7 Months- Victories and Defeats

Jan 23, 2005 | Stitch's Story

I thought I’d be out of town today, but my meeting was postponed – whee, a free day! That seems to make the training seem like a reward for me. We start by testing 2 minutes in the crate. Maybe not a good day for it, she was flinging herself at the Dutch door this morning when my husband was getting ready for work. She whines a lot (not a lot by previous standards, but a lot since I was hoping she’d be able to do it this morning), and she sits in there for nearly five minutes before she’s been quiet for 30 seconds and let her out. More training.

Just to punish myself, I ask for a DownStay. She hits the floor with a thump. A walk 20′ away (all the space I’ve got), stay out for 3 minutes (during which she raises her head twice to stare at me, then thumps it back on the floor), and do a formal return to Heel position. GOOD PUPPY!

I put my suitcase on the floor 5′ away and cue a go-around. She clearly wasn’t thinking about it before I mentioned it, but turns her head when she hears the cue, then trots out around it. Within three clicks I’m back 12′ and she’s brilliant. I move it to a new location – that’s a little harder, I have to shut up and move to within 3′ the first time, but I’m soon out to 8′.

Then to the bullseye. I’m very pleased to see her glancing now at the treats I drop and then looking back to me for a replacement. She’s doing very well. I try something new – one click for hitting the bullseye, another for remaining in the bullseye with eye contact, the third treat, with no click, tossed out away from me to get her in position to try again. The first couple of times I toss, she doesn’t think she should follow them, so I toss a few more and encourage her to go.

We end the session with holding objects in her mouth. My glasses case, a pin brush, the clicker, a pen, a large piece of cardboard. She’s doing very well, so I push my luck. I ask her to hold the pin brush by the pin part. She thinks this is crazy, but 6 clicks later she’s gingerly holding it and doesn’t drop it when I let go.

Why is everything going so well? Has she suddenly caught up to my expectations? Or have I finally started working the dog I’ve got? I always seem to expect a young dog to know what the old dog knows. Some kind of genetic knowledge or something. “I’ve taught this to 20 generations of dogs, you MUST know it!”

She brings me her dish for supper. We build up to 30 seconds of really solid eye contact 5 seconds at a time (3, 5, 10, 15, 20 etc) and to 10′ away in 3′ increments, then do three more 30-second contacts. She has no trouble with this. We work X10 on me walking around her while doing a SitStay, no trouble. The line between 10′ 30-second eye contact and 10′ 30-second SitStay is non-existent, they are, at this point, the same behaviour. I try a cold 10′ StandStay, starting with manhandling her into a Stand. HAH! We blow that one bigtime, she Sits with a plunk before I get 3′ away from her. Silly trainer!


I want a trick. I look ahead to Level 6, where I’ll need a lured trick. Since we were working yesterday on the target stick, I use it to lure her between my legs from front to back. She’s willing to touch the stick, but going between my legs is clearly a thing a puppy ought not do. She darts her head toward the stick, then jumps backwards (lest I fall and crush her, no doubt)(could happen). By the fifth click, though, she’s willing to try going all the way through. The stick guides her around toward the front, where she gets her treat. And through again, this time coming around in the opposite direction. X20 and I’m moving ahead, one giant step at a time, and she’s weaving around one leg following a gesture of the stick, then around the second with an almost-subtle hand lure to get her click, then repeating. For some reason it’s easier to get 18″, 30 lb dogs to do figure 8s around my legs than it was to get 26″ 100 lb dogs to do it. Go figure.


She’s had a dog door all her life, and I was darn proud of her early and continuing ability to use it. Unfortunately the really nasty cold weather has drawn her attention to poopsicles. Between the ones she cheerfully brings me and drops on the rug, and the ones that only make it to her breath, I’m sick of it, so I’ve locked the dog door. For the next couple of weeks, they’re going to have to ask to go out, and then I’ll be supervising their activities. I don’t know what she’ll do, so I close off all the rooms except the kitchen/living room. To my delight, she fusses at the door – hitting it with her paw and whining. When I hear her, I call her to me and ask, in an excited voice, if she wants to go outside. She agrees she does, and I get up and let her out. We started this morning. This evening, I cleared my throat when she banged the door, and she ran to me in the living room and danced what any dog person would recognise as the open-the-door dance. I’m betting by tomorrow night I won’t have to remind her to find me to ask. What a good puppy!

Time for her ex-dewclaw stitches to come out, so we’ll spend a meal on that. I sit down at the grooming table, and she’s reluctant to approach me. In hindsight, obviously we shouldn’t have tried to take off her dewclaw with a local anaesthetic – though it wasn’t the dewclaw that was the problem. She was such a pansy about injecting the anaesthetic that we gave up and went with the full knockout before we ever got to the dewclaw. She’s expecting pain in that foot. I work X 10 to get her sitting comfortably on the floor in front of my grooming chair. X20 before she agrees to go Paws Up on my lap, and another 5 before she’s OK with me holding her elbows and lifting her on to the table. Once up, she relaxes nicely as I roll her onto her side, and lies there X5. When I touch her foot, though, she whines and gives me her tension behaviours – gripping the table with one front foot, and throwing her muzzle in what would be looking at the ceiling if she were standing up. X20 to relax her with me holding her foot. Well, that’s the best I can do. I think one of the stitches may be pulling a bit, so those suckers are coming out today. I cut them out one at a time, with relaxation and rewards in between. She whines and twice rolls up onto her elbow. She’s not happy, and she’s not comfortable, but she’s trying really hard.

Now we need something very rewarding. She’s a dog who likes to MOVE, so we spend the rest of her breakfast on leg weaving and spins. She’s volunteering spins – they’ll be default behaviours pretty soon. The leg weaving is going to be one she likes, too. She gets stuck on eye contact at the beginning and still needs the target stick lure to get her started, but today she only needs two subtle hand lures to get her doing the second weave once she’s done the first one. Just before we’re done, we get three – one lured, one automatic, and the third one just a hint of the lure.


We start breakfast with the leg weaving. On the fourth try, we get four steps of unluring weaves, followed by two spins in each direction with a subtle lure. Did I mention she’s a dog who likes movement?

Then we test out the Level 3 bullseye (Front), she just missed the first one, then gives me 10 in a row, so passed.

We go 10′ from her mat. We have a little more work to do on recognizing the cue, but the behaviour is brilliant. She goes to it, lies down, and stays there for three minutes, but the first time I tell her to go to it she doesn’t know what I’m talking about. The second time she trots right over.

We spend ten reps reminding her about Stand from Sit. Once she’s got it, I tell her to Stay, go 10′ out, and return around behind her. Coming along nicely.

We finish off with eye contact for the Finish and Heel. She’s giving me the gross behaviour I want, and I still don’t know whether to accept that or go for eye contact only. Her eye contact when she’s not moving is excellent. When she is moving, she’s not taking in the scenery, she’s just looking where she’s going. I’m going to keep working for moving eye contact until I make an actual decision. Dilemmas.


Wow, congratulations are in order. My puppy is only 6 months old, she’s only on her third set of classes, she’s only in Level 3, and tonight I taught her to roll over!

May not seem like much, but a) I’ve never before in my life taught a dog to roll over (we always seem to stop at Play Dead), and b) THIS wasn’t going to be the one to start with. Rolling over was one of the behaviours she was supposed to do in her trick class, but she just Absolutely Wouldn’t. Never Ever Ever. She could Down just fine, but couldn’t get off balance past a very slight hip roll. By comparison, Scuba spends half her life upside down (see photo on Scuba’s page). Tonight we went into the parlour and sat down together on the thickest carpet I’ve got. I started shaping her – to lie down, then to turn her head to the right, then to turn her head to the right and lift her right elbow. That’s as far as we got. Then I got closer to her and lured her into her on-her-side grooming-table Down, then farther… and farther… and finally she rolled herself over. Four more times and she was going very easily. Tomorrow, volunteering!

And, as I’m typing this, she stands in the dog room by the door and whines twice, which I ignore, then comes into the living room, puts her front feet on the couch, stares me in the eye and whines. Gosh, does she want to go out? Yes, she does! Ee Hah!

Of course, in order to be a great frisbee-catching dog, she has to have a great pitcher – and in order to be housetrained, she has to have someone listening to her. Is there no end to the DUHS??


Breakfast starts with positions – particularly Down from Stand and Stand from Down. Shouldn’t take long to polish this up. But she’s distracted. She constantly Sits. I finally decide to get her back to volunteering Downs because my cue doesn’t seem to mean much today. Finally she rushes to another part of the (beautiful expensive) carpet and floods the place. So much she can’t stop when I screech. Duh.

