Friday, February 24, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Perhaps I should have gone for "Eau de Ewe"?

Chan and I have finished our Nosework II class. Oddly, one of the main realizations I gained from the class was about Chan's interactions with toys. More specifically, I discovered that getting him to play with me when a toy is involved was more difficult than I thought it would be. Not being able to use a toy as a reward limits my training options.

I'm not sure how this happened. He'll pounce on a squeaky toy...as long as it is his idea. He won't even consider romping after any toys in the house...unless they are thrown down the hall. In that case he might retrieve a few times. I used to pay Chuckit with him, but I had to stop a year ago because I found that zooming and bounding after a bouncing ball was causing him to strain his hips. He's still a wiz at water retrievals, but finding anything else he really LOVES to do has been difficult, and I can't drag a pond with me everyplace.

So I decided to try a couple of new toys that might help him get motivated. One of these was an udder tug. These are basically the rubber liners used on milking machines recycled into a dog toy by threading a rope through them. Dogs are really supposed to like the authentic scent of cow on them.

...and then there is Chandler.

He took one sniff of the toy on the carpet, backed up ten feet, and shot me a "What the *bleep* is THAT?!?" look.

It was hilarious, but not the reaction I was hoping for.

He was one of the more cautious pups in his litter. I spent his first two years socializing him through fear periods where I would encourage him to investigate "scary" objects. It has worked out very well; a veterinary technician told me last week that she was surprised to hear that he'd had confidence issues. The udder tug was apparently an unexpected challenge. I haven't seen Chandler's caution demonstrated so clearly for a long while.

I'll have to give him some more time with the toy. The only stock he's ever worked with are sheep. I don't think he's ever actually seen a cow, so maybe the scent was too strange for him.

It's evil I tell you, evil!



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lessons from Nosework

Unfortunately, it has not been practical to get footage of Chan's nosework classes.
I'm busy handling Chan, and the instructor is busy teaching me.
Where is a stray cameraman when you need one?

However, I am learning a lot of useful things.

1. Chandler focuses better when he is on lead. If he's not, he tends to rush around frantically.

2. Chandler seems to like to do searches at 90 mph. I need to work on slowing him down so he can concentrate.

3. Chandler's main reward is food, and I need to work to expand on that. Somehow he has become not very toy motivated. I knew he really wasn't into tugging, but it surprised me that he had little interest in bouncing after a tennis ball or squeaky toy unless it was his idea.

Friday, February 3, 2012