The adventures of SD Juno and SDIT Kaline (and their human, Colt).

31 August 2012

Training games and outings

Kaline got quite the workout yesterday—lots of individual attention at training, because I am already trying to cram him for the CGC on September 17.
Kaline and Juno with our addition for the day, Rocky. He is the only designer poodle-mix I actually enjoy working. Such a love!!

Before training, we had a fairly amusing encounter on our big Palo Alto pack walk. Amusing to me, anyway. We were about to cross the street (me and five dogs) when we saw two people, each getting yanked along by a Boxer in a harness. Each human had the leash wrapped several times around his or her fist, which is unsafe in general but seemed like a supremely bad idea in this case. Clearly the Boxers were not under control, so we remained a safe distance behind and I treated Kaline frequently for looking to me, instead of the dogs.

Then we heard a commotion up ahead—a white fluffy purse rat, at the end of its leash and also in a completely ineffective harness, was yapping and lunging at the two Boxers, whose owners were still a leash-length away and trying to hold their dogs back. Finally, the dogs were all extricated; the yapper was silenced momentarily. Then the puntable turned and saw my five dogs, waiting beside me (I sure wasn't wading into that mess).

It looked at us consideringly, taking in a breath. I looked at the dog (not the owners, so they'd take it as a semi-joke) and said, "Don't even THINK about it." The owners pulled the tiny reactive beast to the side and we passed unscathed. I was just amused that this dog was willing to take on the Boxers but not my guys. Hehe.

I ran Kaline through most of his paces at training, with a lot of emphasis on loose-leash walking. To some people that implies the dog can have all six feet of leash, as long as he's not pulling. To me, it means Kaline needs to walk beside me, but doesn't have to have precise positioning or watch my face constantly, just check in periodically. I made lots of turns and zigzagged all over the place, which usually seems to get him in the rhythm.

We also worked on his retrieving; he's picking up the objects and (mostly) bringing them back reliably, so now Freddie has me walking off while he has the toy, and trying to get him to walk with me while holding on to it. Not much of a problem so far for the Doberman Retriever! Hurrah. Other areas we focused on were: spontaneous eye contact; remote sits and down; flip finishes; and turns in place (also known as the Finding Heel Game).

I came home to find that San Mateo County hadn't issued Kaline's SD tag (they don't differentiate between SDs and SDITs) because I was not specific enough about how he does his tasks (or will do them). I don't know how much more specific than "retrieves dropped items" they really need, but I was pretty angry, since I had sent in Juno's paperwork the same way and gotten the tag without issues. So I typed up two full pages in condescending detail of how each task is performed, and sent it off. Then to cool down, Kaline and I accompanied Mom to two grocery stores.

Again, we were working a lot on walking nicely and on spontaneous attention. I didn't try to stop him from air scenting or looking around, because unlike Juno, it's not like he's been in a bunch of grocery stores before. It's all pretty new to him, so it's understandable he would do that. We just were quick and positive, lots of treats for looking at me and keeping pace with me.

At the first store, we got one of those people who ask prying questions. I now have stock answers for most of those. We got to the one that is so annoying: "You don't look disabled." I replied, "Not all disabilities are visible." She responded by patting me as if I were a small child and cooing, "It's okay, you're doing just fiiiiiiiine." I restrained myself from smacking her.

Next store we got an absolutely lovely woman who couldn't stop complimenting Kaline on his handsomeness and his lovely manners. She had never seen a Doberman with natural ears before and though he looked so nice. Win.
Kaline not sniffing candy at Draeger's.

Today we worked more on the remote down, and Kaline didn't realize it, but we were really working on a foundation for his drop on recall!

Juno and I couldn't play the game properly at the special class, because I didn't have a toy for her (we just used a marker word and treats). But tonight Kaline was all rambunctious, so we went down to play fetch, and I got the marvelous idea of playing the drop game with him.

He caught on really fast that raising my hand means I want him to lie down (he's also pretty much got it that the verbal cue, regardless of hand signal, means down). So I'd pretend to throw the toy, then shoot my hand in the air, give the verbal cue, and he'd drop. And then you throw the toy behind them, they fetch it, and you start the game again. It worked like a charm! We had a great time and he got re-tired out. (Re-tired because they had three pack walks in the morning.)
On our third pack walk, a pretty one.

The pups have basically been chilling today since the walks, except for the fetch session with Kaline. He was awesome at our tdoc appointment, settling nearly as fast as Juno!
At our tdoc appointment (the office is dog friendly, so they only wear vests occasionally).

Oh, and I will post a video of this at some point: Kaline chews hard things like an old man with bad dentures, and it is hilarious. It's because he's losing and growing teeth all the time. His lower jaw does this funny quivering thing as he tries to get the food between whatever teeth are available. My mom does an excellent impression of it.

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