When we come back in from outside, and move to another room (she can’t concentrate with that pee thought on the rug), she’s very good. Then we do some eye contact. I’ve noticed before but never used it – when she’s really concentrating on contact, her nose drifts up about an inch. She’s having a bit of trouble concentrating because my husband’s driving a huge tractor and snowblower around outside the window, with snow occasionally hitting the corner of the house. So I get contact and very slowly let my face drift up about an inch. She follows me, her mouth drifts closed (she was panting slightly), and she gives me a very solid 30 seconds. Cute, yes, but something I might need sometime in the future.

Then we try roll over again. Wow, she slept on it! From Down, I just have to gesture toward her ribcage for her to roll onto her side and put her head down (grooming position). In this position, her back legs are looser than they’ve ever been before, she’s not hugging them down to protect her stomach or thinking that she’ll need them tight to balance herself. Then I draw a circle with my finger in front of her face and she rolls over! X10, first into grooming position, then rolling over. Twice she forgets the grooming part and just rolls when I point at her ribcage.

We try in the other direction. Nyuh uh, she’s almost as tight as she was in the beginning. That’ll need to be taught right from scratch, and I’m not in the mood today. From grooming position, I hold her front leg and roll her over manually in both directions, which is suddenly fine with her. This is something all my dogs have done naturally, except her. Three days ago she would have thought I was trying to throw her off a cliff. Since she learned to roll over and control her balance herself, she seems to be fine with it.


EXCELLENT afternoon. We go for a walk in the city. You can’t IMAGINE what combination of excellent weather and excellent medication that takes, but away we go. There is a huge park in the middle of the city with walking trails all the way around it. After weeks of incredible cold, there’s a group of walkers about every 100′, and every third group has one or more dogs. The trails are a minimum of 6′ wide. Stitch is curious and interested. We stay in the car until there’s a long empty stretch, then start out. She’s not exactly walking on a loose leash, more sticking with me in a strange place, but I have plenty of chances to reward her and she soon hits her stride about 2′ in front of me. She checks back in frequently. It isn’t easy for me to remember to click when she’s looking ahead of me rather than when she’s looking at me. I guess I make about 40% looking ahead and 60% looking at me. She starts checking the peemail and following footprints that go off the main trail, but always keeps the leash loose. This would be a no-brainer – except I walk slowly and pretty soon people start passing us. We pull over to the side each time. I let her look but pull her back when she jumps at them, giving her a very short loose leash as soon as I can. The first three times she’s too excited to think about food, but the path is wide enough that she gets no reinforcement for lungeing and she’s eager for the treats as soon as the people are past. The people are excellent – obviously there are enough dogs out today that people have had their “dog fix” and don’t need to be bothering us when we clearly are working on control. When the fourth group goes by, she stands with the leash loose, knowing she can “look with her eyes but not her paws”.

Dogs take longer, but when the tenth one passes us, she’s controlling herself. Mostly. Some of them aren’t under any control at all except for the leash, and they’re pretty attractive to her. By the 15th bunch, dogwalkers are starting to comment on how well behaved she is, and telling me they wished their dogs were that good.

The most interesting things she saw were kids being pulled on toboggans. Interesting noise, too. The worst thing she saw was a TV photographer with a huge camera on his shoulder – two heads! Scary stuff! She walked a long distance toward him with her ears up, stopped about 5′ away and growled. Held her ground, though, and he didn’t make any move toward her until he shut the camera off and took it off his shoulder. Then he turned sideways and hung one hand down (my goodness, we met a lot of intelligent people today!) and she went up to say hello. The funniest thing we met was several people who thought she was the Famous Scuba (they DO look a lot alike).

Fabulous day, I couldn’t have asked for a better first experience.


And we solve the moving eye contact problem. Have I EVER mentioned she’s a dog who likes movement? Hello duh. I’ve always taught this by clicking rapid fire for contact, then, instead of the next click, turning my back and making the dog come to find my eyes again. This works up to continuous contact. With Stitch, I’ve been turning very slowly, trying to get her to hang on all the way around, because this has been a clearer explanation for some people. Today I go back to my original way. Click very fast X10, on the 11th contact, turn away. She comes WHIPPING around and grabs my eyes. We do that five times, then I cut down to X4 and turn on the fifth. That’s fine too. Then I start pivoting to the left and clicking her butt-swing. She’s pulling around nicely, closer to Heel position than I could have imagined with the number of times we’ve tried this, and her eye contact is excellent still. Then I ask her to Sit and I move into Heel position and click her X30 for just being in position making eye contact as best she can from there.

We end the session with a lot of practise on responding to the Stand cue, with the odd Down and Sit thrown in.


