Woo hoo, I’m getting excited about retrieving again. As if having her eventually get 438 objects to me isn’t enough!
We start breakfast with X10 on her paw target. It’s as high as I can get it on the couch. She’s been dreaming about it – she whomps it the first five times with both front paws in a dive, then settles down to the one-paw swipe. One-paw is not as accurate as both, and I wait until she actually hits the target before clicking.
Then on to the hold. She’s been dreaming about this, too. She begins by giving me good solid 3-second holds with no fussing at all. I have someone coming in half an hour, and her understanding is exciting, so I’m shovelling the food into her by the handful. This also seems to make an impression on her.
3 seconds X30, then I start letting her take the weight of it. This causes some indecision, but amazingly, she spits it out when she feels the weight but immediately grabs it again and holds while I let her have the weight. I’m not moving my hand away, an observer wouldn’t be able to tell that I’ve released it, so when she drops it it doesn’t fall. X5. Then she grasps the concept and holds it while I let her have all the weight. X10. She shows a little confusion by chin-bumping the initial take again, but the hold is solid. X20. We’re well over 80% success, so I open my hand so an observer could tell I wasn’t holding the dumbbell. X30, and we’re up to 70% on this as well. Wow.
And Wow again. At supper, we start with the leather dumbbell again. She still has a few chin-bumps before biting it, but when she bites it, she’s over 80% holding it. X10, then I start releasing the weight. X10 at 80%, and actually let go. She drops it the first few times, then holds it firmly. I start doing variations of an 8-second hold – we hold it together for 3 seconds, she holds it alone for 3, then together again for 2 seconds; or 1 second together, 4 alone, 3 together. She’s GREAT.
Then I move the dumbbell around, to my left, to my right, up high, down low, so she has to move to take it. This is harder for her, she goes back to the chin-bump. X20 and she’s got it. Next I hand it to her when she’s standing and ask her to sit while holding it. That’s like walking and chewing gum at the same time, but X 20 and she’s got that too.
We switch to the wooden dumbbell. There’s no apparent difference in her reaction to the wood than to the leather. X20. We switch to the metal dumbbell. X5 to get used to it, then no difference with that either.
To finish the meal, we do the paw target X10. Wow.