So I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about Loki’s dogwalk. In the session below we worked on soft turns to the right to start with, then changed to straight exits. It was the first time we’d done soft turns and so his style changed a bit and he had more misses but I do think he was trying, and I do think that if I keep working on those turns he’ll get better at it.
Some of his hits in this video aren’t necessarily the prettiest but I’m working on understanding at the moment. So I’m doing a lot of ‘starting on the plank’ and close wrap starts and letting him choose the speed. So this isn’t Loki full speed, this is Loki thinking speed. I figure once he really understands what he has to do, he’ll add his own speed especially if I stop using the Manner’s Minder at the end, too. What I’m really enjoying seeing is the amount of effort he’s putting into… I think hitting the towel? I think that seems to be his goal… which is what my criteria has been – feet solidly on the towel. Those high probably-accidental foot hits? Reward. One foot solidly a third of the way down the towel? Jackpot. He’s never seemed to TRY to hit something before like this – not the target mat, not the contact area… It’s so interesting to see him shorten or lengthen his stride as he comes down in order to hit. I’m also getting front feet hits which he’s never done before (not since we first started RC training anyway)… And which although Silvia discourages, I don’t mind. I think one of his big things is not wanting to put an extra stride on the down plank because it would take him too close to the edge. If he feels confident putting in that last stride and getting close to the edge, he should be getting lovely deep hits!
I figure my plan is to keep this setup for a while longer, until turns are looking pretty solid.. then I’ll raise it up and do the same thing again.. up, up, up… once we’re on full height… work on adding speed… and then gradually fade the ‘ground’ end of the towel, and then fade it all together. By that point it should be a pretty ingrained behaviour, it’ll just be changing the picture of where the ‘end’ of the DW is (because right now the end is hidden by the towel, of course) so depending on what he uses as a marker of where to hit will depend on how removing the towel affects him.
We have a visiting dog in our house at the moment. Lumen’s breeder let me borrow a young dog to do some filming with for a class I’m going to be running. I needed an untrained dog and so I’ve welcomed Zuma home for a week or so.
It’s been an interesting few days with her… my little ‘pack’ has really banded together to keep her on the outside, and she’s used to bitches being bitches that she’s not pushy and so hasn’t really tried to get anyone to play or be her friend… Loki has been the most interesting one, showing a lot of teeth if she goes near his face, snarking once or twice at her for little things… She’s tried to play a game where she chases him and then bites him on the back. That’s gone down as well as a ton of bricks. Lu has squashed her pretty badly twice- once being possessive over Nic (I suspect Zuma pushed in when Lu was having cuddly time with Nic), and once for a reason I don’t know. I’d been training Loki in this DW session and Zuma had been trying to climb through the fence… and the next thing I know Lu was pinning her and yelling in her face, and she’s crying and trying to get out. I suspect Lu was telling her off for being naughty for trying to get through the fence. She’s sensitive about things like that (she loves it when dogs or cats get in trouble, and she goes over to help tell them off. Apparently her Mum does exactly the same thing).
But this morning Loki and Zuma were starting to play outside, though Loki was a bit rough for Z… and a bit of wrestling inside until Lu decided to be the fun police and tell them off. Gives me hope though that when it’s actually time to get a puppy that their world won’t fall apart, and they might all get along and be friends. Even my socially awkward border collie.