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7 months

 

For everybody getting tired of reading about our plank work, let's talk about tricks again. We didn't do as much of them when at the sea-side as we were focusing on things that need more room, but now that we're back home with too much snow outside that would allow us work on anything outside, it's perfect time to get back to the tricks again.

 

Now that Bi is 7 months, we're starting with some more physically demanding tricks: we started to prolong left/right legs up and started teaching hind/front feet up.

 

I start with sitting up very early with puppies, but only introduce standing up when they're already well muscled. With Bi, I just started yesterday, at 7 months (but then, she was very well muscled as a young puppy already): from starting "sit up" position, I lure her into "stand up" and then ask for "sit up" again - but of course, she still needs to lean against my hand for getting down again, it's not an easy one. But she was impressively good balanced in stand up position for her first lesson ever!

 

I also started with handstand now, but seems like I will need to do a break again since Bi is, as always, jumping steps. She knew to put hind feet on a low object already at 10 weeks or so, but that's all we had done so far, so I again started with a low pillow and in a next step, set two pillows one on each other and set it against the sofa to prevent them from moving. But Bi thought it's somewhat boring to progress in such small steps and offered pushing her hind feet on a sofa immediately. Without any training for height and different objects, she can put hind feet on anything now, including a wall. That's more as I planned for 7 months, so we'll need to think of something else to train now.

 

Yeah, whoever said dogs don't generalize well, s/he has never seen Bi. She is not the fastest dog to get new behaviours, as she always has so many better ideas of her own:), but once she gets it, you can't make her fail anymore. It's the same as with our plank work: she might have been the most persistent puppy to keep jumping on a flat plank that I've ever seen, but after the day she got it, she can't get confused with more angle, different plank or whatever. Unlike most dogs, she had absolutely no problems reproducing the behaviour on a dog-walk, no matter on what point I set her (I was setting her at different points on a purpose, to see if it's just luck or she can actually do all the adjustments necessary to take the last stride from the very end of a plank - and well, she can!) and on whatever dog-walk I set her (in first ten of her trainings on down-ramp of real dog-walk, she has seen 6 different dog-walks - and did the same thing on all of them). She is really unbelievable in that aspect.

 

She is also very funny because after each new trick she masters, she tries to put it in a combination with other tricks. For example after she mastered "three-four" trick (heaving left/right hind leg up), she was heaving hind feet in all other tricks if she could: like when walking backwards, when doing the "ostrich" trick (head between front legs), when shaking, when in 2on2off position etc. - There was always one of the hind legs in the air!

 

Teaching tricks to Bi is really hilarious. The other day, I wanted to teach her a "dead dog" and "roll" tricks and started with "hide your eyes" trick because very often, she shifts to one hip when performing that trick. So basically, I started with clicking shifting to one hip to then tried to shape her to lie more and more on the side. Of course, she first thought I'm still clicking a "hiding" trick, but as soon as she realized this is not the case, she used a hind foot to slide it over her ear and eyes just as she normally does with front foot!!! I first didn't even realize it, I thought she just needed to scratch, but when she did it again, I immediately changed the plan as I never trained that trick before and it looked like more fun as a roll over or a dead dog. Bi obviously agreed too, I think a simple roll over sounded way too easy for such a sophisticated dog!:) It was hilarious when she offered a scratch with both front and hind feet together, so that's where teaching a roll over got us: we might not know to roll over yet, but hey, we've got a double scratch trick!!! When I called a friend to tell her about that one, she commented that I should patent those tricks as noone else can think of a double scratch trick, but hey, it's Bi who did the thinking!
 


Apart from teaching new tricks, we spend lots of time outside enjoying the snow and after we get too cold, playing inside. It's amazing how good friends Bu and Bi got after a bad start of Bu being afraid of the little monster. Now they're all the time either wrestling, chasing or tugging, they're really cute to watch. I think Bi finally has some positive affects on her aunt, Bu does seem more relaxed and started to fight much harder for her toys as she used to. She is not going to win any tug war against Bi any time soon, but she sure is holding on for longer and longer.

We also do some exercises on a ball and play some shaping games with all four of the dogs to keep them mentally and physically active even now that we can't do any agility. Lo did have another seizure because of it again, though, so we do hope for better weather... Soon! 
 

new winter photos and tricks video

 

 

6.5 months

 

Had to hurry up with this update to put on our winter photos! Despite I have to say the dogs are not too impressed by the snow... Lo has the problems with snow balls in her hair, Bu can't understand where did all the sticks go and La prefers warmer climates, she gets cold if too long in the snow.  I was afraid Bi will get cold too, but she is so busy running that she doesn't get cold at all. And she doesn't get any snow balls anywhere, the beauties of smooth coat!

Yeap, we're back home and our plank work is finished now, two months were more than enough to raise the plank AND do some work on turns - here is a short video of the process. I think we could easily get to a normal dog-walk in two weeks (if not working the turns too) - so maybe, this method is not so time consuming afterall!:) We'll wait now with a normal dog-walk as she is still so young and instead concentrate on other things.

We'll do some more cik&cap mini courses now that we have an access to equipement - when a snow melts away, of course... I started to use the bars on the jumps now, but of course very low (about 10cm).

"What are we doing? -  Oh, o.k., I can do that!"

We also already did three sessions with a channel and it went really well. For a first session, my focus was on independent performance: she was running through a channel from one toy to another and I was doing all possible things (staying behind, running diagonal, running and then stopping etc.) to teach her that she shouldn't pay any attention to me while running through a channel. At the same time, I was bringing the channel closer and got close enough that I started with training entries on a second session (for a first session, I always set her straight, 3 or 4 meters from a channel). She had hard time understanding why taking the shortest way isn't o.k., so we couldn't do harder entries, but she then overslept the thing and surprised me with a very good understanding of entries already the next session! We won't be doing much waeves now as we have no space here, but I'm very happy with how far we got in three sessions! She is pretty good with entries already, runs through the whole channel (it's just as wide that she fits in now, so that she doesn't need to actually weave yet) and chases a ball that I throw (I only used a stationary toy at the end of the first two sessions).

For everybody, asking how are her ears those days - they're still living their own life. They are keeping all the options open - the three photos below were taken within the same couple of minutes:

   

more winter photos

 

 

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