Saturday, January 20, 2007

The weather held out somewhat for today, just intermitent sprinkles. Lang Lang is a pretty area, with all the Queen Anne's Lace on the side of the road, the grassy fields lined with old windblown pines as windbreaks fading out as far as the eye could see and the Angus and Galloway cows everywhere, it reminded me a lot of the south-western parts of Michigan. The show itself, reminded me of a UKC show atmosphere-wise and we also got to see a fair bit of horse events as well. We got to see Miss Kinta again, though Leo had to stay home this time and several of the other dogs we'd seen at the shows last week. Shocking how fast some of the pups have grown, even in a week!

Hope did pretty well when I was puttering around working on reinforcing various concepts, much nicer than the last week, though she's still slower to turn away from the reallly-super-interesting distractions than I'd like a couple times! (But she IS only 5 months-ish... so really, that's very nitpicky!) I was mostly trying to watch the shows though, so didn't do a huge amount. What we did work on however was:

1.) Give me attention and focus even when there are distractions, lots of 'em and big'uns. (IOW when cued give me sustained eye contact, ignore the distraction -and- if you're looking at something, no matter how interesting, give me attention and focus when I say your name.)
2.) Self-Restraint and Asking Permission Politely is how to get the things you want. (IOW Diving for food or other obnoxious behaviour won't work. Momma will set it up to ensure heathenous behaviour can't, doesn't and won't pay... the only way to get what you want is to rein in your cute puppy brains, ask politely and wait for permission.)
3.) Other dogs around your food is a good thing! (Them being nearby means it's happy-hour at the treat bar! HUZZAH! Them going away means party is O-V-E-R and life will be boring. If you are snarky, not only will it NOT pay off (you get nothing) but being good and ignoring them and ignoring the food till you've got permission for it will ensure you DO get it and extra goodies to boot!)

We'll be sticking with working on those skill sets and stacking, reviewing the steps we've done up till now which are:

* standing - nothing fancy here, not being specific, just heavily reinforcing the idea of standing and staying in that position while I move around her
* clicking for head being held and able to be moved (clicking for the muscle tension relaxing iow)
* clicking for it being able to be moved with minimal finger pressure left, right, up, down, forward (out from the nose) and backward (toward her shoulders)
* clicking for turning the head and using that to shift the weight from left to right foot and vice versa
* clicking for weight being shifted, then legs being manually (by me) lifted and legs being set back down in position
We are working on freestacking but it's taking longer because I'm not getting the correct arc in contrast to where the rear legs are and so when I have her target my hand, it's always too shallow or too deep, so she ends up stepping backward or forward a bit. Poor dog, stuck with a doofy handler! Seperate from that however we've worked on Backing off body pressure a bit but not heaps.

We're also working on various bits of gaiting: eg clicking for really pretty trots, clicking for moving at a really pretty trot slightly ahead of a heeling position and Keeping Your Head Facing Straight Forward while doing this even though she has to be aware of me. (Vs. heeling where it's "polished" for a dog to give attention while heeling about.) That's as far as we've got with that, so not far at all! ;-p

Updated: PHOTO! See? I did put up the photo I promised the other night! The background was bad though, so y'all have to put up with my lousy ability to cut out and paste on another background on an ancient crappy program. (Snap Shot Express, from 1998!)

Speaking of whom, tonight he came out with a new word, "Geen" (Green) To no one's great shock I'm sure. LOL Clever little monkey has been showing off how smart he's getting too. Tonight I asked him to help me get his plate for his sandwhich but instead of heading to the dining room he bee-lined for our bedroom. I was seriously puzzled until I went in there and found him popping out his Bunnykins bowl, which he'd gotten this morning when I gave him (dry, no milk obviously) Cherios so I could fold laundry. So he remembered it from that long ago! Second smartie-pants story: our fireplace mantle is one of the antique ones, the insert has a raised wreath of laurel leaves and the decorative bricks feature tulips and leaves. I also have a vase of silk tulips, roses and greenery. Sir BubbyLala was pointing from silk tulip to the tulip on the brick repeatedly, chattering and showing me how they were alike, holding them close together and showing me they were alike. Then he plucked some of the leaves off and showed me proudly that they were very like the leaves on the tiles and then pointed again to the laurel leaves on the insert. The thing is, although they are obviously alike, they are also somewhat different. The silk flowers are yellow and white and 3D of course. The tulips and leaves on the bricks are very art noveau and quite stylized, as well as being red tulips (v. gold) and flat. The leaves on the insert are raised but are solid black as is the whole insert, unlike the green of the leaves on the silk flowers and the tiles! I just love when he makes some leap like this and pieces thigns together, teh developmental stuff is just so COOL! LOL

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