12 weeks 1 Day- Starting Level 2

Oct 1, 2004 | Stitch's Story

Scuba’s finding it very difficult to do her job. Every time she picks up something, Stitch is right there wanting to wrestle with it. I tell Scuba that if she keeps rolling her eyes, they’ll grow that way…

Half of breakfast we spend playing the Get Lost game. I’ve never before asked for eye contact with me standing up (though she’s given it to me when I’m doing dish Zen), but that takes her about 2 seconds to figure out. We do Contact X 10, then Contact and I turn my back on her. Hmm, what to do, what to do? We do this in the kitchen. I’ve set it up so I can see her shadow. She looks left and right. She lies down, she sits up, she whimpers, looks left and right, whimpers, lies down. I get hysterical. STITCH! WHERE’S MY PUPPY? and she comes around to give me eye contact. Contact X 10 and I turn my back on her again. Again she can’t think what to do so I have a fit again and she finds me. Contact X 10, I turn my back, and she comes around on her own to give me Contact again. Ee hah! Contact X 5, and then I turn and she comes around automatically 4 more times.

Now that she’s getting OLD and her legs are stretching about an inch a day, I’m thinking about Training Level 2, so I take a dog bed out into the screen room. We’ve done Go To Mat in the living room, but nowhere else. I put the mat down 4 feet from my chair. It takes her 5 clicks to find it, 2 to get on it, 1 more to lie down on it. Then she’s really into it. No matter where I toss the treat, she grabs it and runs right back to lie down on her mat, so I start using the cue Hit The Rack. Small problem at first (Oh, gosh, she’s BROKE now!) – she’s so responsive to my voice that when I give the cue as she’s climbing on the mat, she stops to look at me. I do nothing more and she finishes the job. The third time I say it, she keeps going. By the 10th time, I think she’s responding to the cue a bit.

Then I put the bed 8 feet away, in a corner between two chairs, and change where I’m sitting. That’s another 10 clicks to find it and lie on it – she goes back to the first spot several times, and also tries lying down on the floor near the mat, but neither of those behaviours produces a click so she keeps thinking until she remembers the whole thing.

Then I drape the bed over the step up to the greenhouse and sit in a different chair. I think this’ll be harder than putting it in the corner, but she’s got the idea now. 3 clicks to find it, climb onto it, and lie down. No attempts to go back to either of the previous locations, and no attempt to lie on the floor. That finishes her breakfast. I’m glad she’s needing more food now, but I wish her stomach was ten times bigger!

Oh! It’s Hit The Rack no matter WHERE the rack is! I get it!

Even when it’s on stairs!

We spend lunch going for a walk. I click occasionally for a loose lead, but it isn’t really necessary. She’s walking with me wherever I go. If she meets the leash when she’s ahead of me, she stops to wait for it to loosen before going on.

We walk by Rapid Fire again. I’m very pleased that THIS time when she’s at the fence and he comes over and leans his head down to see what she is, she has the sense to back up a couple of steps. She’s not afraid of the situation, more like “Wow, that’s a big guy! Any sensible puppy would stay out from under HIM!” OTOH, maybe she’s just getting farsighted…

For supper we have the BEST session ever! I’ve been working the dumbbell with just my voice. While it’s been going OK, she’s not getting the quiet-mouth-on-the-bar as well as I expected. Tonight I use a clicker – harder to have the dumbbell and food in one hand and the clicker in the other, but I have to be careful to keep the clicker away from her ears. She IMMEDIATELY figures out the quiet mouth and longer hold. When she makes a mistake and lets go of the bar, she startles and grabs it again. She’s looking up into my eyes when she’s gripping it well.

Then we do Park It (Sit). She’s racing around the room to grab the flying treats and then rushing back to plant her little butt again. I use the cue X 30 with no errors. Then I signal for a Down twice, and she has that. I use the cue X 15. Then I work Park X 5 and Down X 5, using only the voice cue to tell her what I want. We run through them four times with maybe 3 mistakes in the whole bunch. Wow!

When the food’s all gone, she wants to stay in the screen room and keep working. She doesn’t come in until I turn out the light. She feels pretty good with her tummy full. She attacks her dog dish. When it’s dead enough, she chases and catches her tail, but it was a bigger opponent than she’d planned on. Her tail rolls her upside down and dumps her in the dog dish.

No accidents in the house all day, and she runs into her crate for a cookie and goes to sleep without a whimper. What a great day!