Today she’s totally “got” Heeling. She can follow me all the way around a fast about turn, three steps in a straight line, and another about turn. Add a distraction, and that’ll be L5 Heel. She can ALSO swing almost into Heel position when I do a left pivot, and we do some left-about, walk 3 steps, left-about Heeling as well, with her falling VERY nicely almost into a good Heel position. I’m happy about how quickly Heel position is coming, but I’m even happier that she’s whipping quickly around the outside turns to hold my eyes.

We test out the 30-second 10′ Watch, she’s great, She’s ready for the Stays, but I can’t test them because I can’t get far enough away from her in the house.


Yesterday (after telling someone else to put the Go To Mat self-control into the Crate behaviour), I told her she couldn’t come out of the crate just because the door was opening. I did this by simply opening and closing the door. When she came toward the door, I closed it, when she settled back in the crate, I opened it. She understood this almost immediately – it’s just Crate Zen, after all. When I could hold it open for 10 seconds without her trying to come out, I told her to come out. I’ve been doing that all day today, every time she comes out, she has to wait. Tonight, I test the 2-minute Crate, and there’s no whining or fussing at all. When I open the door, she waits until I invite her out. Pass.


One of the few things we have left to do in Level Four is Scenting. We did a little bit of dumbbell work when she was very young, pre-retrieving, and haven’t touched it since, other than the finding a treat under a cup in Level Three. We start with one scented wooden dumbbell with a generous smudge of Cheez Whiz on the bar. She clearly remembers the smell of Cheez Whiz, she gallops out and licks the bar clean, then picks it up and brings it back. Big treat for bringing it back. I replenish the Cheez and send her out again. Gee Whiz, she’s perfect on finding the Cheez on the single dumbbell.

I add a second, unscented dumbbell with a pair of tongs, and replenish the Cheez on the scented one. Still no problem at all. X10, then I put the scented bell out a few times without putting more Cheez on it. We work that X10, and she makes one mistake. She goes out and FINDS the right one, then sniffs the other one, and picks up the wrong one. It looks like she momentarily forgets what she’s doing and just retrieves the one in front of her at the moment. I won’t look at her when she’s carrying the wrong one. After ten seconds I take it away from her and cheerfully send her back. She goes out, gets the right one, and gets the treat.

I add a third unscented dumbbell and put the Cheez back on the scented one. In ten reps, she makes one mistake, pretty much like the last one. She licks the Cheez off the right one, checks the others and grabs the nearest one. We do another ten without the Cheez, and she makes one more mistake. Several times she’s heading for the farthest (wrong) one when the scented one reaches up and grabs her nose, pulling her down to retrieve the correct one. Her little nose is going fast, snuffsnuffsnuffsnuff as she examines the dumbbells. I bet I’ve trained a bazillion dogs to do scenting (the old way) that didn’t know this much after two weeks of training. Thank goodness for clicker training!


We start again at breakfast with a single scented and Cheezed dumbbell. This time I’m using just a tiny dab of Cheez, not the gob I used yesterday. X3, she’s got the whole thing going this morning, she down beside the couch, stays while I put out the article, sniffs my fingers when I come back, and rushes out to lick the Cheez and retrieve. I add an unscented dumbbell, X5, perfect. She’s bringing back the scented dumbbell every time. When she licks the scented one over to the unscented one, she checks them both and brings me back the correct one.

We do 8 with no repeat of the Cheez, and she’s good until the 7th, where she’s getting into the thrill of the retrieve. She brings back the wrong one, the first one she hit. I take it from her after not looking at her for a moment, put it back and ask her to go again. She does the same thing again, grabbing, not searching. I put another tiny smear of Cheez on, and she’s good for another 8 reps, when she starts grabbing again. One more dab, 3 reps, and we’re done. This looks a duration problem, a very good place for Chutes & Ladders Scenting. I also need to get someone else to scent all my dumbbells before we try again. It’s looking very good.


Her Puppy Fun 101 class was today. She’s well ahead of behaviours, but it’s great to practise in public – the class does Loose Leash Walking and Sits, then learning to warm up – so a bow, turning in both directions back to her tail, Paws Up, leg weaving, and spins. She’s good on the bow, nose to tail is pretty much what she does every time I scratch her croup, and she can do the spins with no trouble. She needs the touchstick to remind her of the leg weaving a few times before she remembers it. Paws Up she has trouble with – I guess it’s been a long time since we practised that. Dumb, because it’s a behaviour she really needs to know – not just for warming up, but for me to put on her collar and, eventually, her cape, so we spend most of the time working on that. Then we try tug. I brought a rope with a handle on one end and a bumper tied to the other end. She’s nuts about this at home but didn’t like it at class at all. I’ll make her a fuzzy tug this week.


