|Soth has been enjoying curling up on a heating pad.|
Now that Soth's done stealing the spotlight from his sister, the real mischief I wanted to talk about is some less than desirable behavior Barley's developed in agility class.
|Barley is pretty sure she could never do anything wrong.|
Our trainer says that Barley's seeing my arm as a toy when I move it to send her to a jump. She's had us do several activities to try to get her away from my hand.
In class, if she starts to do her playful growl and nip, it's an immediate down in a loud, firm voice. Every single time. Some nights, we don't get through very many exercises because every turn we spend doing a down. Other nights, she catches on as soon as she's been put in a down once.
We've worked on having her sit and me moving away from her and then throwing a treat, so she learns to go past my hand instead of coming to it. (She never actually touches my hand when there' s a treat in it--she's too well trained on the it's your choice game, so she knows that she gets the treats when she doesn't touch my hand.) Then we added in doing it with a jump. We've tried practicing that at home, but she usually doesn't nip at home--probably because we have limited space and can only get so much distance or pick up so much speed as we approach a jump.
We walk by a park that has a very low (maybe 12 inches) fence for people to park in front of. Nobody every parks there, so sometimes as we are out walking, I'll jog towards the fence and send her over it several times. (She never nips when we do this--so it probably isn't helpful, but it makes our walks more exciting.)
|This crazy face is always ready play.|
On Friday, I mentioned that we've started going to a nearby football field and doing some heeling exercises. I've been trying to work in games that will help us address her issues. We've been doing some heeling exercises to mid-field with some sits, stays, and just walking in heel position. Then I've started jogging towards the other end zone. The first few times, she'd grab her leash, growl, and try to herd me--which resulted in a down and then more walking and heeling. Then we'd try again. Usually after three downs, she's been focused and ready to go. Then I let her drag her leash and jog around the field with her--and if there's any nipping, she's put in a down.
We've done this 4 times over the last week. Tonight, she only had to be put in a down once. Tomorrow night, we have class, so we'll see if this has made any difference at all. I'm hoping that she's able to transfer the corrections from the field into the gym.
|Faster than a speeding bullet--and showing absolutely no interest in my arm.|
It's so hard to curb a behavior when it really only appears for about 45 minutes once a week. No matter how hard we romp and play in the house, she never nips at me. It's just when I start moving on the agility course. If anyone has dealt with this sort of mischief and has suggestions for how discourage nipping, I'd be very grateful for your advice!