Friday, February 21, 2014

FitDog Friday: Making Progress

Last week, I mentioned that we'd been adapting the hide-and-seek games that Diane and Rocco over at To Dog With Love had been sharing over the last few weeks as part of K9 Kamp along with SlimDoggy and Peggy's Pet Place. After reading about Rocco's success with learning "Hide Your Eyes,"I decided to practice that with Barley (although we're calling it pray because that will hopefully balance out the heathenish tendencies of her brother cat--seriously, that cat plucks angel decorations off of things and rips their wings off, so we need a little extra prayer in our lives).

We started with practicing "Paws Up." My girl is so smart it scares me sometimes. I've known she was smart for a while--when we first started training, our trainer told us we'd probably need 2 weeks to master our homework and by the end of our third day of practice, Barley had it all down pat even with distractions like squirrels, bees, trains, and neighbors putting a new roof on their house--but we do so much reinforcing of our regular training, that I don't always remember how quickly she catches on to new things.

After I had told her "Paws Up" three times and sort of lured her toward the box she was putting her feet on with a treat to help her figure out what I wanted, she had the command down. I said "Paws Up" and her front feet were on the box. So, we took a little break.

When we came back to it about an hour later, she was so enthusiastic about getting a treat that she put all of the paws up.
When she realized she wasn't getting a treat for that, she hopped right off and tried again (I'm supposed to make her think about what she did to get lots of treats before, so I'm not supposed to help her out and give her the command again. Sometimes, that's so hard!)
Then she got it right and gave me her big old Barley smile while I got some treats out of the bag.
We've started doing "Paws Up" on anything and everything (so expect to see lots of future pictures of Barley with her paws on things when we go on adventures!). She's got it down, so now we're trying to work on getting her to bow her head. 

That's proving to be a little bit harder. We couldn't train that behavior the way Diane and Rocco have--Barley puts so much weight on her front paws that I do have the upper body strength to keep my arm up for very long when she puts her paws up! So we're trying to just skip that step and work on it on various surfaces like the edge of the bed. Barley prefers to just put her feet back down and try to get the treat. 

We've also been making some progress with our walking goals! Finally, the bitter cold broke. It has been in the 30s and even got up to 40 today! The snow is slowly melting and our sidewalks are reappearing! We got in almost 2.5 miles Wednesday and Thursday in the neighborhood. Then today we got in 3.2 at the state park! Hooray! We've logged about 80 miles for the year so far--I'd like to be at 100 by the end of February, but I'm not sure if the cold will stay away long enough for that to happen.  Fingers crossed.

No more trudging through the snow! (For now.)
This was the best pre-agility class walk we've had all year! We had a great, focused lesson on Tuesday as a result. 
Barley modeling next to the last bit of deep snow in front of our house.

On Sunday, we start a noseworks class with our favorite trainer (although we do love them all!), so we'll keep you posted on our progress with that!

Hope everyone else has had a nice break from winter's wrath, too! I'm going to go stimulate my mind with a performance of the one-woman Emily Dickinson show The Belle of Amherst tonight, so Barley and I are ending the month happy and healthy, both physically and mentally! A few weeks ago, I wasn't sure that we'd be able to say that any time soon ;)



10 comments:

  1. Great job by you and Barley! Love that you are targeting 100 miles for the month. You are so close. 2+ miles per day for 9- 10 days(not sure if you wrote the post on 2/10 or 2/21) and you got it! Let us all know if you make it. And if not, don't stress, there are 31 days in March!

    Thanks for joining FitDog Friday.
    -Slimdoggy

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement! We got in 5+ today, so if the weather cooperates with us, we should meet the goal!

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  2. I taught the bowing head motion by treating from underneath and then gradually fading that lure. Hope it works for you!

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    1. Thanks for the tip! We're definitely going to keep working on it :)

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  3. Love all the pictures of my baby girl! I'm glad she's had something to keep her entertained while she waits for spring :-)

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    1. You know if we didn't find something to entertain her, she'd be ending up in a basket on Aunt L's door step!

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  4. HI Y'all!

    Wow! Can't get over how many of y'all still have feet and feet of the white stuff on the ground. Barley looks so cute doing her paws up.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

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    1. Those pictures were from Tuesday afternoon after we had another 5.5 inches of snow the night before! Thankfully we've had a few 40 degree days the past couple days, so a lot of it has melted now and we were able to get in some really good walks the past couple days :)

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  5. Excellent job on learning a new skill. After this winter, I think many doggies are anxious to get out training again. I know we are! Have fun at your nose work class. :)

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    1. We are definitely looking forward to our class tomorrow morning! It looks like we're going to have several more really cold days next week, so the more inside games we can learn the better!

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