We’re still enforcing the “OFF!” for the furniture, including the bed. It’s very hard for us, harder for me than for my husband. Sometimes we’re sitting on the sofa doing something and don’t even NOTICE when she jumps up and sits down next to us. Of course the sooner we say “OFF!” the better, but once in awhile one of us notices the other person sitting on the sofa or asleep in bed with Katie curled right up against the totally unconscious person. I have to say she’s not stupid! She’ll try and if she gets an inch she figures she’s in like flyn. NOT! Mostly though she’s trying really hard to be good, though you can see she really wants to be next to us.
And to keep her busy…we’re in two classes this training session! Last Thursday husband and I took her back to the rally class. That’s 30 minutes of obedience and 30 minutes doing rally. Katie kind of enjoys this because she understands what’s expected of her. Though she HATES being put in a crate so that I can walk the rally course prior to us trying to execute it. She backs right up if she figures out we’re heading over to the crates. Here’s a picture of little Katie in a huge crate next to a huge dog in a middle sized crate. The big dog next to her LOVES shelties, but Katie isn’t so sure she wants to initiate a friendship!
Yesterday Katie, husband and I went to a beginning agility class. There were only 6 dogs in this class so that was nice. Katie loves to jump and run through the tunnel. But she continued her fear of the dogwalk. Sometimes I could get her to jump back on and walk down the other side, but as the class continued and we tried again she balked and refused to do anything whatsoever with the dog walk. As for the teeter? No way no how. By the time we got to the teeter she wouldn’t go anywhere near it. I’m sure it looked a lot like a dogwalk. The other two dogs in my group (a poodle and a miniature aussie) of course had no trouble with anything.
This morning Katie and I went back to our rally class. The agility stuff was still set up in a ring, and as we were early to rally we went over there so she could sniff it. My rally instructor came out of the bathroom and stopped by to see what we were doing. I told her about the dogwalk fear and she said let’s try! She allowed me to put Katie on the top of the dog walk and as she spotted one side, I walked the other so Katie couldn’t jump off. Katie walked down the ramp just fine. But she was still scared to walk onto it herself. Wednesday night the agility instructor wouldn’t let me pick up Katie and put her on anything. Ah well. We’ll see how it all works again next Wednesday night. Husband dug out the plank I was using last summer and says he’ll put it up on a couple of concrete blocks so Katie and I can practice walking just slightly above ground on a board. Maybe that will help!
Meanwhile, I took a picture today of Katie on the table. She wouldn’t stay on it Wednesday night (she’s not allowed on furniture at home you know!) but she stayed on it today for me. Such a girl. And a picture of her sitting next to the dreaded dogwalk. She looks happy, but I think it’s an act!
Today in rally she was about perfect. I got a shot of her in the line of other dogs doing her sits/downs. She never moved, even though she was right at the end next to a fabric wall behind which were three owners who were practicing open sits/downs and had “left the room.” They were talking quite loudly and she kept looking over that way but she never broke. Even when one of them sneezed!! And then someone knocked over a CHAIR for heavens sake! She flinched but didn’t move. I’m very proud of her for that.
We’re also working on “Paw” where I ask for her left hand. She’s obviously a right handed dog as she wants to offer “Shake.” But sometimes she will raise her left paw fractionally and she almost always shifts her weight over to her right foot when I ask for PAW! So that’s some progress.
January 14, 2010 at 6:43 pm
Glad to hear that although it is hard, things are going well with Katie at home!
Two classes! Awesome! Sounds like Katie loves obedience and rally! Are you going to enter a trial soon? I bet she could already qualify in novice rally. It would be fun! And the agility class sounds good too. I like your idea of using a board on concrete block to practice with. We used a board and just books in the house so we could start out really low. You can also start with the board flat on the ground. I don’t know of anyone who started on a real dogwalk. Katie will get it – she just needs to get some confidence about walking on a board.
January 14, 2010 at 6:51 pm
Wow, Katie has been one busy, learning girl! Good job on the stay during the sneeze in class! That’s awesome.
I see so many dogs in my league matches having to be lured up the dogwalk and teeter. They are tough obstacles to train. Keeping it positive and making Katie feel secure is best. I think practicing the board at home is a great idea. That’s how Oreo started. Don’t tell anyone, but I basically pulled him across it while he tugged a squeaky toy. He LOVED it.
January 14, 2010 at 7:38 pm
Well I’m not sure Katie LOVES agility yet, unless it can just be jumping and tunnels! LOL! But I do think the plank will help. Last summer she’d walk it, even trot while it was on the ground when I told her to “walk the board!” so maybe she’ll remember that. Someday.
They have a rally trial in March at the place we are taking lessons. If I’m not working I’ll register and we’ll see how it goes! Our first trial!
January 15, 2010 at 10:54 am
Wow! You and Katie have a busy schedule all of a sudden. That was fantastic that she was able to hold her stays even with all the distractions (and sneezing). I think it would be great to enter the Rally trial in March. I bet you two will do great!
As for the agility, one thing that I might suggest is trying something that I read about in Clean Run a quite a while back about teeter problems. I know that Katie is struggling with the dogwalk right now, but the same principle may help. It involves looking at what is most rewarding to the dog. Right now, it’s being OFF the dogwalk. So, if she’ll even take a step towards the dogwalk, you can click and then toss a treat AWAY from the dogwalk. It gives her the relief from the pressure she’s feeling about that obstacle which is a reward in itself to her. Then you wait for her to come back and interact with the dogwalk again, say put a paw on it the next time. Click and again toss the treat AWAY from the obstacle. Just continue in slow increments, raising criteria for one foot one, then two feet on, then three, etc. Some people worry about the dogs stepping on the obstacle and jumping off again, but I’d rather have a dog that is confident in their interaction with the obstacle first, then I can worry about complete obstacle performance later. I taught Layla the teeter using that method and she hasn’t had any problems. 🙂
January 15, 2010 at 11:15 am
Thanks Marie, I think I’ll try this method with my board in the driveway. I don’t think in school they’ll let me do this. But I can do it before Rally (especially if I get there extra early) class…
January 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm
Hehe, yeah, if you want to try it, I’d do it at home. They probably don’t have enough time in a class to let you try stuff like this. But maybe if you get her seeking out the board in the driveway, the value will transfer over to the dogwalk in class. 🙂
January 15, 2010 at 7:23 pm
Marie, thats a great idea to help with obstcale fear!
It sounds like Katie is doing really well learning all these new rules. Good for you all. Diana