Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect

At Bug's Saturday lesson we worked on finding heel position and then rewarding from the Manners Minder directly in front of Bug. He was a hotshot on Saturday; Sunday and Monday not so much. Sunday and Monday he did a lot of staring at me. I spoke to Katrin about it and decided to back up and reward him for moving toward heel position and slowly raise my criteria. I admit it, I was lumping (again!).

We took Tuesday night off, in part because Ike had class. The secondary reason for taking Tuesday night off (because if I were really motivated I could work him when I got home) is that Bug seems to be a dog who learns when he is not working. Things sink in when he has time off.

Tonight I started just rewarding him for walking toward heel position. Within 10 minutes I had him going fairly far behind me before turning around and straightening up. We'll keep working on it but I am feeling much more encouraged than I was on Monday! I do need to buy a cheap floor length mirror so i can be sure he is straight without me craning my neck.

I also worked Ike on his foundation rear cross exercises - at least that is what I am calling them. Amanda Shyne had suggested I get Ike used to driving between my legs and slowly but surely bring my legs closer together making a tighter squeeze for him. When I first started doing this exercise Ike did not want to go through my legs even when they were more than shoulder width apart! Tonight my boy busted through my legs (maybe a foot width apart) knocking into them!! Hooray! I am also practicing the rear cross on the flat where you have your dog in a sit, cross behind them and the second their head moves release with a toy or food.

I am 100% sure these exercises are why, given the right circumstances, Ike and I can now occasionally complete rear crosses. I am proud of both of us. Ike for getting outside his comfort zone and me for continuing to try even though it is taking years (due to intermittent commitment levels and finding the right method for us).


Red Dog Mom said...

Once you get a rear cross, you'll never want to change direction any other way. With Sam I only had occasional, accidental rear crosses because he insisted on running with me. Moira has always done rear crosses almost naturally and now I balk at having to do a front cross. The rear is so much easier!

Kathy said...

Good job on the rear crosses and sounds like the heeling progress is marvelous. I was driving down a road yesterday and there was a horse corral with these huge mirrors, the biggest I have ever seen-they were practicing drassage as I went by-but if they could see themself and the horse on three sides, you know how big those mirrors were, I would like to get some mirrors for obedience practice, that would really really helpful wouldnt it?