Cricket before her GOTTCHA DAY:
Today is my birthday and we just celebrated Crickets GOTTCHA DAY!!! I met my little pumpkin in person when I picked her up from the airport the Friday before Thanksgiving last year.
I had never got a dog I had not been able to cuddle and pick before, and at the time I had not met any of the dogs from Hillcrest where Cricket came from.
ON the day I went to pick Cricket up I had to wait for HOURS for her to get to the cargo area so I could pick her up. When they let me go back to get her I will never forget that first site I had of her, with her little freckles looking anxiously out of the crate. She was so cute, not how I thought she would look but sooo cute.
I grabbed the crate and put it in the car, I had staked out a nice grassy area and had brought an xpen so I zipped to the grassy area and got my xpen set up and went to let Cricket out to potty. Poor puppy was covered in Diarrhea, her mat was soaked. Cricket was not going to go on the ground, she snuggled and cuddled into my neck and would not move for about five minutes. As soon as she felt like someone was going to take care of her she got down and started tugging. It was like she was ready to begin the new chapter of her life.
WHAT ARE WE WORKING ON NOW?
I have been very bad, I have lots of videos of our work but a lot of it just seems so boring, even though I think it is huge stuff for us ;-). I am also doing a lot of work at places while my daughter is swimming and that is when it is pitch black so the videos are not great because of that.
Our big things are we are working on the box for a running Aframe. I thought Cricket was ready to start putting the box in a grid...but yesterday she started acting like the box was a broad jump and jumping over it. I reviewed my tapes and I think she was doing that when I stand in the forward position and I think she was reading my position as an extension cue and got a little excited. I think I also was rewarding with just a little too much oomph and forward a little further and put those all together and I think it just excited her too much-she was doing so well and it was really suprising when she started the leaping. ANYWAY, think we will be ready to put the box into grids VERY quickly, but of course I want to make sure the behavior of pouncing in the box is very strong first.
We are working on the 2020 for the dog walk. I have been using parts of Susan Garrett's stair work to teach the position. I go a couple of times a day to a real estate office with stairs outside, and I think that is really helping get a nice pounce into position and a nice weight shift, I am experimenting with the technique Rachel Saunders did in her Clean Run articles where the 2020 is taught without a nose target-she says that helps the dog focus on the position and not confuse that the behavior is just the target/nose touch, and I can deliver treats a little higher up to encourage the weight shift off the shoulders, and then do some dropping food on the ground to reward to encourage a straight position-VERY different then how I taught Chloe the 2020-the last time I worked with that position. I am also working with Elicia Calhoun's on the Board teaching Cricket to body target on a board just big enough for her so she gets a lot of body awareness about where she should be-she is a super star with that work. We are ready to put her 2020 onto the dog walk now that we have the position down and now that the teeter is pretty much trained--we will probably put the position on the dog walk in the next day or two by back chaining.
The teeter is marvelous, I used the Wendy Pape teeter video to break down the teeter into the end behavior, getting her used to the height, learning to square herself up for the entry, so her teeter is looking good.
The Cik/cap turns are very cool, it has really helped us work on object discrimination without the agility obstacles so we can get that really fast, happy before we add in obstacles. I think that cik/cap work is doing really great things for developing object focus and confidence.
As far as handling I have been working through the Linda M jumping book and series of articles and yesterday Cricket was able to do a full little sequence and considering we have not done a lot of actual sequences, she is amazing so far at reading everything.
Of course we have been working on sends to the tunnel and table and around the world with the tunnel, she does really well with all of that and it really helps when we are learning new sequences because I can stick a table or tunnel to help get some fantastic drive forward using them like giant targets.
I am feeling a little scattered and like we have so many things going at one time that I am looking forward to the weaves....but want to get the aframe box work to a grid first. I am going to do the 2x2, and am considering using a few of the variations from the recent Mary Ellen Barry article about 2x2 training in Clean Run. She does a lot more entry work at the 2 pole stage, which seems like it might develop a little more value for that entry and those first poles which are so crucial.
Anyway, I will try to get some video soon. Today for my birthday Breeze and I are heading down to the vet. Hopefully I can find a new park or place where Cricket, Breeze and I can do a little work/play and of course we will have to stop at the doggie boutique ....think it will be a good day.
Cricket at six months: