Dominic is one smart little cookie and I am having a blast working with him. I am constantly blown away by his focus and attention span! So much so that I periodically have to remind myself that he's not even quite four months old yet and I need to make sure that I don't burn out the puppy!
A couple days ago, because why not. I decided to pull out the metal obedience article and see what he would do with it. I've had him take the plastic dumbbell a couple of times a few weeks back, but I didn't really want to do a ton with any of the dumbbells until his adult teeth are in. But I decided just to see what he thought of the metal article. I wish that I had recorded the whole session, but when it became evident that he was going to do SOMETHING with it, I turned on the camera. And wouldn't you know it, the little stinker was retrieving it and actually picked it up properly a few different times! :)
So. Stinkin. Cute! The metal article video naturally got me wanting to capture more of the things that we've been working on. Next up was Dominic's progress with the 2 on 2 off position. This is something that I was aiming to shape, since I've got the time. Of course, it only took him about three sessions to get a pretty solid seeming understanding of what I was asking for. Here's the very first shaping session with him at 10 weeks old:
I had a bit of a brain fart at the beginning of the video. I hadn't thought about what I was wanting to start rewarding him for before plunking myself down. So I had to take a moment before realizing that I should be rewarding him for the fact that he offering interaction with the FitBone. Novel concept. ;) From there we picked up more steam and I was really happy with how he did. Not only that, but I he showed really good focus with a bunch of his toys strewn about the carpet. Good puppy! Yesterday I decided to do a third session of this, but using the aerobic step this time.
He's such a good puppy! Now I'll start slowly adding in bits of difficulty. Probably starting with me increasing my distance from the aerobic step. I'll probably also bring out the dog ramp that I have and practise a little with him on that. He's just so much fun!!
Miley has a different take on doing 2 on 2 off when we train in the house. Ideally, I want the dogs to learn to search for this position with their back feet. Which means trying to shape them to back up into position. Moving forward into this position is a lot simpler. But teaching them to FIND this position is the trick. Miley does not want to back into position regardless of what object I use or how I try to manipulate my position or treat placement to make backing up the quickest and easiest physical movement to do. She's stuck in a similar pattern of circling (I'm assuming to visually place the object) and then searching for the object with her rear right foot. I'm not sure if this is something that will get better as we're able to build confidence or if this is just a Miley thing. I'm working with her on the aerobic step outside of doing the 2 on 2 off position, to build up her confidence on it in general and I'm hoping that will help. Here's where we're currently at:
Working, working, working. On the upside, Miley is kicking some ass at left turns and I actually have her heeling sideways with me! The sideways heeling is still a little sloppy, but I'm really excited at how on it she is with these movements in particular. When we work on heeling, there's this light in her eyes when she locks on to me that's totally addicting to see!