Saturday, November 27, 2010

Training Log for Nov 27

This morning we worked on Sit, Stand, Down at a distance, and Front on the street in front of the house.

This afternoon we took the dummybag to the driest field we have close by, as mud and consequently a very hard to clean black dog is not my idea of fun. We live on clay here, and wet clay sucks. ;-)

On the way to the field, about a 15-minute walk, we worked on Sits and Downs at a distance while Luna was trotting and running ahead of me. She did great! And the coolest thing I’ve discovered is that I can now say ‘Sit’ and she’ll sit without any sign of avoidance or discomfort. ‘Sit’ is our traditionally trained word for the Sit, and before, when I would use it, she’d sink into a sit, yawn and look away. Or worse, she’d lay down. Now, she gets the ‘yay, she asks me to do something!’-face and she does a perky Sit with no more yawning or looking away. Whoohoo! Took about a year to get to this point, but now I can clearly see that Sit=Fun hugely outweighs the Sit=Bad association. Classical Conditioning at its best!

Now, she will occasionaly still lay down instead of Sit, but that’s clearly an ‘I’m SURE you want me to Down’ rather than a sign of avoidance or feeling intimidated. In other words, it’s because she’s not listening to the cue.

On the field, we first did dummy retrieves. The first was simply the dog sitting at heel, tossing a dummy out ahead of us, and asking her to retrieve it. Repeated that another time. Then, I asked her to Sit, walked about 15 feet away, then tossed a dummy to the right. Asked her to come to me, turned to face the dummy and sent her to retrieve it from a Sit at heel. Repeated the same exercise with a dummy thrown to the left.

Then, I again placed her in a Sit, walked 15 feet away, tossed a dummy to the left and one to the right. Called her to me, lined her up and sent her to retrieve the 1st thrown dummy. She remembered it and went out in a nice straight line at good speed. Once she brought in the first dummy, I lined her up with the 2nd dummy and asked her to get that one. Again, success!

The last exercise I put her in a Sit, walked 15 feet away, tossed one dummy behind me and one to the right. First, I asked her to retrieve the one on the right, and then I turned with her toward the dummy behind me, and asked her to get it. She did it! Whoohoo! And, another thing worth mentioning, she delivered every retrieve right into my hand. Good girly!

With that, we quit the dummy retrieves and I tossed her ball a few times. Then, we spent some time playing with the ball, doing Leave It’s as I tossed it, throwing it as a reward for Sits, Downs and Stands, and I tried to get her to ‘speak’ by feigning to kick the ball a few times and saying ‘Whatdaya say?’ This gets her all revved up and every time she barked once, I kicked the ball. Great fun!

Then, I put the ball about 30 feet away and laid a track of kibble every two feet toward the ball while Luna held a Down Stay. Then I asked her to come and use her nose. She wanted to go straight for the ball, but then she caught scent of the kibble and put her nose to the grass. Yay! By the time she got to the ball she was so engrossed in finding the kibble that I had to tell her to get the ball, haha!

To finish, I laid a second track on pavement while Luna held a Sit Stay, about 40 feet with kibble every two feet. She did this one nicely again, overshot some of the kibble but then went back to collect it. She was a bit scattered throughout, so next time I’ll lay the track as Steve White does, which in the beginning is just a line of non-stop treats. He also uses water, which we might do too.

Then, on the way back home, we ran into a friend with a German Shepherd and we ended up going along on her walk, so all in all we had two hours of activity! Nice!

The picture shows Luna on her 2nd birthday, my little wolf! ;-)

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