Posted by: allstaragility | February 7, 2012

Those Wonderful Little Detours

Big night for C-ya.  She got to go with me to class for the first time.  She had a blast running around while we set up, spent the evening being passed around (although she is almost too big for that!) and rested in her crate very nicely when not in somebody’s arms.  The funniest thing is that she is a “cone” dog, just like Solei.  She thought they were the best toys in the arena.  What great fun to wrestle with them and race around!  My first class had a hard time walking their initial sequence, it kept getting renumbered!

Skill-wise, we didn’t really add anything new today; just focused on perfecting what we have started.   One skill that has been a tad difficult for C-ya to grasp is hitting my hand with her paw (no cue yet).  While she loves to climb on top of everything, getting her to single out a foot to raise was a tad too advanced.   I really felt like I had to “turn on” her using that part of her body to offer behaviors.  Instead of pushing trying to get her to raise her paw, I wanted to work a skill that isolated the action of her leg/paw.   We worked with an upside-down bowl; small enough that she could only put one paw on it (specific use of a body part) and not her entire body (a very general action).   This will come in handy in different applications- hopefully we can make use of it down the road for her to go to her “mark” for photo shoots!

After a session of that, I was reloading treats and she sat and hit my hand with her paw!  Bonanza!  It did turn on the specific use of that part of her body for offering behaviors.  Thank goodness I was ready with a jackpot and we were off and running on the skill I initially set out to train.

I think the lesson is that sometimes we tend to focus on the straightest route to our destination.  In dog training (like in life) we can’t always rely on Garmin to get us where we need to go.   The route we are told to take or believe is the best isn’t always going to be the smoothest or quickest – especially with baby dog brains.   Those little detours are sometimes very necessary so that we don’t get stuck in the mud.  Plus, they will make it a more enjoyable journey and getting to the destination is all that much sweeter because we figured it out on our own.

As I write, C-ya and Solei are playing wrestle-mania in the office.  She decided that her little sister is pretty cool, after all.    Zoom and Bode are happy to watch (until Solei tag-teams with Zoom).

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