Sunday, January 11, 2009

Week 5, free hazel free

The Sunday training sessions are averaging 4 hours a day, sometimes 5 like today. It isn't all about lectures, running the dog, or watching and commenting on how the lessons go, but it does take time and I end up at home close to 4 pm and weary. And wanting a donut. Yay for Krispy Kreme on days like today.

So we had to learn how to keep the dogs in a Stay position, specifically the Sit and Down. Basically the Stay command isn't a command, but a discipline. The dog remains in either a Sit or a Down position, and given several factors (duration, the distance the trainer moves away from the dog, and environmental distractions), the dog Stays (hence the term) until it has been released. It was also evident why we had been told to use the word Free when we wanted the dog to break the position. The Stay command is more an aggregate of whatever position you are requiring of the dog, the factors you put into play, and the release command (Free). There were some things that seemed a bit confusing to me. JI said that we were not to complicate or confuse our dogs by teaching them to stay for a length of time and add distance by walking away. However, it eventually was evident that duration and distance are closely knit. You hopefully get the dog to hold a position, learn patience by remaining as they were, and by adding a couple of movements on your end away from them, they must focus on a stillness that is not inherent to their nature. The distractions today were numerous, but at least Hazel showed fortitude in the face of other noises going on. I was very happy with her progress today even though we didn't get any time during the week. My plans today had included an hour with her before everyone else showed up but I woke up too late to put that into motion, so I spent 10 minutes with her offleash in the court while the other dogs went on their run.

However, my partnership with the puppy may be at an end. Germaine, one of the other puppies was adopted last week; his handler wants another puppy and has her eyes on Hazel. I think it might be good to have Hazel socialize with her and I can move on to a more problematic dog, like Putol. We'll see how that goes next Sunday.

JI said our graduation exercise will be a test of how good we train our dogs to stay, eeps! If I move to another dog, it won't be easy to get it to the level it needs but I shall try.

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