple of minutes more, before petting him and telling him I loved him. Since then, he does not challenge me and obeys every command I give him, right away. The rest of the family has yet to take pack placement that far, but they haven't had a need to do it, either. They know what to do. They just haven't had to do it.
Sam is taking to his training very well. He is finally learning not to try to walk ahead of me when we have Monster working with me out in public. It was confusing Monster, so I asked him to walk at my right side or slightly in back. He's listening to me on that now. Sam is also starting to learn the directional commands we use when handling Monster's lead. He has 4 directions;
This Way: right
Let's go: forward
Back up: backwards
As long as we all stick to those directions, Monster walks perfectly well on teh lead. But if you mix them up, he sits down and waits until you figure out where you want to go and give him a command he understands. So, if I tell him "let's go" and try to turn either right or left, he will stop and sit. Pretty smart, training his trainer! LOL
Monster is also really growing fast and starting t odevelop thos beautiful, full strong shoulder, neck and chest muscles that are exactly the ones he needs to be able to help me balance, or help pull me to safety or standing. He is going to be an absolutely gorgeous animal! With the softest, warmest, sweetest, most expressive eyes I have ever seen. You know exactly what Monster is thinking/feeling by the look in his eyes.
He is making friends at the dog park and has a couple of them whom he loves to see when we go. One is Max, an American Bull Dog. She is 95 pounds and a few inches taller. Monster should grow t obe about her size. They run and wrestle all over the dog park when they are together. It is so much fun to watch! Then there is Icy. She is a baby pit who thinks she is a big dog. Monster plays very well with her, and seems to be letting her "win" from time to time, by lying on the ground and letting her get his ears. He also has Wally, a border collie who loves to play chase, and Brax, an American bull dog/pit mix wjho is teaching Monster to play fetch. We all manage to meet up for a couple of hours son Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings.
At home, Monster used to try to sleep between Sam and me, but he has quickly out grown that space. So he starts the evening off on the bed with us, but when he is ready to sleep, he has an old body pillow on the floor next to my side of the bed that he has claimed. I can put my foot out and pet him any time I want to, and do several times a night, so we are both happy.
Since Logan has mostly moved out and we set up the den, Monster has claimed one side of the futonm sofa, Oni has claimed the sunny spot on the book case, and Nickie has claimed the purple mushroom chair. Cally stays on the sofa in the living room. That the cats and dog are finding common space and living together peacefully is great.
Monster still doesn't seem to have much of a prey instinct, and will still give up anything you try to get him to play tug-a-war with. He also won't try to stop anyone from getting into his food bowl, even if he is eating from it at the time. Nickie has been known to share Monster's dinner with him, from time to time, and everyone shares both water bowls, no matter who is in them at the time.
His growl and bark are changing. The growl is getting much deeper, though also shorter. It is just a quick warning. His bark has started to go from the puppy "arf" to the "big dog" "Woof!" It's getting a little intimidating. He is also learning not to bark when a neighbor goes in or out og their own gate. He's really coming along.
I really love this furry person we brought into the family. Sam really loves him too. Life with Monster is going to be very good. He is a wonderful animal and there is no question that he loves us as much as we love him. I can't thank God or Sam enough for bringing the 2 of us together.