14 Weeks 5 Days- Repairing Damage from the Trick

Oct 19, 2004 | Stitch's Story

I can’t say I’m quite as cheerful about her new trick this morning. Throwing a front paw out in front of her from the Sit and Down has blown Sit and Down right out of her head. I’ve thought before that she needs motion behaviours to counteract the stress of stationary behaviours, but it’s never been so obvious. I start with the trick. She remembers it right away, so that by the third click I’m adding a cue – I raise MY right foot, she raises hers. Very cute. X20. Then I ask her Sit. She can’t. I ask her to Down. She can’t. She punches me in the knee with both front feet. She lies down, kicks her back legs out behind her, and raises both front paws off the ground. This can’t be easy, but it isn’t what I’m looking for. She whines. She barks at me. She looks like she’s going to dislocate her elbows, she’s throwing them at me so hard. Argh.

I lure a Sit X 5. She can’t offer me another one. I lure another one, then rapidfire X20, putting the kibbles right in her mouth so she doesn’t have a chance to get up. Then I lure five more. She STILL can’t offer me one. Another rapidfire X20, and finally she can offer me a Sit. Only 50% of the offerings are Sits, though, the rest are salutes. I keep remembering Bob Bailey saying “Don’t be afraid to let it extinguish”, but I am – I don’t want her doing that frustrated barking thing, and I don’t want her to give up and walk away. We’ll keep working on getting our groove back, not do salutes ANY MORE for a while, and reinforce Sit a billion times. THEN we’ll let the salute extinguish, if we still need to. Argh.

Perhaps I also shouldn’t have taught her to pick up the measuring cup. She took it off the couch after breakfast, spent several minutes doing the 4-foot pounce on it, growling furiously, and now she’s got it wrapped up in a mat and she’s trying to pull the mat out from under the coffee table. Why doesn’t everybody have a puppy?

After lunch I feel better. We start on the contact trainer, where she runs both ramps looking for the treats at the bottom. In fact, when we go outside I always ask her to pee before we start, but today she gallops right on over and up the ramp before I have time to say anything. 20X down contacts.

Then we come in to the screen room. She runs to the mat and plunks herself down on it, obviously expecting a click, so we do 20X Go To Mat, with me telling her the cue. Then we do 20X Sit, then 20X Down. Then we start playing a cue game. I tell her Go To Mat c/t, then say her name and drop a kibble between my feet, than randomly ask for Sit, or Down, or Go To Mat again. I shouldn’t be using the mat cue yet, she generally has to think about it for a second before she does it – wait, wait, I know those words, hang on, oh, YEAH! – but with the three cues, she’s about 95% accurate. Ee hah.

Then we do Watch X20, she has trouble remembering Watch. She offers her salute several times, then remembers and we get up to 5 seconds.

There are 15 kibbles left, so we do some retrieving. We get holds of various items up to 5 seconds.