Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Playgroup and Practice


Ike and I try to go to the Metro South Shelter play group every Sunday. Our attendance has been sporadic lately, but we are trying to make it more regular. The Shelter hosts small and shy dog playgroup at 11am (this includes puppies), and big dog playgroup at noon. The cost is $10.

The last few times I have gone with Ike I have noticed a definite difference in his behavior. He does much less of his "fun police" routine. Ike's "fun police" routine involves barking at any dogs who make him nervous by having too much fun, or fighting. Ike runs over and starts barking at the dogs as if to say, "knock it off, already!" Initially I thought this was because Tony stepped on his foot when Ike was rushing to break up a fight during agility (6/23). But now, after seeing the same mellow behavior repeated this weekend I think it might just be a change in his behavior.

Yesterday at playgroup all the puppies were there in force including newcomer Sarge, a 3-month old German Shepherd puppy. Oh, how the puppies want to play with Ike. It must be the hard-to-get thing....they playbow repeatedly as Ike stands there just tolerating their closeness. It is hysterical. In addition to all the puppies yesterday two young boys were also visiting. Ike actually bonded with one of the boys and went to him of his own volition. Yippee!! Ike loves my 11 year old niece, but he has had a chance to get to know her. This boy, Kyle, was fairly quiet and Ike thought he was very nice apparently!

Yay! Breakthrough day for Ike.


I spent some time practicing recalls and heeling in my in-law's backyard last night. Interesting thing to note, Ike barrels to me in the backyard when I release him. In class he trots - although last week he was a little bit more confident and one might says he cantered! I assume this has to do with his comfort level; i.e. no dogs in the backyard v. classroom full of dogs Ike isn't 100% about.

I have to ask Esther when she thinks I can tighten up my criteria for fronts and the set-up behavior. I don't think we are there yet, but it bugs me to see Ike sitting so crooked during his fronts. I must be giving him some cue via body language because invariably he sits angled to my left. I will have to fool around with hand position, body position, etc.

Something I love about Ike is he thinks practicing is just another great fun thing to do with mum. He is a smart boy and he loves to "play" aka work. We have agility tonight and I took away his pink kitty last night and put it out of reach. I made quite the deal about it - having the kitty up by my head and talking in a silly voice. Ike was absolutely beside himself - jumping up on me and then pacing around the table I had put the kitty on. He couldn't figure out what was going on. We'll see how it translates tonight. My fingers are crossed!

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