Monday, August 15, 2011

When did that happen??

Is it just me, or is time simply flying by lately? Maybe this always happens when puppies are around- the first year or so is measured in spurts and breakthroughs and benchmarks that all happen so fast.  One after another, something is always changing.  That’s life I suppose. Change is the only constant. 

But having a puppy sure does throw that concept into sharp relief.

Here I was having a nice weekend of training with the girls and realized that I don’t have a Pup and a Dog anymore, but two dogs.  Two demanding, pushy, eager dogs.

Sure, she’s still wiggly and naughty and gets into everything, but I think that might just be her nature.

She is part terrier, you know.
So the dogs and I had some very surprising and eye-opening sessions this weekend. The Pup’s was surprising and eye-opening because of the sheer fact of her being all mature and intense about working now. I suppose I started to notice her commitment level changed drastically last week, but the past few days have been somehow exponentially better.

The two most noticeable changes: obstacle drive and pre-run attention.   While she has been doing pretty well on sequencing one thing to another, she’s now starting to have some confidence. I guess what I thought was running before…not so much. Hello, Speed.  Nice to see you there between those jumps.   I don’t necessarily need to baby sit every step of her path now, either.  I’ve been gearing myself up for a long struggle with de-Velcroing her but it might not be the issue I had previously thought it would be.  She has officially started seeking out things besides the table and contacts- sends to tunnels and jumps are now on the books. 

The other thing, pre-run attention:  This has changed in that we have it now.  Before there was some ‘sniffy sniffy clover eating ok I’ll come do something I want to do now’ but at this point I just have to give her the cue to line up on either side and she’s magically there. Poof. Ready to do whatever is in front of her. 

Someday I will take video of all that magically grown-up cuteness. For now though, here is a little video of her full dogwalk.  This is the second session, all reps (as seen on FB).

 I think she is solid on the idea that Thou Shall Not Leap.  I don’t think that she has worked out her stride for the full obstacle.  It looks to me that she is very ok with the going up part, but occasionally being cautious across the top (she HATES crosswind), definitely changing strides for the down, probably in an effort to not lose control.  She has a tendency to balance her weight back whenever going downhill.  I’m thinking this will fade with time and confidence and she will run extended and head down the whole length, but has anyone else noticed this with their babies?
As for The Dog, I think I may have figured something out.  I’ve been racking my brain on why there doesn’t seem to be a lot of carryover recently with the running dogwalk.  I know a lot of it is courses and confidence and all the normal variables, but I thought there must be something basic that I was missing causing the rift between beautiful running in practice versus a show.  Wouldn’t you know, I think it’s the lack of toy.  Can’t get much more basic than that.

I was working on a course without carrying a toy, which I normally do in practice.   We got to the dogwalk and suddenly had a totally sticky show-like performance.  Did some experimenting and sure enough, she would only have the motivation to run if the toy was with me.  Huh. 

So yesterday we went out and tried some weaning.  I did get a few right away without a toy (having her natural high at the start of practice work for me there) and with a friendly set-up.   Then to keep her attitude in the right place we started hiding the toy around the course and asking for two nice dogwalks before she could go find it.  I always marked the dogwalks, but asked that she carry on a bit after the nice ones and then she had to stop and get praise and pets from me and THEN she got the toy.  I’m hoping the break up from our previous routine will help with some transference to the ring.  I’m sure the absence of reward/motivation in a show was probably not helping much.  We will see!   
Aside from interesting training breakthroughs, we had fun swimming and hiking both days.  The Dog was all kinds of naughty and refused to leave the lake yesterday.  Even The PUP came when called before her.  Naughty. 

Lastly- behold, two seemingly boring studies in dogness:
The Dog. 
The Pup. 
Why share these?  Would you believe that these are photos of two exhausted dogs?? No, really. Please bear witness to The Pup's first ever time being tired enough to lay down and not start destroying something. Amazing. 

Of course, ten minutes later she got a hold of her new special toy compliments of her sister and started going to town.

Pup Says...Riot has good GOOD TASTE!!! 

1 comment:

  1. She's looking great!! And it sounds like getting rid of the toy will be an easier fix than some others, especially since she's not needing to target it!