Great training session with Lacey last night. She was introduced to the long line and given a few minutes to learn how to navigate without getting tangled in it, and to learn its 20-foot boundary. Then, we got down to business and started working her on her heel, sit, sit-stay, down-stay, and recall. She had to perform all of these exercises while dealing with the distractions of other dogs being walked nearby, as well as the very loud noise of what sounded like a remote-controlled toy. Considering that this was her first time working on a long line, she did a fantastic job of all of it.
Tanya was unable to take part in the physical exercise, so I set her up in a camp chair I had in my car. Using the long line, I gave her the leash handle and then walked Lacey to the end of the lead. Tanya then called Lacey to her, and Lacey obeyed immediately. She even went into a sit position at Tanya’s feet without being told to. This recall exercise is important, as Lacey is going to have to learn how to work with walkers, wheelchairs, electric scooters, and the like on a frequent basis.
When she is working with Tanya, Lacey follows beautifully, she obeys commands immediately, and she seldom vocalizes. When she is working with a different handler, however, she presents a different story. She vocalizes more, she’s not as quick to obey, and she doesn’t follow as well, even when the leash is relaxed. During the session last night, she required several minor corrections to bring her into line, and she vocalized quite loudly each time. She was more interested in smelling the ground and trying to eat things that smelled good to her than she was in paying attention. I made several sudden changes in both direction and pace, and because she wasn’t paying attention, she was caught completely off guard. She became quite vocal about that and had to be corrected for that.
Lacey is a very challenging dog to work with. I haven’t had a challenge like her in years, and it’s quite refreshing. Not only does she challenge me to find different ways of using standard methods, she also helps me keep in mind the fact that every dog is unique, and that standard methods must always be open to modification. She is really quite an awesome teacher; she’s exuberant and excitable, and she tests the rules, boundaries, and limitations put on her almost constantly. But this is how she teaches, and even when she’s not having a great day, working with her is a real joy.
Lacey is actively being prepared for her CGN test. What an incredible journey this is going to be…