Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A break, a Gundog training camp, a flu, and now this.

Our room on the island.
That sums up what the past weeks have looked like.

From January 9-16 I was away, spending 8 days on one of the beautiful Dutch islands. We went for wonderful walks on the beach and in the forest, we spent 5 days playing around with retrieves, and when we got home I immediately got the flu. Yay!

Today I decided this quiet had lasted long enough, so here's an update!

Our Whistle Sit is not yet ready for use, I think. She still needs the second cue of seeing my hand signal after the whistle. Somewhere these next few days I'll get back to the drawing board for that one, and get my whistle out of the dummy bag in the shed out front.

Luna on the beach on the one nice day we had.
Next, our Gundog training week. This was extremely interesting, as I had a completely different dog this time, even though I've been there five times already and last time was also the Gundog workshop. Hmmm.... Luna was very impressed by the people and by growliness from the other dogs, to the point where she hid behind me, shivering. What the...?!

If I wanted to send her out to do a retrieve, I nearly had to talk her through every step, even though she was immensely proud and happy every time she found one and brought it back to me. So pretty soon my plan for the week was not so much to let Luna figure out how to find the dummy, but my plan became; find the dummy, no matter how much I need to help you. Because I saw that finding and bringing back a dummy made her feel great, and I knew that if she came back with nothing every time, she'd quickly loose interest. That worked, somewhat. She found all the dummy's, brought back all the dummy's, but all from a distance of no more than, say, 100 feet, depending on the shape of the terrain and whether she could see the dummy or not. When she was sent out with other dogs at the same time, she promptly came back and said, 'mommy, HELP! They're gonna eat me!'

So, yeah... that was interesting. The trainer said that Luna was using her 'Bambi act' to not need to do the work, but I couldn't agree with that. Luna has never in her life said, 'I don't WANT to do that'. Now, to me, she was clearly saying, 'I'm not sure I'm supposed to be doing this, is this OK?' And as the week progressed, she needed less and less cues from me in order to get the dummy.

Luna and I watch the friend we traveled with, and her black Lab.
Now I'm thinking... go to the Gundog workshop again with the specific goal of explaining to her that other people and other dogs and what they are doing are not her concern, or just leave it at this and not go there again. I mean, in our normal, everyday life, we do not encounter these issues, and then I wonder what the purpose is in trying to solve them just for this one week a year. I'll be thinking about this for a while to come...

Other than that, the weather was very wet and windy most days, so I didn't get to make a lot of pictures and film.

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