Monday, July 7, 2008

Communications and C.H. #4, and Misc.

Yesterday was hot, again. Here in N.E. we go from wet and chilly to steamy/stifling. Forget any middle ground!

It was Communications Week # 4. We worked on the space game with our dogs while Katrin worked with each of us individually on our moving “wait.”

I am happy to report that Bug is gaining confidence and his backing up is no longer squishing into a sit when not lured. Hooray! He is getting that the Space Game is a game and seems to be enjoying it more.

When we worked on the moving wait, which involves closing the space between handler and dog to induce a modified stay, I was initially too abrupt and blocky. I eased my transition a bit more and that allowed us to be much more successful. First I rewarded Bug for staying one second without me moving. Then I stepped back a step. Apparently I fed Bug too many treats (or maybe it was the air quality) because we were walking along and he puked and then he ate it all up. No warning for either! After that we had some water, a potty break, and took “five.”

C.H. was a great class – for me. Poor Ike, I forgot that this week was no dog and we were going to be working on footwork! D’oh. Ike could have been watching TV with dad in the a/c. Shhhh….don’t tell him.

Katrin had us pair up with another student. One student acted as the handler and the other acted as the dog; then we reversed roles. Katrin then walked us through a course or the movements? Not sure what to refer to it as. It was really interesting. I found as the dog I watched the handler’s feet – which clued me into how important that footwork is. As the handler I had a horrific time with turns – I had absolutely no clue how to do them or what to do with my feet! Eeek. It was a really informative exercise; it reminded me of how much a dog has competing for their attention!

After everyone had completed this exercise we worked on footwork. When turning Right Katrin recommended placing our left foot in the top “T” position and the moving forward with or right leg in the new direction. Turning Left we did the opposite, placing our right foot as the top of the “T” and moving forward on our left leg.

To do an about turn do two right turn “Ts.” VERY confusing stuff. I can see this is something I will be practicing alone and with dog for quite some time!

Both boys had baths when we got home which must have felt good given the heat and Bug got a blow-dry (of course!). My neighbor came outside while I was drying him and thought I was “performing surgery” of some sort! Very funny.

This morning we had a somewhat disappointing walk. Sad to say that thirty minutes of a walk can be awesome and 1 minute can “ruin” the remaining 5 – 10 minutes. I walked the boys downtown this morning, which I haven’t been doing too much of. Needless to say there were lots of people about. Ike was AWESOME until a older woman asked me about Bug and LOOKED at Ike. It is so strange how people don’t realize that staring at a dog can set them off. Ike began barking and she said “Oh, he’s a barker” and started to approach him! Ugh. Not Ike’s fault that it went downhill so quickly. I wish I were quicker; I haven’t mastered dealing with the two dogs when there is a “potential Ike situation.” It is mostly a non-issue because Bug is not reactive. However it’s easy to get all tangled up. In general disappointing or distressing walks are becoming much more rare – so that is a very positive thing.


Katrin said...

it's called a "heeling pattern"

your dogs will train you to have nice smooth transitions in every area if it kills them :-P

Oh, so your a vet too now? (perfomring surgery) LOL! Did I ever tell you how I once got some mail from a vet supply company (that I'd never ordered from, never heard of actually) addressed to: Dr Katrin, DVM? I laughed soooooo hard! Me?! I didn't even manage to graduate with a BS let alone a DVM!

ann & partner said...

Did I stare at Ike on Sunday, is that why he barked? I'll bet I did! I should have remembered. I was being selfish, trying to get close, without asking him. Thank goodness I'm around others and their dogs! Sorry Ike.

Jules said...

Ah yes, a heeling pattern! I knew it had a name. Oh Doc K.....

Ann, do not take it personally - Ike is weird. i love him, but he's weird. Sometimes he doesn't even like me to look at him (like when we are running a course!).