And today, her first Puppy Agility class. I thought she’d generalize from her contact trainer at home to the very low teeter, but it took her fifteen tries to be able to walk the whole board with a drop of about an inch. Once she figured it out, though, she was leading out to it and trotting cheerfully along to the end.

She’s only had one session of a jump, but it only took five reps to get her volunteering the tire (no height), and when we spent another two reps on the barrel that will later be the collapsed tunnel, she led out eagerly to do it as well, and ten reps later, she was doing a tiny course of tire-barrel or barrel-tire, ahead of me and on either side of me.

From there we moved to the regular tunnel. Ten times through the short version, another ten at medium length, then five at its longest, then five with a bend. Very good.

After the other pups had left, I called her to come to me and she decided not to. She’d had a little hissy fit when the class started. We go in on a loose lead, I sit down and get her to focus on me for a minute and give me a sit, then I take her collar off and she gets to go play for a few minutes before the class starts. When I started to slip the collar over her head, she yanked her head out of it and started wrestling me for control. I wrapped my legs around her to hang on to her and worked the collar slowly off and on ten times, waiting out wrestling and rewarding her for sitting calmly. At the end of the class, they got to play again. We call the pups now and then, rewarding them for coming, and she was good for that, but when she saw me holding the collar and lead, she stood back and said “I don’t think so, thanks!” I called her twice – OK, three times – and then I stood up, left, and stayed gone for four minutes. The instructor thankfully made sure everyone that was left ignored her. She wasn’t hysterical to see me when I came back in, but she came promptly when I called her, sat when I asked her, and didn’t fuss when I slipped the collar on over her head. I don’t know where this problem came from, I haven’t seen it before. If she has trouble with it again, I’m going to sew a snap into her limited-slip collar so I can snap it around her neck instead of putting it on over her head. This is a silly thing to argue about, I’d rather manage it and I expect she’ll forget about it as she grows.


VERY difficult lesson today. Every time we’ve left the door to the parlour open all week, she’s been going in there and bringing me her scenting dumbbells, so I think she can do most of the Retrieve exercise. I ask her to SitStay and toss a dumbbell 3′ away. She Stays! I tell her to go get it, she runs out and gets it! She brings it right back! I ask her to Sit. She has apparently never heard this word before. I ask her again, and she drops the dumbbell. I do nothing, she picks up the dumbbell. I try to lure a Sit, she drops the dumbbell. I do nothing, she picks it up, tosses it back in her molars, and starts chewing on it. Clearly there are some items we need to discuss here.

I sit down and hand her the dumbbell, take my hand off it, put my hand back on it, let her hold it for a moment, click. Twice, and then she starts throwing it around in her mouth again. I click X10 for her just getting her mouth on it, then ask for a 1-second hold, then a 2-second hold. Oh, THAT old behaviour!

I put the dumbbell away for a moment and try for a Sit. Huh? I have to lure it the first five times, then she remembers. At ten, I start asking for a Sit, click, then a Stand, click, then a Sit, etc. She’s got that, but she had a pretty major brain short there, so we work that X20. She had considerably less trouble remembering the Stand than the Sit, so I ask her to Sit, click, hand her the dumbbell, and cue a Stand. She drops the dumbbell, then stands up to pick it up, and I click. Try again. Ask her to Sit, click, hand her the dumbbell, cue a Stand. She Stands, and manages to keep the dumbbell, and only chews it a little. I click. By the tenth time, she’s doing it well, so I hand her the dumbbell again and ask her to Sit. This time she does. We alternate Sit and Stand X20, and that’s it for the day.


I start the next session assuming she doesn’t know Sit, Stand, or Retrieve. Click Sit X10, then click Stand X10, then click holding the dumbbell X10. She takes a few to remember Stand, and she drops the dumbbell a couple of times. Then she’s got them. I start handing her the dumbbell and asking for a Sit or Stand. She’s 100% on the Sit, but only gets about 50% right on the Stand, sometimes not responding correctly to the cue, sometimes dropping the dumbbell. Then I drop the dumbbell, she picks it right up, sits in front of me and holds it until I click. After 10 reps, I’m tossing it behind her and off to each side. She’s going to it promptly, picking it up, holding it properly, sitting in front of me, and holding it until I ask for it.

