Good news everybody.
I think Loki is starting to work out that there is a point to when I reward him and that running is not in and of itself a reward, despite how rewarding he finds it, and that leaping the 2nd apex, or leaping off the DW will result in *gasp* a momentary suspension of running. Quelle horreur! Actually he copes with this much better than I thought and now when I say “whoops!”, he brings himself over and lays down. He is always amazing me with how he understands routines.
Most interestingly though, I don’t think that Loki’s idea of the criteria is the same as my idea. I think he’s decided in his head what it is we’re doing, and now he’s doing it. And he’s doing it very well… I just don’t think that he and I have the same idea of what it is he’s meant to do. But he’s hitting! We’ve had 3 sessions now in a row with 90% success, with a mix of VERY acceptable reward/mini-jackpot hits, and super awesome JP hits. We’d had very high success rate sessions before, but the next one was always a fail. It’s so interesting because he MUST be adjusting his stride, SOMEHOW, because he’s always hitting the same way… OR, his stride is now naturally helping him out… But he’s started changing lead legs every now and then… it seems to serve absolutely NO purpose, which brings me back to my point…
I think Loki thinks the job is to hit just before the towel/contact zone with a front foot… which then follows one, or two rear feet. I am getting absolutely NO front foot hits, and today when he set himself up for one he leapt. The reason I think that he thinks this is his job, is because sometimes when he comes down, it looks like he would have the opportunity to stretch out just a little more, hit the towel with FF and get those RF really, really deep. But… he seems to shorten up maybe, just a touch. So, is he anticipating that be placing his front foot somewhere, one or the other or both of his rear feet will hit the towel? Or does he think his job is to hit just above the towel with a front foot? I’m really not sure. It just seems funny, and feels like we’re on different wavelengths but achieving the same purpose.
Here’s a video from yesterday. Today was more or less the same. Edit: Actually, I think today’s was BETTER than this in terms of the 1RF in, 1RF a bit higher hits.
I’m also making it a bit of a mission over the next few weeks to get back into sequencing and jumping. I’ve been so dogwalk focused that we haven’t done any jumps and yesterday I did a little novice sequence and oh boy the bars came down. A pinwheel is remarkably difficult for him at the moment, particularly bars #2 and #3. So we need to learn that bars aren’t evil but you probably shouldn’t knock them down if you can help it. Going to be very interesting!
I’m looking out the window right now watching him dance on his back legs under the pear tree, as he tries to make himself high enough to get one off the branches. Now he has one and is keeping it away from Lu & there’s big games of chase on. Just when I think he’s too tired to do more agility stuff he goes and sprints with her for 30 minutes. Sigh.
Loki has also been enjoying being a school dog almost every day of the week and the kids (big kids this year, years 4/5/6) ADORE him… he comes out when they’re all coming in before we do the roll and just gets loving attention from 60 kids, and they come and pat him under the table when they need some quiet time, and he steals food from their bags. The last bit isn’t so great but maybe they’ll learn to zip up their bags. 😉 Then he goes out at lunch and recess with his kid-friends who walk him around and he picks up sticks and they play “Hide and Lo Seek” where one of them hides and he has to find them. They keep asking me when I’m bringing Lu in but they don’t understand that he is 1,000,000x better behaved than her and that she is really not that great, even though she loves the kids better than Loki does, except sometimes that love is expressed in a frenzy of licks and pinning them down and licking them in the mouth. Which… not all of them appreciate.