Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Working girl

Indigo loves her work! On my mornings off I take her to a neighborhood park with a tug toy and practice. We heel, sit, stay, down, stand, come, pivots, eye contact, all for that toy. The one we're using now is a Chuck-it brand floating bumper toy which is pretty strong but starting to tear in the center. She isn't always 100% accurate but is so fast and so willing to do what I want to get that toy. I love her eagerness. Her down at my side is always on my foot. She tugs like a Schutzhund dog.
Then the days I work she goes with me and I take most of her breakfast kibble with us. When I have breaks in my day I take her out to practice and she is just as awesome and focused. She sometimes gets to play with other dogs who are in boarding. She is learning to come to me briefly for a treat while playing but that is not her strongest feature.
At the school yard down the street, the moment I take off her leash she turns to me for the frisbee. Even if there happens to be another dog on the field.
Our beginning agility lessons are going really well, with that same focus.  We're working on just the basics in class, more eye contact, hand touches, basic clicker training. At home we work on some of the obstacles, she is fast and loves it. She has really good endurance.
All this awesomeness and I took her to my obedience teacher last week for her first lesson and she was horrible! She didn't want her toy or my string cheese. Her nose was on the ground almost the whole time we were there. I was so looking forward to showing off what she had learned! My teacher asked me if I had taken her anywhere else to work besides my back yard.
Then last night we came home from work and the sun was hitting my fall blooming crocuses just right to give them a funny look. WOOF! I wonder if her eyesight isn't 100%?
I have been reading about using just yourself as the interaction and reward and thought I'd try a little bit of that instead of the toy. She bites! She definitely likes it but is still so mouthy, it just doesn't work for me. She also goes looking for a "toy" after a few seconds. A twig works just fine for her if a real toy isn't available.
My husband keeps reminding me that she is still a puppy. I know that but I feel this giant pressure for her to become a perfect adult dog. What if she is never able to compete with me in anything? What if she keeps having these moments of being spooked by random things? What if she develops hip dysplasia?
I paid the $35 last week and she is now my registered AKC "canine partner". 
Here she is, my crazy, almost 10 month old girl. Indigo Jane.
I do love her.


Anonymous said...

sounds like you two are figuring things out. Even if she never gets to competition level doesn't mean you can't do things with her for fun. I have been thinking of doing some obedience with Luna (not like I need to add more to my plate)... will give me something to work towards at least. I threw a bumper over a jump and sent her to go get it, sure enough she jumped over, picked it up and jumped back over and came to front. Pretty darn good for a first time. She seemed to really love it. Hard part will be keeping her quiet as jumps tend to make her want to bark lol. But it gave me hope as I didn't figure she would be thrilled about retrieving at all, as she usually isn't too keen on it. Wish I could take a jump into the bird field lol.

UrbanBodi said...

"2 steps forward one step back" seems to be a constant in training. The floor/ground may have been really, really smelly and therefore really interesting (remember outdoor smells become intensified in the autumn). The sniffing may also have been a displacement activity due to apprehension about the new dogs/people/environment. Don't be too discouraged as she is still a puppy. If she zones out again next week I would try to move her as far away as possible from the other participants to see if she is better able to focus on you.

Claire Krigbaum said...

Thanks, Corrine :)
It was a private lesson so there weren't any other dogs or people. Her yard is astro turf though and I wondered how many smells it holds compared to grass.

Riley and Stella said...

Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job with her and getting some great foundations! Puppies (and humans) just sometimes have days like that. I would only worry if she shows no progress the next time. Stella had a day like that when we did her last pre-novice leg and her brain occasionally just isn't into working.

ps. You posted on my comments about like Denise Fenzi. She is doing an online course through agility-u.com and the observor spots are only $75. I am doing an audit spot. I doubt the spam blocker will let me post the link.

Hiking Hounds said...

It usually takes both my boys a couple visits to a new training location to settle in. It sounds like she is really doing a great job. Especially with how far she's come since she's been with you. Her overall focus sounds great!

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

She sounds great! Fund dog!