Saturday, December 18, 2010

Training Log for Dec 18

Been a while! But we’re back now. I realized yesterday that it is only three weeks before our trip to Ameland, and there were some things I wanted to practice with Luna before that time. Today, we got started.

First I explained to her the ‘Sit’ whistle, or rather a ‘Place’ whistle because I’ll accept a Down too. So long as at least her butt’s on the ground, that’s good. And I know, if she’s really into it, she’ll Down. So, fine! Installing the whistle up close was a breeze, now we’re just working on getting her to respond immediately at a distance without coming toward me or needing a hand signal as a back-up. Besides that though, she did a good job!

Next, we moved on to retrieves. I decided to try some double retrieves, with two dummies relatively close to each other so that she would have to go back to the same spot to get the 2nd dummy. This was hard. She needed me to walk with her toward the general location, and I had to toss the 2nd dummy again twice. I don’t think her motivation was the issue though, which is a good sign, but rather the fact that the dummies got swallowed by 7 inches of snow. And sniffing them out seems to be quite a task. So, although we LOVE the snow, I do hope it’ll melt before our due date, or we won’t be able to practice retrieves! Oh well... At least by then we will have a Come- and a Sit whistle! Yay!

Other than that, we had a blast running through the snow, playing with a ball - see above image - and enjoying the outdoors.

On the food front; she’s been on the pre-ground raw mix now for two weeks and she’s doing great on it! Also, I bought a little less than 2 pounds of cheese as treats, and the thing isn’t even half used yet, so that means it actually lasts way longer than I thought it would. Nice!

I haven’t weighed her since, but I will do that in the next few days.

What else? Um.... well, we’ve been playing ball on the days I don’t have to walk our old Westie as well, and she’s very happy about that. I no longer have her Stay until the ball lays still, but I will not throw the ball until she stops and looks at me to see where it will go. This way, she doesn’t make weird moves trying to catch the ball in mid-flight, she slows down nicely before picking it up off the ground. Good girl!

I’ve also been letting her carry the ball when we encounter other dogs, as this has, in the past, helped very well in keeping her calm rather than throwing a fit at the other dog. When holding the ball, she’ll just high-step trot right past the dog and stop on the other side; ‘Will you kick my ball mom?’ I’ve noticed that I do have to insist she hold on to it, because if she lays down and releases the ball, the next step is that she’ll run up to the other dog, screams in its face and then runs back to get her ball and move on. It’s funny, in a way, but not good.

And I’ve decided to do some Bar Open - Bar Closed with other dogs as well; continuous feeding when we see another approaching dog, and then the feeding stops when the other dog is far enough away. That’s gonna cost me more cheese, but all the better if that means eventually she can Sit and be calm as a default, when other dogs show up. I’d like to get her to the point where she doesn’t need a ball in her mouth - which is really just management - but just go; ‘oh, a dog, look ma, I’m Sitting and looking at you!’ That would be nice.

Anyone has other ideas?

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