Saturday, September 19, 2009

Set Backs

Yesterday I learned what it's like to work an empathetic dog when you shouldn't be training. I had a physically tough day at work and was a bit tired and hurried coming home, but I was definitely looking forward to working W. Gather all my stuff, chop some hotdogs, you know the deal. We get to CCSC and W is looking a little "slow," sometimes that happens if he sleeps too much in a day but I figured we could work through it.

We start with weaves at the same spacing we've been using, but minus the wires. He popped three times on the left and I figured the next time had better be successful for his sake, so I got the wires back out. Completely missed the entrance the first time but got it the next time. We did it once more so I could party with him again then switched to the other side. He got it the second time and I decided to stop weaves before I "broke" them.

I set up a jump sequence of 5, just a straight line, with varying heights including one 24 and one 12. Had I actually been using my brain, I would have made them all 12's, gotten two good runs and gone the hell home, but nooooooooo. Too ambitious as usual. He popped out of sequence every. single. time. Must be my fault, poor handling is almost ALWAYS the case for that. I knocked the height down on all of them figuring he was tired, and he would still only give me three before popping out. All of a sudden a lightbulb went on in my teensy head, "Hungry dog! Treats in left hand! Moron..." He was popping to get closer to heel position where he is generally heavily treated. I slapped some hotdogs into my nail-dispenser can and at the second jump, hucked that thing over the fifth. SUCCESS! We stopped right there and then and went to go do some fronts, I know when I've got it good.

We're using the U-box for positioning right now, which is going well. His first front was absolute poo, so I took a break, got a drink, let him get another drink, played a wee game of tug and went back to it. MUCH better this time, eager, correct front. Asked for 2 of those, did a heeling pattern and called it a night.

Maybe next time I should just go train after dinner and a nap, or recognize when we aren't going to be successful and just go play with W instead. I'm all for making him work when he knows what the hell is going on, but I refuse to slow our progress by forcing him to learn when his heart isn't in it. He never retains anything in that mindset. I just need to learn to recognize it and see if there's anything I can do to snap him out of it.

Anyone have any suggestions? Can you work a dog that is TOO hungry?

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