Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Days 14 & 15

Mondays mean a trip out to Frederick, MD to teach my Bridge Obedience class. As with last week, Bennett accompanied Romeo and me.  The one session of outdoor heeling that Bennett and I did on Sunday transferred fabulously to the training building. Amid plenty of distractions, dogs, people, food, noises, trains, etc, she held her focus and rocked her heel position/front position transitions, and performed some lovely heeling up and down the crating area. I'm comfortable calling it a "heel" now, despite our obvious need to clean things up and practice more tricky moves. The action is much different, in a very purposeful way, than her normal polite walking (and MUCH different than her normal IMpolite walking!). I'm not suggesting in any way that it is perfect yet, but she has grasped the concept and now we just need to repeat ad nauseum and throw all the fun complications in there! The auto-sit is coming along nicely, and she only needs reminding about 10% of the time.

I did realize, however, that we need to practice heel position "down" a little more. She is readily offering downs, and will down on command when I am sitting on the floor with her. But apparently we haven't worked it in heel much. I did, however, introduce the idea of a "go around" transition to heel and she is becoming comfortable with following the hand signals without food lures now.

For clean up after class, I let her and Romeo run and bark in the mostly empty building. Last step before leaving is to turn off the large overhead lights. I, on a whim, stuck her in a sit-stay and walked the ~12 feet away, past some chairs and around a crate, to turn the lights off. Not only did she hold her sit-stay, but she held it right up until the point that a big snuffly Lab came over to check her out. And, upon Lab inspection, she only stood up and stepped to the side, not breaking eye contact with me! Good lady!!

Today, Tuesday, was a bit of a gong show. By the time I got home after work, all I could focus on was the new bottle of sweet red wine sitting on my counter. I decided to be a good little dog owner and get some nail trims in before zoning out for the evening. I've always trimmed dog nails with the dog flipped over on their back, held between my legs as I sit on the floor. With some practice, both Gio and Romeo have become comfortable with it, and it's become the only way that I am really comfortable trimming nails. So, of course, the idea is to introduce Bennett to this same process. We've been working off and on with flipping on her back, fondling toes, trimming a nail here and there, with plenty of cookies for being calm and not screaming like a diva when I touch her feet. So far, so good. Until I broke her tonight. I had fully poked at all of her paws, treating whenever she lay still, and was about to clip just one or two nails and call it a night, when someone shifted and something happened that resulted in "I'm really not joking!!!" scream. I have no idea what got pinched where, but I felt so bad. She hated me for whole minutes!! I flipped and cookied her again, and all is fine. But, of course, I'm now letting her destroy a toy and am sharing my ketchup chips with her ... just in case she still hates me. ... Yeah, I know. Don't even say it, and let me ease my conscience this way!

Now on to the wine.

Update: Bennett is SO broken, that she was only able to manage a dozen or so laps up and down the stairs with Romeo before pouncing on him and invoking his wrath. It appears I have another diva on my hands ...

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