Thursday, June 16, 2011

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! No… Wait!

It’s just my dogs.  They’re as high as kites. Sorry about that.

But that’s what happens when you take a mini break from showing and hard core training; nutty animals start bouncing all over, screaming in the yard, running amuck, knocking things over and tearing things up.

R&R. Good for people, difficult for doggies, impossible for living spaces.
So in the interest of ear drums and peace worldwide, I finally took the dogs out for some fun yesterday.  We went early as I could see the impending line of DOOM on the weather map rolling its way over to the area.  Apparently the frequent rains this year have turned me into a weather vane or Farmer’s Almanac because while it did hit us, I had already packed up and gotten us settled back in the car singing Ke$ha songs before the first drop hit.   

But before I predicted the weather, we got some excellent training in. Very basic stuff for all last night. I started with The Dog on her plank work.   Set-up took some major trial and error- I couldn’t figure out why she kept blasting everywhere but the board- mega DUH- the plank was nestled in between weaves and teeter and I was telling her “GO” so off she went to go do something, not focusing at all on the board.  So I knocked the other stuff over and stuck a jump out as a target in front of Marvin. That worked pretty well; worked even better when I told her to ‘walk it’ and worked best when I rewarded after all was said and done with The Ball.   

Here’s a VIDEO! (I bought a cute little external hard drive so my laptop could barf up all my data onto THAT instead of the living room. Now I have space again and that means VIDEOS!!!) Thoughts and suggestions entirely welcome.

I love that you can see her picking up speed as this goes along; that’s recordable progress if you ask me.  I rewarded a LOT last night- still care far more about her running the board than much else- and I am glad I did. I rewarded a few that originally look bad to me, but on video looked pretty good.  And she obviously improved as we went on so something is getting through here.  Very happy. 

And it doesn’t seem to have killed her normal dogwalk- I took her over a few and they were ok. ButI can’t have expectation for this weekend. I think the key with her is to minimize the amount she does (repetition isn’t our friend without intense reward) and try to replicate what we do on the plank with how we do a dogwalk.  We are only super screwed if there is a dogwalk into nothingness. No clue about the Judge this weekend, but hopefully he is as scared of Black Holes off dogwalks as we are…
The Pup then showed off her exemplary board running skills; I decided since we were using Marvin now I’d better back it up to make sure she understood the game.  Yup.  We also worked a bit on weave channels and teeter.  Video!

I’m digging the ‘weave channels, no guides’ thing.   She has no issue staying in the channel, and I don’t have a chance to do anything dumb like get tangled in a guide and scar her for life. Win!  

Love Tangent alert- have I said how much I love working this little monster? She couldn’t be cleverer (and if she was we would all be in serious trouble- think ‘Planet of The Dogs’). Today’s Love Tangent Topic:  The way she figures out at the base level what to do with “things.”  I mean, she sees the Aframe and knows you go up and come down the other side- no jumping off! She sees the weave poles and just knows that you weave them! (Or in the case of the channel set, go through the middle.)  Seriously, I had a set of six in the yard for The Dog, and Smarty Pants Pup went over and wove through. How does that happen?  There is just something inherent there- something to do, I suspect, with her fascination with manipulating things and then from that understanding what to make of obstacles she is presented with. MAYBE it’s a good thing she gets into so much stuff??? Eh… nah, probably can’t justify that as much as I’d like too.  

But anyways, I’m not just a doting Leader- she really is a genius. If you haven’t seen this- it’s too cute, but also evidence.  I was trying to work on core stuff with The Dog and since The Pup is a screamer I tried to practice her down stay at the same time instead of sticking her in a crate.  I gave her Marvin to keep her company and had the remote on the floor by me.  Apparently I waited too long to reward because she came over and stole the remote, pressing the dispenser and getting her treat.  The subsequent “light bulb” moment was adorable, she totally realized that the remote was key, so spent the next half hour joyously self-rewarding.

Probably not the ideal use of a MM, but who doesn’t love a dog clicker training herself to clicker train?


  1. HA!!! What a smartie pants!! I'm not sure River has figured out what makes the robot feed him. He thinks the robot is REAL. That Dynamite is scary smart. Watch your back, she'll be stealing your car keys soon, and taking the dog for a spin down to Pet Smart to pick up some new toys.