Monday, January 30, 2006

Day 193

Morning and the fog rolled in thick as pea soup. At 9:30 when my first client showed up it had almost burned off. Thank goodness, because the first client of the day and the week was almost a total bust as far as I am concerned. Ah well, this person knows better than to expect to win them all. Next was Leo,Callie and good owner Paul, excellent students one and all. The sun had managed to totally burn off the fog and the day turning into a dream day considering the time of year. It had to be at least 60 with clear, blue skies and only a light breeze. Beautiful weather.

Before getting down to work we walked the yard a bit and let the dogs sort of loosen up. Sanity started out by teasing Leo with a rope tug and getting him to chase her. Mind you, he doesn't last very long in a game of chase, so Sanity had to resort to a teasing game of keep away. This lead to Callie slipping up on her and grabbing one end of the rope. Sanity was bound and determined she was not giving it up. There were times when Callie's shaking actually swung Sanity completely off the ground. In the end, Sanity still walked, well actually ran, away with the rope. Then the play time was over and both Newfies went to work.

Due to the wonderful weather I got to move Sanity's scent work outside and so we immediately reverted back to the way I have always done things. In the first picture, she is searching the mulch pile for the hidden article.

She finds it and then uses a paw and nose to dig it up.

Here she is getting it clear of the mulch.

And finally bringing it back to me.

You don't get to make comments on the lack of quality of the pictures, since I was handling the dog, hiding the article and taking the pictures all at the same time. Does that qualify as multi-tasking?

As the last dog to work during the evening class an interesting thing happened. I called Sanity to heel because I wanted to work on the retrieve on the flat. Wrap followed and what I ended up with was Sanity in heel position with Wrap sitting directly behind her and sort of "breathing down her neck". The retrieve itself was going to take Sanity directly into the faces of all the other dogs in the class. Usually is not a problem for her; however this time it was.

I gave the command and she sort of choked. Meaning she half stood, took on step and then froze. I am actually not sure what was going on. Was it something one of the dogs she was facing "said" to her? Was it the fact that Wrap was breathing down her neck just hoping she would make a mistake and I would say "Wrap, fetch" instead of correcting Sanity? Or was she having a processing glitch with the change in retrieve requirements between fetch and find? The one thing I do know for certain was that it was not the refusal of a dog who knows what to do and then chooses to refuse.

So I used the ecollar set on her learning level of 1 on a constant setting and walked out there with her. She completed the retrieve successfully. Wrap sighed and went back to her bed. The next three retrieves were completed without so much as a seconds thought. In fact, one of the retrieves was done a little too fast since she overshot the dumbbell, did a sort of modified handstand, turning on her front feet, rear feet in the air, scooped up the dumbbell and hurried back to me.

I think the reason why I can hardly wait to get past the "baby stuff" and into the real training is that it is a challenge mentally and the dull, grunt work is behind us. For the life of me I will never understand why so few people train their dogs long enough to get to experience the shear joy of working on the more complex tasks.

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