Friday, February 22, 2008

ABC Week # 7

Carmen and I missed last week’s class due to Ike’s belly issues. Nonetheless, I thought she did well last night.

We got to the barn a bit early so that Katrin could work with Monty and I could try to get Carmen to play in the very exciting barn environment. Monty will be getting his own raccoon tail, I think. He thought the tail on a lunge whip was a WONDERFUL invention! From the human perspective, the only bad thing about it is how dizzy you can get if you have a fast dog (Monty!).

Once Katrin started working Mont, I took Carmen to the opposite side of the barn and was able to get her very involved in tugging and chasing that tail. As soon as our classmates showed up she wasn’t comfortable doing anymore tugging or chasing. BUT, my plan is to take it slow and keep reinforcing her for playing at the barn and home. I think playing in the barn with Katrin and Monty there was a HUGE thing for her. Ike has never been comfortable enough to do so. And bear in mind, Carmen has no history of reinforcement for playing.

The first thing we worked on was a go to touch, with jumps, and handler movement. We missed the lead-up to this last week and since I was obsessing over Ike we didn’t practice nearly enough. I need to work on her driving to her target plate. While she is showing more speed at home, I am still not 100% clear she understands the point of the “game.” She totally did not seem to be aware that there was a plate after the jumps!

Carmen is a very different dog than Ike, and while that is a fun learning challenge for me, I find myself forgetting that she ISN’T Ike! She is a stress sniffer – when she is confused or unsure – sniff, sniff, sniff. Meanwhile Ike when he is stressed says, “If I don’t move she’ll forget I am here!!” I find stress sniffing to be a somewhat subtler signal – but I am sure it is just because I am so used to the frozen dog!

While Makin the Vizla and Iris the Aussie were working on Go+Jumps, Carmen tried the table. Poor Carmie – she really doesn’t know how to do a down without a lure. I will be adding that to my list of Things to Teach the Onion. She was very hesitant about hopping up on the table, but once she did and nothing terrible happened, she was hopping up on it willy-nilly!

The next thing we worked on was a plank angled on a step stool. Carmie was flying down it and was pretty receptive to the “wait” command.

Last but certainly not least we worked on the u-shaped tunnel. Carmen was on lead with Katrin restraining her movement. Unlike Ike who froze whenever Katrin tried this (Are you near me? Are you touching my leash? Why are you looking at me?), Carmen handled it with aplomb and it worked quite well. The first time I ran away from the tunnel she did freeze, which was quite comical! But she bounced back and the next run she tore after me. Yay, Carmen. Maybe I should reserve the word ”tore” – hopefully at some point she really will tear after me, I think she has the potential.

I have noticed while walking her and when she and Ike play, how differently she moves from Ike. I do not know if it is her construction or what, but she is a much more powerful and economical mover than Ike is.

There is lots to work on. Top of the list – have the in-laws put Carmen on a diet, build Carmen’s confidence, work on downs without a lure, and go ons.


Katrin said...

Uh, Jules, dear, Ike does quite a few 'subtle' stress things before he actually Freezes most times (though not always that I can see)

JULES & IKE said...

I guess I need to be watching better, then!! He's not a big sniffer, though. And I always think of stressed dogs sniffing.

Katrin said...

He air sniffs, but doesn't sniff the ground when he is stressed, that is correct.