Saturday, July 11, 2009

Finally, something to blog about!

So, I haven't been doing much training, and while I did go to Dog Scout Camp, that just seemed much too wordy to blog about...and I was way too tired when I got home, and apparently for weeks afterward...anyway, it's got to say something about me that I finally found something to get jazzed up about enough to get my lazy ass over here to post something. I know, you're thinking, what could be more exciting than Dog Scout Camp, where Tori jumped twice her height in the high jumping competition (known as the Puissance Jump) to be the first dog to earn the newly created badge....or where Pirate learned to jump off the end of the dock....where I got to spend two whole weeks thinking about nothing other than dogs?!? Well, something is more exciting than, when I fed the dogs breakfast, Tori delivered me not one, but all four of the dogs' bowls to my hand.

A little backstory....for some reason I am totally obsessed with the idea of having a dog that will bring you the dog dishes. This may be because of my inherent laziness, and hating having to crawl in the back of crates to grab the bowls....or the Chesapeake Bay Retriever I used to take care of that brought me her bowl....but, whatever the reason, I've always dreamed of owning a dog who did that. Well, the Chessie did it because of her natural love to retrieve, and her love of food, and in her mind bringing me the food bowl just sped up the whole process of eating, so why not? Pirate loves to retrieve, but he does not love to that's right out. Shadow loves to eat, but does not love to retrieve, sigh. Layla will have none of that nonsense....but, I thought, Tori had promise. I clicker trained her to retrieve a bowl to my hand, and she was doing pretty well, but has not refined the skill (she's just learning that having her paw in the bowl is counterproductive to picking it up). I haven't worked on the behavior for quite a while (since camp back in May), and wasn't really expecting her to do it.

I went to feed the dogs this morning, and Layla was doing her typical "she finally understood what all my whining was about" dance, and just trying to see how wound up I could get her (great for training, I know...) I was encouraging her to grab her bowl, thinking she might just be desparate enough for food that she'd consider it. Tori was sitting in her crate waiting for her food, and she suddenly said to herself "Damn it! I know how to pick up a bowl" and in her typical Hermione attitude, decided to show Layla how it's done. OK, so the first one was kind of rough, but it was a bigger bowl than she'd worked with, so I praised her for putting it in her mouth, even though she was still standing on the other edge. I then encouraged her to get all the other bowls, and she picked each of them up and gave them to me. I was so excited....this was actually worth sharing with you...

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