Saturday, June 28, 2008

5 Directions #2

Thursday was Iris' first 5 Directions class. Ok, so it was actually the second class, but I forgot to show up for the first one. We started by reviewing "switch," which is what we would have learned in the previous class. Good thing there was a review for the scatterbrains in the crowd! Basically, you start with the dog on one side and walk up to the cone. The dog should walk around the cone and end up on your other side with both of you turned around. That probably makes no sense. I'm a painter, not a writer. Here's a diagram for everyone who has no idea what I just tried to say:

That's right. Look at that diagram. Clearly art school was money well spent.

To teach "switch," you start with treats in one hand (the treat should be in whichever hand is closest to the dog. I forget this and almost always use my right hand regardless of where Iris is. That is not how you are supposed to train your dog and someday will probably result in me tripping and falling face first over my dog). The tricky part is switching hands to guide the dog around the cone, so I thought it was a good idea to have treats in both hands.

Just when I thought Iris and I were getting the hang of turning toward the left, Katrin asked us to go in the the other direction. I looked at the cone and looked at my dog, who was no help whatsoever and seemed quite happy to continue in the same direction. I looked down at my cheese filled hands and realized I had no idea what hand I was using anymore. There was no way my brain was going to reverse this treat-hand-cone-dog balancing act. I'm sure Iris will master switch long before I can figure out which hand the treats go in.

The second direction we worked on is "out." Basically, we had the dogs go in a straight line along the cones, "switch" around the last cone and then out around a gate. "Out" essentially means "put more horizontal distance between you and me" if I understand it right. We worked on "out" a little bit in ABC class, so Iris picked up on it right away. After practicing with treats, we switched to tossing toys so the dogs would get rewarded for running out instead of getting a treat for coming back to the hander. I had a tug toy for Iris, but she wasn't at all interested. Julie let us borrow The Screaming Monkey toy, which Iris thought was really cool! Iris was actually willing to chase and pick up the monkey when I tossed him. Even at home I have to work to get her interested in any toy other than her Beagle. She thinks Henry is the ultimate toy.

Iris was once again awesome about waiting her turn. I'm not sure exactly what is getting easier, better, different or whatever for her but she's definitely more relaxed in class. I hope this trend continues!


Katrin said...

LOVE the drawing!!!! ROFL!!!!! But it works! Gets the idea across (and you even did her crazy witch hat ears! :-))

Jules said...

Yeah - Iris's ears rock.

I found switch a really hard concept to get, seriously. So, based on your drawing I would say you are ahead of the game!

Blue said...

Now whenever I look at her ears I see little witch hats! It's very appropriate for my crazy dog. :)

As silly as the drawing is (and as much as I just really enjoy making bad stick figure art), it did help me actually see what I'm trying to get Iris to do.