Sunday, January 25, 2009

Week 7, diagnoistics and moving forward

Today was a hard day for dog training, handlers and dogs alike seemed out of sync. I thought it was just me, but everyone mentioned it at one point or another, that their dogs were not acting normal (we think Makisig is sick), wondering why a dog who used to be a snappy Down stay suddenly seemed to be deaf when her handler said Down (or she'd just go into a Sit). Sigh. I had to work with two dogs, Hazel (who has her owner with her now, so we're working in tandem) and Putol (who will end up pulling my arms out of their sockets, since he's so difficult to run with). The latter was stubborn and willful all through the run, but turned into a near dreamboat inside the training area. He did his sits and sit-stays beautifully; we struggled a bit with the downs, but by the end of the training session he was plopping down into downs relatively well.

I was so thrilled to see Hazel doing downs without having to be put into a sit. She hadn't been too keen on going into the Down position for weeks now, having to be lured constantly, and sometimes not wanting the treat if she had to work for it. Now, she did her sits perfectly, her sit stays are getting longer, and her downs are spot on! Yay! I'm giving her owner, John, a schedule to work with this week so she retains all her commands, and we look forward to a potentially smooth graduation in 4 weeks.

But the other dogs caused JI to worry a bit. He felt that after 7 weeks of training, the dogs should be able to do the Sit, Down, and hold longer stays by now. Not everyone was up to par though and it was troublesome to say the least. He held a diagnostic for the 8 dogs and only 5 could handle the basic commands, but Mitch wasn't as on the mark as she normally is and Makisig wasn't going to do the down at all. Iris, our old dame, is a bit friskier, but she has had too many handlers, she needs one person to work with instead of being passed on to someone else.

I am happy with Hazel working so hard and the instances when Putol and I worked in synchronicity, but I hope today was merely a bump in the road. We all want our dogs to finish this level and move on to better, happier things, like a happy home.

Seguing a bit to my own dog, she's been groomed and sheared of her "winter" er "wet weather" coat. She looks half her size, and has this poof on her head (I didn't ask for it, grrrr). My mother will not recognize her I'm sure.

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