Friday, March 20, 2009

Training Update

The warmer weather has meant lots of outdoor training time. I've been able to get the weave poles out again, so hopefully we'll start making some good progress on those. We've been working on all cages off only on the side that I'm not on. I think Iris is really starting to "get" that it's her job to finish all six poles. She still occasionally pops out early, but I think she's getting it right about 80% of the time. A bit of a side benefit to practicing weave poles is that we've also been doing a lot of basic obedience. Iris gets bored with repetition very quickly, so I've found that she gets a lot more out a training session if I vary it. We'll do weave poles a couple times, practice some stays and recalls, then some heeling, and then another couple times through the weave poles. I haven't had much of plan with the obedience work. It's mostly just been because I really don't want Iris to decide that weave poles are boring. We did do some specific work on stays while I moved around because she was having trouble with that during class. Her heeling has gotten a lot better too! I'm starting to think about trying to work on actual Obedience with her. I think it would be helpful for me to have more of a goal than just keeping my dog from getting bored. Plus it seems like she's enjoying it too.

It's only just starting to be light enough when I get home from work for me take her outside to practice on weekdays. Instead, I've been trying to work on some shaping with her because it's easy to do inside. Iris stresses out about being "wrong" so I'm hoping that shaping little tricks will help her learn to try new things. So far, I've got her putting her front paws up on an upside down pot and moving her back feet around it a little. I also really want to teach her to put her to paw on her nose as if she's playing "the nose game." Right now, I have her touching her paw to her nose as if she's brushing something off, and I think we're a little stuck. I'm not quite sure how to get her hold her paw on her nose. She is doing exactly what I want but she's only doing it for a split second. I think part of the problem is my timing. If I'm a little late, I think I'm clicking for her moving her paw away from her nose, which might be part of the problem.

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