Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Dogs communicate through body language, postures and facial expressions... obviously. This morning attested to that fact when Seek and I had a funny moment of innocence. I woke up with Seek curled up in my arms. She turned around, excited I was awake, and started to sniff my face. I stuck my tongue out at her. She pulled her head away and stared at me with bewilderment, ears raised up, cocked head. It was a very cute face. The best part was yet to come... Seek, with her mouth closed, stuck her tongue out at me!! I kid you not, her tongue came about an inch and a half out of her mouth. I busted out laughing, which of course she then put it away. Too funny!! I tried to get her to do it again, no dice.
Later in the day we headed out to Fido's Farm for some agility training. Seek is really pulling it together. She has come a long way. I stopped using treats all the time for reward. I decided to start using her favorite thing as a reward, her ball. This worked so well, I thought why didn't I use the ball before!!?? I taught her weave poles in one day. I had been working on weaves for almost a year. Now she can do 12 weave poles (20 in.). It's incredible. I have only trained with the weaves maybe 4 times since I brought out the ball. She desires the ball so badly it made her learn the weaves. Also today was the first time she had control on the teeter. She had always launched herself off of it. My friend Jeff was at Fido's with his red bc Emma. She is going to be a star. So I asked Jeff to help me with Seek and the teeter. I stood at one end to hold the teeter and slowly let it down. It was very strange, Seek just all of a sudden knew how to do the teeter today. She went up it, got on a perfect pivot point and let it come down and got into a touch position (she is still learning touches, almost there). I couldn't believe it. It's like she just decided this week to be perfect in agility. With her touches, she will do a touch on any side of a board. I can have her plant her back feet and pivot from left to right without moving. The hard part is getting her to touch when she is in motion, running through the obstacles. She will even back her feet onto a touch on her own when we play touch games. She knows her job. She is just so fast that stopping is painful to her (not physically, but emotionally), she just wants to go go go. "Stopping is the boring part mom!!"
Yesterday Seek had her second session on sheep. She did so well. I am learning too. She is almost ready to be out of the puppy pen. She has another puppy lesson and then hopefully she will be ready for the field. I think she can do it. She has amazing control of herself and listens well to commands. We are working on her downs while around the sheep. She is so intense though, she slowly goes down ready to pop up in an instance. I have worked with her down stays at a distance. She does these well... not so much around the sheep yet. She won't move, but I have to touch her leg before she obeys. Her favorite thing to do is play fetch. I can have her stay (standing, sitting or laying down), throw the ball several hundred feet away, then tell her "ok" when she can fetch. During this I can say "leave it" and she will immediately stop and wait for another "ok" before fetching the ball. She is so smart. That's what's great about border collies, they are so eager to please... how many dogs can you stop in motion??