Thursday, April 01, 2010

Time to fasten the seat belt!

Yes, another post-Wednesday night private lesson blog post.

Life with Ghilley (and Robbie) is great.  I must say that I absolutely love and adore my dogs.  I spend a heck of a lot of time just looking at them.  Hey, who wouldn't, they're cute as hell?

Ghilley will turn 10 months old soon (April 7th).  She is starting to put some things together with training.

However, I am noticing other things that while they were cute before, I am not so sure I like them now.

Ghilley gives a little yodel or various cute little sound effect when she wants something.  I look at her with an adoring face and while I do not give into her demand for something, I have unwittingly given her positive feedback by an eye contact reward and sometimes a verbal acknowledgement by just talking to her.

It played itself out last night when, much to my frustration, I was unable to get her to hold still in even a 2-second sit-stay to handle a jump sequence.  When Dee ( and I then shifted to a simple opposition reflex training with us sitting on the floor, Ghilley demonstrated that she truly lacks impulse control.  When we had stopped reinforcing and were just reviewing things, little Ghilley (resembling Veruka from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory") started vocalizing her displeasure with our "non-activity" and rolled over (like a crocodile in its "death roll") a few times to get our attention.

Immediately Dee looks across to me (sitting on the floor as well) and says, "Do not look at her or acknowledge her until she is quiet".  Almost on cue, Ghilley tries to engage Dee's attention and Dee has her head turned sideways.  I am honestly trying not to laugh as I watch my little cutie girl literally have a temper tantrum right in front of us.

Wow!  I have created this, I thought, ashamed of myself a little more as I realize just how behind schedule I feel with her.  I mentioned that out loud to Dee, saying I feel like I have failed a bit as I invariably compare Ghilley to MacDuff & Robbie at her age.

Dee waves me off, unwilling to hear it.  "Every dog is different.  You cannot compare them."

Ghilley is different.  She definitely has problem-solving naughtiness in her like Robbie does.  But she is different from my boys, too.

About two months ago, Dee mentioned walking them separately to work with Ghilley one-on-one.  Given winter conditions, work schedules and, honestly, a bit of laziness too, I only did this on a limited basis.

Well, for the next few weeks I am going to have to regiment things.  Toys up (and everything else of value) to limit resources and we get serious about things.

Her little noises have developed into an ear-splitting bark, at times.  She also translates it to being noisy in her crate at classes.  Neither of these are behaviors I want.

Also, I am unwilling to contend with barking so loud I have to wear earplugs like the last time I vacuumed.  So we have to make the vacuum cleaner of little value.  Robbie knows how to lay down on the couch during this time.  Ghilley is going to work towards laying on a mat.

Currently, I find the behaviors frustrating but they have not pushed me towards anger, yet.  We want to nip this now so that it does not translate to that and hurt what I expect to be a great relationship.


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