Sunday, January 10, 2010

Weekend Update

I'm excited about the advances in training that Secret has made over the last few days! I'm waiting until I have a few more new tricks to share before I put it on video.

On Friday, the mission was to get Secret to stand up on a "pedestal," -- Or in our case, Luke's food dish tipped upside down. Due to her instant desire to touch any new object I present to her, it really didn't take all that long for her to figure out that the game of the night was to stand on the dish with both front feet.

Yesterday I took it to the next level and started asking Secret to pivot around the dish with her hind legs while keeping her two front feet squarely on the top (which really, it's not a huge dish, so I'm pretty impressed!). This is an excellent exercise to help her develop hind end awareness and she was a super star, as always. She had no problem going around the dish in both directions and eagerly hops onto it when I say "step up."

We also worked yesterday on our "back-up" with the dish behind her. I was hoping that perhaps I could get her to step up with her back feet, but she clearly is not ready for such a small target at this stage.

Today we warmed up with pivot work on the dish, then I placed the top of a filing box on the floor next to the wall. The objective was to get her to back up and onto the box top.

It became clear fairly quickly that Secret did not feel comfortable with this yet, so we'll save backing up onto stuff for later, when she's developed more hind end awareness. I think I'm just too over-eager to teach her to do a handstand!

I switched our training session to something I knew she could achieve. We did just a little box work when we first started shaping and Secret had started to catch onto the idea of stepping into the box. I decided to go back to that and see how far I could get. This time I sat on the floor and held the box between my feet to secure it, since last time she kept flipping it over and getting spooked.

From the get-go she started to offer stepping into the box with one foot, then two. From there it was a fairly comical game of her trying to figure out which movements elicited the click. She's grown a fair amount in the month since we last played with the box, so actually fitting her entire body into it did require a bit of coordination.

It took about 10 minutes, perhaps, before she was solidly standing in the box with all four feet. I would jackpot her so long as she kept all four feet inside the box and then stopped treating if one of the feet stepped out. The light bulb really went on for her at that point, so I stopped after a couple of repetitions and didn't push to get a sit or down at this time. We'll play more with the box later!

I brought the dogs into work today to let them blow off steam running around. I figured they deserved it since I left them yesterday at 3:30 p.m., came home for a potty break at 9 p.m. and then didn't get back home until 2:30 a.m. Poor, poor dogs! Although really, I must say that Secret seemed to accept it better than the boys. Boy did they ream me out when I got home! :o)

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