Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Accidental Post

I didn’t mean to write a blog post for B’s second day in class. I didn’t think it’d be interesting. We’ve done lots of school day posts, and they’re all went to school, did stuff, came home. Not to mention all the times we went to class and I didn’t blog about it. Reactive dog training is boring (if you’re lucky) and time consuming and generally not worth writing about. But Rubi and I had a few good moments yesterday, and I wanted to share them with you.

The highlight of the day came before we even got in the car. When I got home from work, I took Rubi to our favorite park to run some energy off. I made a fifty foot long line a few weeks ago, and I’ve been using it regularly to take Rubi new places for “off leash” practice. Yesterday, I took Rubi’s squeaky ball along to practice fetch and rile/recovery and running around like a goon. Remember, never be afraid to look stupid for your dog.

This is my 50' long line. I am proud because I made it and it's awesome and I usually have all the crafting 
skills of a retarded monkey with no thumbs

While we were playing ball, a lab walked by the park with its owner. The dog was on leash and about a block away. Not being on the pass up a training opportunity, I stopped Rubi and had her sit in heel, our official dog watching position.

She looked at the other dog.

She looked at me. I gave her a treat.

She looked at the other dog.

She looked at me. I gave her a treat.

Then she popped out of heel position and pranced in front of me to lay down, which is B speak for, “PUH-lease, pleaseplease, throw the ball.”

Do you see how awesome this is?

Rubi turned her back on another dog to play with me. So I threw the ball for her. In the opposite direction from the other dog, of course. Rubi ran the ball down and ran back to me. The she ran passed me. She stopped about ten feet toward the other dog and paused to watch him for a moment (remember, Rubi had a whole fifty feet of line).

“Rubi,” I reminded her, “bring it here.”

She gives me a full body wiggle, and then she brings me the ball. And then we play fetch like there's totally not another dog anywhere near her.

How cool is that? She has a threshold. She can act like a normal, sane, relaxed dog. Just chillin', playin' some fetch, yo. This from a dog who, when I got her, couldn't see another dog half a mile away and not flip out and scream like a velociraptor (did velociraptors scream? they do now).

It's hard to top this little accomplishment, but Rubi tried when we went to class and Rubi didn't care one iota about there being other dogs in the room. Boo-ya. I know she noticed them. Every once in a while, she would twitch an ear when L would bark or glance over when she heard J's tags jingle. But she didn't let them distract her from her mission: getting ALL the treats. Even when I set her up to see the other dogs, she blew them off in favor of whatever behavior she thought would get me to interact with her more. She wasn't as chilled out relaxed as she was last week, but she was really into working, so I'm not going to complain. We still did a lot of the relaxation protocol, but we also spent a fair amount of time "finding things for B to do." This is the circumstance that usually leads to some of my dogs' most, ahem, creative tricks.

See exhibit A

Rubi is my experiment dog. I spend a fair amount of time training her to do things that I need the other dogs to do reliably. Things that I'm not sure the best way to train. So I practice on Rubi. As a result, Rubi can scoot (Allister - disc), follow a scent (Maus - nosework), do a formal broad jump (Piper - obedience), and a few other random sport exercises. For example, two on - two off (Allister - agility). Since we had a handy A-frame, we spent some time working on that. 

Oh, did I mention that we didn't use the Gentle Leader except to get in and out of the building? We also working on heeling, crating, touch and mat work, among other things. After class, we went to McDonald's because B is awesome and deserves good things. 


  1. YAY!!!!!!!! That totally deserved a blog post!! What awesome accomplishments, and what a COOL dog!!

  2. Gosh, I would love it if my Lola ever got to that point. One day....