a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Boost Progress Report N-plus-1

Friday, June 16, 2006

Boost Progress Report N-plus-1

SUMMARY: Contacts coming along. Knocking bars.

I've actually been spending time (not a lot, but noticeably more than before) working with Boost on nose touches on contacts. She'd doing really good on the dogwalk. I can now put her at the top of the down ramp and release her and she rushes to the bottom to do a nose touch to the target. For some reason she does it beautifully going down the right-hand ramp (in my yard) but tends to spin all 4 feet off going down the left-hand ramp, so I've had to put up a barrier on the far side of that end of the ramp, and then she's fine.

I don't have my A-frame set up, so we haven't been practicing that.

My adjustable teeter is so hard to adjust (I thought I'd broken my finger the last time I did it and missed my getting-fastener-in-correctly roll), so I've just been doing half-teeters, with the back end propped up so the other end is only a few inches off the ground, then placing her at the pivot point and letting her run down there. She's slower than on the dogwalk. Because she startled a little bit in class 2 or 3 weeks ago when the teeter slammed a bit, I've just been playing with her next to the teeter and making it bang louder and louder and praising and playing and/or treating when she just ignores it, and she seemes to be doing very well with that.

In class this week, we did entirely jumping in a double-box setup. She's making a lot of really wide turns, and Nancy says it's both my timing on turns (thought I'd gotten it down with my other fast dog) and her inexperience. So I need to set up some double boxes, but I don't have room in my yard unless I finally tear out that lilac shrub, but of course there are also nice flowers planted all around it, mostly spring bulbs, so I'd want to dig them out, too, and figure out where else to put them, and then that part of the yard will look REALLY naked... so it's more work than simply removing the shrub (and its roots...).

But also she's knocking bars a lot. I've had a single box set up in my yard quite often (BTW--a jump box is just four jumps arranged in a square, maybe 8 to 10 feet across, because you can practice all kinds of turns and seqences in and around the box), but it's apparently not enough. So I also need to do more and more of the simple do-a-jump-and-keep-the-bar-up-for-a-reward lessons, which I have been doing with her because she started knocking bars pretty early, but I guess I just need to do tons more of.

So much to do, so little time! And energy!

For next week I'm supposed to either teach her to run to a large target (phone book) and put both front feet on it, or run to do a nose touch to an elevated nose target--I think I'll do the latter. If I remember, I'll take my nose target with me this weekend.

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