Ruminations

We had a good weekly session with Barb and Dory yesterday. Dory's teaching him how to be a good friend to little dogs - squashing them to the floor with a mighty paw isn't generally construed as friendly so he's started lying down with his cheek on the floor so they can play together.

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That's it, buddy, up from the bottom makes them WANT to play with you

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and sometimes you have to let them think they're winning!

We got back to doing some actual training before the rip-and-tear session. Two dogs working at the same time is just the way life works as far as they're concerned, and the couple of times we called them away from the arena of battle, they came cheerfully and quickly.

We tested some Level 2 behaviours out and worked on others. Got a great touch on a piece off wood, a good grab of a metal and plastic wall hook. I've been wracking my brain for a good trick to teach him, then I realized he already has one - putting his head down on the floor. I taught him this when he was on his side on the grooming table, but he extrapolated it to any down anywhere - and with any of three cues. I can tell him to put his head down, I can bow my head or body toward him, or I can lower my hand. Clever boy!

Did some nice work on sit and down stays. Worked the sit up to 8 seconds and then he finally figured out that he can stay while I walk around him. Distance up to 15 feet was WAY easier than going behind him.

I MUST remember to work more sits than down, given the Giant's tendency to think military - never miss an opportunity to eat or sleep...

Floor Zen is still good. We practised it in beginners class last week while we were waiting for something else to happen. He's a thoughtful lad. I'm not asking him to stare at me as we walk by a treat on the floor. I'm letting him walk up to it, look at, hover over it, and then decide for himself that he should leave it alone.

We gave closing a door a shot. Nope. We tried it once before with shaping and it worked ummm ok - we got the drawer closed, but he was doing it repeatedly with his shoulder, so that's one we'll have to start from scratch.

Nice loose leash in and out of the building, obnoxious joy at seeing Barb's carpenter, and he didn't have to pee until we left the building when we were done.

The good news - he's made the leap to the idea that playing with a toy WITH me is more fun that playing with it alone. This is huge. He's bringing me all kinds of toys. He doesn't exactly hand them to me yet, but he saunters past just just within grabbing-distance, chewing seductively and glancing at me out of the corner of his eye.

The bad news - he's growing up. He's taking a moment to scan the area for ear-posting paraphernalia before he decides to come when I call him. He's going farther afield on our runs. Yesterday he ducked under the fence when my back was turned and went to herd llamas. They walked quickly around the pasture rolling their eyes and exclaiming "Woe! Woe is me! This Great Beast shall surely tear me limb from limb!" Darkwing Duck, the appointed guardian, didn't even bother to stop chewing his cud. Spider came nicely when I called him though - a third of the way back, then he paused, turned around and started back toward them. Another call, another nice come, and one more pause before he finally joined us. And looking back on the incident, he was doing a nice job of herding them - trotting, not dekeing back and forth trying to get them riled up, just going around the outside of them. Definitely time to meet some sheep!

And yes, he is definitely going to spend the rest of his life putting his cold wet beard on me to say thanks Every. Single. Time. He. Drinks.