Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Blogmas Day 14 - Miley, More Distraction Training

And the award for Most Fun Dog To Heel With goes resoundingly to Miley!  I realize that it will be difficult to keep this level of happy enthusiasm from her in the ring where the stress of competition makes things so much different, but in training, OMG!  She is so much fun.  She's RIGHT THERE.  Her left pivots!  Her eye contact!  A GoPro is so much more tempting if I could just capture the look on her face while we're heeling! (lets not talk about the price and priority of my expenditures, which really, are predominantly dog related) THIS is why I love heeling.  That connection, that working as a team.  It's not perfect all of the time, but when it's clicking, it's like a damn drug.  I want more of it.  I could spend an entire training session on just heeling so that I could get my fix!  I could go on and on about my love for heeling, but I should probably at least include and explain the video a little before I get too off track. ;)

Both aisles in Miley's video are cold aisles.  I set the camera up prior to her having time to acclimate to that specific area.  She's been doing this for a little while, so my expectations of her are higher than they are of Dominic.  In the first aisle, a bagged food area, I started out asking her to work and she started out right on it.  But you can see that she's a little more easily distracted by the environment than usual.  Or maybe I should say, I can see that her attention is more easily pulled away from me than it usually is.  The one thing that I will add is that she was very wound up when we went to the pet store.  After a weekend of being left home while I took Dominic to the dog show and then I ran around to other no-dog events, she was REALLY pent up.  She was more likely to startle at things and she was more likely to lose focus.  Which is good information to have.  The week leading up to a trial, I need to make sure that I'm on top of her exercise regimen so that she's not ready to climb the walls.  Again, though, slack leash and no leash corrections when she loses focus.  I want her focus on me to hold up regardless of the situation.  It's not there yet, but it has some moments of awesomeness.

The next aisle we're in, I set the camera up and then recorded her little acclimation period.  Miley has a much more obvious way of showing that she's ready to work.  If standing in front of me and giving me attention doesn't work, then she swigs into heel position where she will always be rewarded.  I am really happy with her understanding of this.  Again, some moments of distraction (the video is "cut" where there are lengthier periods of time where we're out of frame), but she comes back.  You can also see initially how she gets a little uncomfortable in tight quarters where we're heeling in between the support beam and the side of the aisle (the reason why I picked this aisle), but she gets more comfortable with repeated passes.  I need to work her more on ring entrances, but she's already improving on this.  Overall, I'm happy with the direction that we're going.

As I'm writing this post, Portland is currently experiencing a bit of a Snowpocalypse.  In the Willamette Valley we see usually only one day a year of any sort of snow accumulation.  When that happens, the city and surrounding area shuts down.  People are having the joyous experience of having a homeward commute that would usually take less than an hour, taking more than three, to give you perspective.  Nothing gets done to the roads and people get a little panicky from lack of experience driving in these conditions.  I drove my truck and usually feel pretty comfortable driving in it while it's in 4-wheel drive, regardless of the driving conditions.  Until today when I somehow managed to lose traction while slowly stopping for a light rail crossing.  That was an adrenaline rush that I didn't really need.  The roads appear to be slicker than I thought.  But I made it home without incident and thankfully without the lengthy homeward commute that a lot of people I know are currently experiencing.  Shortly I'll take the dogs out to burn off some energy because they are driving me freaking nuts and all I really want to do is curl up on the couch with some wine and watch Christmas movies.  Dogs.  I tells ya!

Happy December 14th!

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