23 Weeks 5 Days- Testing Level 4 Behaviors

Dec 21, 2004 | Stitch's Story

Oh my for holy cow. Finishing a Level is SO rewarding/exciting/invigorating for me. Then looking at the next Level and seeing that the behaviours she already knows will work smoothly into the harder behaviours in the next Level. Then noticing that she might be ready to test for some of things at the new Level, and suddenly we’re not BEGINNING the new Level, but partway through it already.

Stuff we’ve checked off already: Come 40′ through milling dogs, Finish – swing with handler pivoting left, Handling muzzle & teeth by handler, LLW 80′ through milling dogs, Floor Zen 30 seconds, Retrieve – 2 objects in mouth, 1 metal, Down from Stand with no treats, Sit from Down with no treats. 101 Things To Do With A Box – she was useless at this 2 weeks ago, but we’re playing it in our trick class and she’s getting good at it. Still not very inventive, but I’m comparing her to Scuba. Yesterday in class Stitch was turning her box over and over, and balancing on it, which wasn’t easy because it isn’t a very large cardboard box and it jiggled a lot with her weight.

What we do this morning (in a veritable flurry of enthusiasm):

Ask her to go in the crate, close the door (*I* close the door, in case you were wondering), leave her for 2 minutes in utter silence. PASS.

Ask for Eye Contact, she gives it to me brilliantly. X10, then I start pivoting right. She looks down the first time and finds me again when I stop. I click that, then click X5 for Contact and turn again. This time she holds my eyes as we turn X10. She’s doing so well at that I try turning and taking a step for the first time. No sweat. In the space where we’re working, I can only go about 4′, but she’s acing it. X10. While we’re playing pivot, I do some left pivots and click her tail for moving faster than her head. She’s forgotten this a bit, she’s holding contact and stopping dead when I stop, but we play around with it a bit and it starts to come back. X10.

I ask her to follow a very short stick target. She can follow it well for about a foot. When it becomes “obvious” that I’m leading her around me, though, (trying to get some distance on it), she forgets about it and finds me eyes. Dang, she’s broke now! Puppy puts too much effort into making contact. We work X20 on short follows.

I ask her for Stand from Sit – the behaviour that, three days ago, I’d NEVER NEVER NEVER get. She was good at it yesterday but that was the first time so I’m not expecting much. I give her a voice cue alone once just to prove she doesn’t have it, and she pops her back end up. Wow! We work on it again and again, I move back gradually to 10′ away from her, I sit down and stand up and turn my back. Accuracy is 100% on a voice cue alone. X20. I’m terribly impressed

To finish off, possibly just because she’s done so unexpectedly well at Stand from Sit, I ask for a Sit, tell her to Stay, walk 20′ away, and do a 1 minute Stay. She stays. Not like “what are we doing here”, not like “I’d rather be somewhere else” but a nice, solid, watchful, working-duration-to-make-a-click Stay. No thought to lie down or stand up (which I was expecting since we’d just worked on that). She holds the Sit all the way back and ALMOST holds it as I go around behind her. I work around her a couple of times with a kibble in her nose to hold her and she starts to see that she can stay even when I’m behind her.

What a great morning. What a great puppy.

Supper begins with a Sit-Stay and a Recall with a crummy Front. Good Sit-Stay and very nice fast Recall. X2, then we work on the Bullseye front diagram X 20. She’s nice and close 90% of the time. When she doesn’t get clicked, though, she’s developing a default lie down. I don’t get the impression this is a quitting-type lie down, but actually a default behaviour. I need to click a lot for motion behaviours in the next month, but considering what a wild child she was before, I can’t say lying down as a default is a bad thing.

To get her up and going, we do 30 heeling Eye Contact from in front with a turn and walk one step every fifth time. Then left turns X10. Her contact is coming along very well.

We do some retrieving with the wooden dumbbell, and throw in a couple of Stays while I toss it, a Get It cue, a nice clean pickup, fast return, and only slightly crooked front with an excellent hold. X15.

To finish up, I ask for a couple more bullseye fronts and she loses her mind. If I blink she Stands. If that’s not right, she Downs. I CANNOT get her to Sit for more than half a second without her popping up into the Stand again. She is totally disconnected from voice or hand cues. “You MUST want a Stand. I INSIST!”

Finally I cross my arms, look at the ceiling, and count to a hundred while she offers me everything she can think of. Finally she stops and I ask for Sit X5 and a retrieve, and then we stop. Goofy child.