Looks like a good day to start retrieving keys. I get a keychain and hand it to her. She tries targeting it and gets nothing but verbal praise, then she tries lipping it and gets more verbal praise. Finally she opens her mouth on it and gets a click. We repeat X10, then I drop it. She picks it up, gets a click and drops it X5, then I withhold the click. She picks it up, sits in front, and holds until I ask for it. Then I toss it around the room about. The second time she has to turn around to get it, she spins back too fast and throws it across the room. She looks at me, looks where it used to be, back at me, then looks where it fell and goes to get it. Brings it all the way back, sits in front, and holds it until I take it. Ten more and we’re done.


Part of our homework for her K9 Fun 101 class is to get her going enthusiastically to a floor target. We tried it in class with her paw target, and she did the behaviour, happily and competently, but not with the overjoyed semi-hysteria I need from her for agility. Tonight we try it with a nose-target. I put out a plastic lid (a different colour and size than her paw target), dump five kibbles on it, and let her eat them. Then we go three feet away from it. She swings nicely into the heel position (well, not nicely if you’re looking for a perfect swing for obedience, but certainly nice enough for what we’re doing!), sits, and stays while I walk out and put more kibble on it. I return to her, wait until she’s looking at it, then tell her GO! Hey, she likes this game! She comes back, swings into position again, and we repeat it. She has a little trouble thinking I want eye contact. Then I bend over to try to tell her I’m not looking for contact, and she takes that as a signal to lie down. BUT we work through our communication problems and within 4 reps she’s staring fixedly at the target, waiting for the GO!. I move the target all over the kitchen, getting it up to 8′ away. When the meal is almost done, I pick up the target. I ask her to Swing. She does, and Sits automatically (nearly) in Heel position. Then I toss her dumbbell out 8′, landing it right where the target was. Sure enough, she holds her Stay and stares at the dumbbell. When I say GO!, she runs out, picks it up, brings it back, gives me a very nice Front, and holds the dumbbell until I click. Wow!


We spend one pre-meal session on catching a Frisbee. This may sound like a Duh for a 6-month-old pup, but between my fibromyalgia and the bad disk in my neck, throwing things is NOT reinforcing for me, so we’ve never done this before. She loves it. We’re working in the living room, so the throws are neither fast nor far, but she has a good time chasing them, picking up the soft disk and bringing it back for a fast cuddle. I’m taking the disk from her on my right, and using it to lure her around behind me so she’s coming up on my left ready to chase the next one. She actually caught one toss!


I HATE working on cues. Scuba’s cues are very poor. Most of what she does is body language and hand signals and thinking what needs to be done. This is a failing on my part, I HATE working on voice cues. She does it, isn’t that good enough? Well, frankly, no it isn’t. Fortunately, working the Training Levels points out training bobbles, and this is a big one of mine. We don’t have much left to do in Level 4, but we haven’t tested the Stand from Sit, no food, at 10′, so I start working on that tonight. Put her just on the other side of a baby gate and ask for a Stand. Huh? C’mon, Stand. Huh? OK, how about a Sit? Huh?

I HATE working on cues. So, I get rid of the baby gate and get her volunteering Stands. Once she’s doing that, she remembers what Sit means, so we 230 Stands with 20 assorted Sits and Downs thrown in for good measure. I think we should be working on cues once a week. I think I’ve mentioned that before. I HATE working on cues!


I need something easy this session, so I shape her to back up. This is a fast, easy behaviour, usually, and it is for her. I don’t try for a cue (!), just enjoy watching her figure out which paw to move next, will stomping get the click? Before we’re done she’s across the room.


We work with a friend in a training building this afternoon. I have a TON of trouble expecting her to pay attention in this building where she could pay attention very nicely in a class. This isn’t a class, though, it’s just me, my friend, her dog, and my dog. The friend clicks her dog, and Stitch’s eyes are glued to her. THAT person’s paying off! I’ve got a very sore throat and don’t care to get into this with her today, but we’ve got a weekly play date set up and I’ll definitely be working from the beginning on attention next week.

This is the first chance I’ve had to see what Stitch knows about Heeling.I start with an about turn, then about turn and walk a step, then about turn, run a couple of steps, about turn. Zowie! She’s way wide, her butt is swung out, and she’s slightly ahead of me. That’s easy to fix. What I’m excited about is she’s totally concentrating on me, she’s holding position, and when I run, she runs. When I pivot left, she swings neatly out of my way. Zowie!