After a Trazodone-free night, I feel much better physically. We had two walks this morning, and on the second one, as we were in the little home-stretch, Juno's prong collar just popped off. It has a loose link, so it does that sometimes. Since it's on Juno, I don't worry. And clearly, I don't need to. When the collar fell to the ground, Juno hesitated a little, waiting for me to reel in the leash. Since we were close to "home" (Jett's house), I didn't even try to put it back on her. She stayed perfectly in position without her leash, keeping all three boys—Max, Kaline and Jett—in line as usual. Sped up, slowed down, all perfectly in step with me, all the way there. I was very gleeful!
Training was really good today as well. Freddie returned from the East Coast shows with a new car magnet for me—a silhouette not just of a Doberman, but a natural-eared Doberman! So exciting.
Kaline worked before Juno, and Freddie worked on proofing his down. I had a stuffing-less ferret of some kind, and Freddie had various balls; Kaline had to hold his down-stay or sit-stay while both Freddie and I in turn tried to distract him and make him break with the toys. He only broke once! Sometimes there was no warning when Freddie would throw something either.
Kaline did a beautiful figure eight (I remembered not to look down!). Freddie loves how elegant he looks when he's not being a galumphy pup, haha. Then he got to work on fun retrieves with the ferret, and finally he had his first hold and out session. You gently open his mouth and insert something to hold, in this case a tennis ball bumper, saying, "Hold." Then you keep one hand under his chin to keep his mouth closed, and put the other on the back of his head, where most Dobes have a knob (Kaline doesn't). Then you just kinda wait till he relaxes and holds the object calmly without chomping it or rolling it around. Once you get that, you put one hand on either end of the object, not pulling on it, and say, "Out." Most dogs, when you actually ask them to hold something, don't really want to do it, so they'll immediately let go and back their mouth off the object—exactly what you want when you say out. Kaline did that part perfectly every time. He'll get the hang of hold pretty fast, I think.
After Kaline, I got out Juno. She got to be a post while Peter did figure eights, and then when it was her turn to do it off leash, she went over by Freddie's chair, picked up the "tuff" toy that looks like a flattened doughnut, and handed it to me. I thanked her, then tossed it back to the chair. Whereupon she got it again. So I told her hold and we did the off-leash figure eight—all with the toy in her mouth! She looked so freaking cute. She did an even better off-leash figure eight without it though, haha. She then did perfect fabulous recalls alongside Peter. And then we got to do retrieves.
First we did formal retrieves, with Juno having to wait for me to send her to get the toy, then having to return to front with it, give it to me, then return to heel. So good, so cute. I took a couple videos, none of which were great because Juno gets a little confused when I hold the phone at her. Then we just did fun retrieves with the tennis ball bumper, and she had a total blast. She will only fetch if there are no other dogs around—I don't know why, but Juno will never refuse to give up a toy to another dog (that includes Kaline, and did even when he was very tiny). She was panting and grinning by the end and I just loved her up and told her she's the best dog in the whole world.