Thursday, July 30, 2009

What We're Working On


Laura inspired me to work on some more tricks with both dogs. We've been concentrating on obedience a lot lately. Lok has been doing really, really great with his obedience work! In fact, last week he made it through a half hour of obedience class and was happy and attentive the whole time! His heeling is more and more enthusiastic and he often offers me a sit in heel position if he gets confused about what I am asking for. Which means this is no longer a position that stresses him out, but one that he understands and likes and is something he can default to! This is a major victory for us! Also, last night Lok did a 3 minute down stay with NO intermediate rewards!! This is a HUGE victory for us! Before we started training at TCOTC, Lok had really great stays, for as long as I wanted, with me as far away as I wanted to be, even out of sight. We started in the advanced class at TCOTC and Lok's first night of class was awesome! His stays were perfect! Then, between the first and second class, Lok got attacked by a dog. The next week at class, when we did our stays in a line, Lok got really, really nervous about the dog he was next to, broke his stay, and that was the end of his stay command for a very long time. After that, I couldn't get him to hold a stay for even a few seconds. So, it's been months and months building his stay back up from scratch and now I feel like it's pretty much back to where it used to be. He is relaxed and happy in his stays. Man, sometimes I wish he wasn't such a sensitive dog. Or at least that he wouldn't attach his stress to his obedience commands--every time he gets stressed out during obedience work I end up having to rebuild whatever command we were working on when he was stressed out. So essentially, I've taught him pretty much all of his basic obedience twice! It's definitely a learning experience.

Anyway, back to Lok's tricks! Right now, we are working on:
Fetching a beer from the fridge, specifically chaining the three behaviors (opening, retreive, and closing)
Backing up in the "bow" position
Backing up in the "down" position
Crossing his paws

Kinda sounds like a lot to work on at the same time, but Lok gets bored with too much repetition. He's enjoying all of this and doing really well!

We're also still working on relaxation at the door, which is going well too! It only takes a few minutes each time for him to be relaxed and focused with the door wide open!

Working some obedience stuff in preparation for our Rally show that is in 2 days! Yikes!
We're also doing rear-end awareness, specifically, rear-foot targeting and lifting one back foot. Both are going great but I'm having a really hard time coming up with hand signals for them.


  1. T! Please tell me a little about how your teaching her to lift her back feet! Frankie doesnt appear to have much for rear end awareness either. When she jumps over me (disc), her back legs ram me in the ribs every time. I have the bruises to prove it! When we work on agility jumps, she also always knocks down the bars. When I have a treat or a disc or a toy, or anything motivational, she loses all awareness. Lol! This would be good for her!

  2. I had that problem with Lok big time, but he rarely knocks bars on jumps, unless he's being lazy. He had a hard time thinking about jumping and grabbing the disc at the same time, I think. Now that he's gotten more coordinated, he doesn't hit my anymore. But believe me, last summer my shins were perpetually black and blue!!

    Having an Aussie, though, I wouldn't think you'd have that problem (BCs are notoriously poor jumpers). She has really nice hops and tucks her legs nicely. I would first look at your disc placement and timing before worrying about rear-end awareness work. If she's knocking jumps, she's probably just being lazy or doesn't know what's expected of her.

    But rear-end awareness stuff is good anyway. I just clicker-shaped Jun to stand with her two back feet on a box and her two front feet on the ground. You don't use a clicker do you? You could also teach this with luring--get her up on the box, then lure her halfway down and treat her. She will get the idea, but it may be slower. It took me about 10 minutes with the clicker. Then to get her to lift just one back foot, I just made the box higher. She tried to get her back feet on and I clicked her when she had one on. Then I made the box even higher so she can't get her foot on top of it. That's where we are now.

    Handstands here we come!!

    Let me know if you want me to show you some stuff when we go to CO!