Oh, how quickly they grow up. In just half a year Java doesn’t behave like a baby dog any more. She always had wonderful focus so even when she was little it was easy to forget that she’s just a puppy, but now there really is no difference if I’m training with her or with Ruby. I just need to remember their different preferences for rewards and the rest is the same.
The only big thing that we still need to cover is working with other dogs as a distraction which we haven’t really done since puppy class. We went to a new training place today just to do some Gimme A Break game (Leslie McDevitt, Control Unleashed) and Java was brilliant, so I think this will be pretty easy, at least until the dogs are running 😉
Ruby is happy to go for longer walks these days since his toe is better and working more systematically on Recallers games. It’s quite amazing how he can tell if I’m working with him just to keep his mind occupied or if I have a purpose. He gets more excited, more engaged when I’m working on something that matters to me. It must be something I do, but I have no idea what it is. Or perhaps he’s mirroring my own excitement? Now that I think of it that sounds like the most likely explanation.
These days we’re brushing up on “observers manners” – the dog that is not working should lie quietly while the other one works. I let these slide in the past two months and it really shows… oops! My ultimate goal is that the dog that is not working lies down while I’m practicing Cik & Cap with the other which is much, much harder than tricks. We’re starting with staying in a crate and will progress to staying on a sofa, a mat and some day on the ground.
This type of work builds self control which is admittedly not something that I look forward to working on. But good self control is very useful for recalls, so I’m actually reaping double benefits. Not bad for some training that happens while I’m actually working with the other dog! Now that’s a super-productive use of training time if there ever was one 🙂