10 Weeks 1 Day- Getting Serious

Sep 17, 2004 | Stitch's Story

Another retrieving meal. No fuss this time, she’s ready and willing to work. Runs ahead of me to the training couch. We progress almost immediately from touch to grip. As expected, her grip of the bar is lightning fast. This can be a frustrating time for trainers – being told to wait for a longer hold when the longest hold is a fraction of a second. The answer is to wait for TWO holds –

GRAB say what? where’s my treat? GRAB

turns rapidly to

GRAB you stingy bag GRAB

and from there to Graaab Graaab

and finally we get several nice holds of a couple of seconds each. And the last handful running to touch the dumbbell on the floor. Good pup!

Puppy vaginitis and house-training. I’ve been giving her vitamin C twice a day for three days for her puppy vaginitis. Amazing what it’s done to her frequency of urination – WAY down, and with it, her number of accidents – from four a day to none. Of course my increased vigilance has SOMETHING to do with the accident decrease, but nevertheless.

Another retrieving meal. We get THREE good GRABs on the dumbbell, then some excellent 2 to 3 second holds in the correct position. I forgot how quickly dogs learn to retrieve. Then I put it on the floor and she forgets what we were doing. We have to start back at the beginning. She’s looking all around the room, obviously In The Game but totally blank on what to do next. She offers me a Down. I click her head turning toward the DB, then again. The third time is “Oh, yeah, NOW I remember!” and she runs to it. By the 8th click she actually picks it up! What a rush! I get three of those and quit – don’t want her picking it up, actually, as she isn’t steady on how to hold it correctly yet. But the behaviour’s there when I let her go that far. Ee hah!

Her yellow fluffy toy is near us, so I shape her to go to that – a new experience as the only thing she’s gone to so far is her dumbbell (and the dog bed, but that’s much larger and farther away). Very good, she’s definitely into shaping.

I’ve got some Big Puppy dog food I’m going to open for training sessions. I don’t mind treats that go down easy, but these kibbles are so small I have to give her three of them or she’s not sure she’s even gotten anything. Her performance really picks up when I hand her three in a row after every click, and many times if I only give her one, she looks on the floor to see if maybe she dropped it.

I’ve GOT to stop working on retrieving for a minute and practise other things – a One Trick Pony isn’t the point, right? One more meal to practise, and then tonight when Ron gets home from work we’re going to challenge the first Training Level. I think we need a little more work on Down and hand Zen.

Big training glitches Good thing I practised – typical kennel blindness – she doesn’t have a CLUE how to Down anywhere but on the mat in the living room. Can’t do it in the kitchen or the bathroom or outside. She’s got a good handle on hand Zen but doesn’t have any idea what I want when I asked her to leave a treat alone on the floor. Well, that’s what the Levels are for – to point out all the different things you can miss while you’re training!