Sunday, February 26, 2006

Day 220

Had overnight company last night and all Lucile's hard work from a couple of weeks ago paid off. Sanity didn't insist there was a trespasser even one time. However, she did do the cold nose to the face routine at least a couple of times.

Amy was the overnight company and she was here with a 4 month old liver colored Flat Coated Retriever. If you look at the picture very closely you can sort of tell there is something besides mulch in Tyler's line of interest.More to the point, that dark brown splotch is a Flat-Coat pup and not just darker mulch. In just one week, Tyler has learned to have a very high opinion of himself. Here Sanity supervises Kong carrying.

The outside time over we headed back inside to develop a new Tyler. Here is the before picture. I call this the "fluffy puppy look". Most of the other dogs call it the "what the H is that" look.

Here is the after look or more to the point a look that the other dogs actually view as just a regular sort of guy look.

Later Amy helped me with articles and got to see first hand what is going on. At one point she almost had to leave the room because of the need to laugh. The bratty teenager has now reached the point where she was going out nosing the correct article, glaring at me, moving over to Amy, sniffing, and then going back to the pile and deliberately and with great care picking up the article Amy had scented. And so the argument continues. Of course we continued to work until there were two successful finds.

Now the really interesting thing that has developed. When she goes out, sniffs, picks up my article and brings it back, she sits straight and holds her head up, making eye contact and is quite pleased with herself. Then she will turn around, go back out and chose the taboo article, get corrected, pick up the correct article and when she comes back she will hang her head and do her best to make it impossible for me to even reach the article in her mouth. I have taken to gently looping the leash under her chin and pulling her head up so she is making eye contact. The does annoy her, but it also gets my message across without my having to touch her. Right now, it would almost seem as if just about any form of touch is taken as a win for her side.

Over all, it is interesting to watch the progress since I never hurry, don't raise my voice, get flustered or angry. Meanwhile, she pushes, she pouts, she leaps with joy, she play bows, she spins in circles, she stands like a statue with her eyes closed and every so often she just trots right out there, sniff, picks up the correct article and trots back to me. So another training day comes to an end.


  1. Anonymous8:13 PM

    I want to say thanks for the blog. I just found you and had to read it all to catch up. I've really enjoyed it. I started scent articles a few weeks ago with one of my dogs, so reading along with you is interesting.

    Just wondering what you make of Sanity's refusals, and if she is regularly doing any of the same behaviors on "straight" retrieving. That is, do you think this is teenage head butting in general, or just a reaction to being unsure of the scent work yet?

    Thanks for letting me into your training journal, please keep posting

    Myra Miller
    Alexandria, VA

  2. Anonymous9:59 PM

    Margot your nightmare may come true. Let us not ever think of it. Tyler looks cute. I like the cut. So he is getting full of himself huh?? U-oh no. Keep me posted. L&B

  3. Myra -
    Thank you for pointing a gap in my reporting. I will do my very best to correct it. As for the retrieve in general, well let's just say that if it is a dumbbell and the distance is no more than 20' and it was tossed rather than placed she trots right out, picks it up correctly and trots back, to sit front as straight and pretty as you please. When I don't meet her "requirements" then all bets are off as to what her behavior will be at any given moment.

    So I will say that her behavior is a mixture of teenage defiance and the normal "pile shyness" I expect to see at this point in the training. Never lose sight of the fact that it has to be at least a little scary to the dog to have to go out there and work all alone. All responsibility is on them to make the correct choice. It can be difficult to take that final step up to a more responsible level.

  4. Dear L&B-

    Now I am worried. I don't remember the nightmare. Dare I ask what it was?

  5. Anonymous11:04 AM

    The nightmare was the Tyler and Sanity was going to team up and outsmarting you altogether.

  6. Not a chance. Old age and cunning will always win over youth and foolishness.