Java's Breakthrough???

Training Java has really had me stumped.  She obviously does not really care for food but certainly is starting to enjoy our training sessions.  I no longer have to pop her in the middle of my other dog's sessions for 30 seconds just to get her to do something.  As long as I don't spend too much time on any one behavior, I hold her attention most days for my entire training session (5-15minutes).

But training wise I have been really struggling on getting her to do a retrieve.  At the facility I had finally gotten her to mouth an object after weeks of struggling with glances, then lots of foot touches, noses, and finally open mouths.  At my house things have progressed much faster but I still could not get her to bring an object to me.  Actually all I had gotten was the opposite, pick up an object and back up!  I tried running backwards (she would drop it), leaning or taking 1 step backwards (she still move backed), shoving my hand under her (more backing), a large bucket underneath to maybe start with a "clean up" (backing up faster!), my trusty take from hand and turn game (drops immediately), starting with the item in front of me (flings it away from me), and the object in front of the bucket (stands in the bucket happily).  On the positive side I was getting more of a hold out of her in this process, albeit a mouthy one.

But the last two sessions she seems to have made a very tiny breathrough!  She let me put my hand under her mouth without backing up and even started to take a tiny step towards me with the item!  Fingers crossed that she has stopped toying with me and is going to play my game.  She certainly isn't stupid so I don't know why it's been so hard to  communicate with her!

Her other training is going ok.  Not great, but she is making faster progress.  Her favorite thing to do is pivoting on the bowl and we are currently doing very tiny pivots in heel.  We also have a very tiny tug that is just strong enough to open my light, very easy to open, cabinets.  And a light nudge to a target taped on a drawer.

Basic manners is something that is going much much faster with her!  Java is doing awesome at loose leash walking, even at the agility trial with dogs everywhere!  She was always a nut at the puppy raiser classes, but I think all our attention work and treats shoved down her throat every step of walking has been paying off!  I forgot treats for the dogs on Sunday at the trial, but Java still did awesome!

Amy / Layla the Malamute  – ( October 13, 2010 at 12:20 AM )  

Good luck figuring out her retrieve! At least she had a bit of a breakthrough - it'll make the final achievement so much sweeter.

Ninso  – ( October 13, 2010 at 1:16 PM )  

Go Java! Why does the formal retrieve seem to be so difficult all the time? Java sounds even more difficult than most.

Muttsandaklutz  – ( October 15, 2010 at 7:48 PM )  

Way to go Java! Great news. That photo is freaking adorable.

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