Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Taming of the Beast (part 2)

In this video Sam is taking Brandy out of her kennel run for the first time. She spends a few minutes in the kennel talking to Brandy, then clips the leash on and they take a couple more minutes to get through the gate in a polite way. Next Sam spends some time getting acquainted with Brandy and giving Brandy a chance to pick up the working rhythm. After that they head into a figure 8 pattern.
The thing that makes this practice session so challenging is that both "posts" are actually tiny crates. In one crate is Ellie, our Yorkie and in the other crate is Rugby, Sam's Maltese.

Brandy came here with a bad reputation where small dogs were concerned. She is being given lots of chances to practice saying, "No, I won't try and kill that sorry excuse for a dog."

During this coming week she will get to practice her self-control over and over and over again. It's truly great for building good character. After Sam worked Brandy for about 15 minutes, we had a change of handler's and Sydney took over.

In this video Sydney is heeling Brandy right up to the individual crates, requiring a sit and then just quietly standing there and giving Brandy many chances to decide to turn her head away from the strong distraction.

When we see Sydney struggling to get Brandy to move close to Ellie's crate it is because Brandy is still a little afraid of losing her self control and so is trying to avoid the distraction all together. This is a sign of real progress. Keep in mind that Brandy is not being bribed or physically forced to turn away. The decision is strictly up to her. Of course, should she make the wrong choice then Sydney would at once run away at a very fast pace, only to return to a normal pace and come right back to the original position.
What I find so fascinating to watch is how she works out the problem of self-control. While she was really not just trembling, but just about vibrating each time one of the "distractions" came within her line of sight as we continued to work she became calmer and clearly more in control of herself. It can be seen by just watching her head placement. By the time we had worked for 30 minutes Brandy was really tired and more than ready to call it a day as far as school work was concerned. She spent pretty much the next 4 hours sleeping.

1 comment:

  1. I like Brandy a lot. She is wayy fun to work with and a pretty dog!

    In the first part of that figure 8 it seemed like she was just exploding with energy!