Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cat Food is Delicious

Once upon a time, Barley was really good at "Leave it." In fact, she was so good that she would pass things, like beer cans, while we were walking and then backtrack to pretend to sniff it and then look at me, thinking she'd get a treat for such a nice "leave it" even if I didn't give her a command.  Eventually, she learned that didn't work and quit sniffing things altogether on our walks.  So, I know she can walk over food on the sidewalk without even glancing at it.  We have firsthand experience leaving behind Teddy Grahams, nachos with cheese sauce, fries and ketchup.

But we haven't practiced leave it in a while and Bar also can't stand the thought of food being dropped on the floor and not cleaned up immediately.  She is the class vacuum cleaner when we go to the training center.  While everyone else is heeling nicely to warm up for class, Barley is sniffing along the floor and cleaning up any crumbs left behind by the class before.  She refuses to walk nicely until she has the entire room cleaned.

Since I'm not sure what our test will be like (although it's at a winery, so it's probably outside, which could be to our benefit), our focus for today's training was walking over food without eating it.

We practiced our sit-stays and down-stays while I set up our obstacle course.
A circle of Bar's favorite things to steal: a toy, a red pen, a ball, a bowl of cat food, and my mascara (I promise that's an old one I don't use anymore--no eye infections here!)

Did I hear cat food jingling in that dish?
Our first course was simple and something we practiced a hundred times when we first started working with a trainer.  I made a circle of things Bar likes to take and we walked around it several times.  First, with her on the outside and me in between her and the temptations.  She did a good job with that--didn't even look at the cat food once.  Then we went around it with her on the inside, and she still did a good job, even though I did have to remind her to leave it.

After that I made our course more difficult by putting the stuff in a not-very-straight line and adding Cheez-Its to the mix.
If Mom has the camera in front of her face, she won't notice if I get up and steal the Cheez-Its.
Darn, she noticed. 
When we just walked alongside the line, Bar did fine (being on the inside and the outside).  Things got ugly when we tried to weave between the stuff.  Even though the Cheez-Its were Bar's initial downfall with breaking the down-stay, she was good with them when we were walking.  It was the bowl of cat food she just couldn't resist--multiple times--so we still have some work to do.  On the plus side, I don't think there will be cat food at the test since it's supposed to be like the situations one might encounter at a hospital or nursing home/rehab center . . . 

1 comment:

  1. Haha, I would hope they wouldn't have cat food there! Yay Bar though for a good practice session! She's going to do great!