Meds- Take 2

Unfortunately for us Vito's anxiety has actually increased while on Clomipramine.  He has been on it for 25days and was on Alprazolam (Xanax) for 17days but that was having zero effect. 

The Ugly

The biggest difference we have noticed is that Vito has become a nervous wreck while crated at the obedience club and at trials.  We have worked very hard and this has always been one area where Vito has seemed normal.  As long as he was crated in a high traffic area Vito has been comfortable with being left in a crate for up to 2 hours with out being checked on.  But the past month it has all changed and now Vito is back to whining and trembling when crated even if I am sitting a foot away. 

The Bad
Vito's appetite has also decreased and he wasn't that food motivated to begin with.  We were supposed to start feeding him out of food dispensing toys and leaving him alone while eating.  In theory the food toys would require more engagement and keep his brain busier than just chewing on bones.  Well Vito has zero interest in eating his stuffed kongs while crated at work even though he can see me.  Often he has zero interest period.  He likes his orange food ball but at times will just push it around and ignore the kibble falling out.  The Kong Wobbler is ok but insanely easy to get out food and again he's just not that interested.  Vito likes the Tug a Jug the most but still not enough to eat when he doesn't want.  During training sessions it is not uncommon for Vito to work for the click but refuse the actual food.  Interestingly enough the harder I make what we are working on the more likely Vito is to actually eat the food as a reward.  It's as though he thinks he really earned it so better eat it.

Vito has been sleeping a lot.  I don't know if this is due to the medication or not since I was  honestly worried about him before the medication started.  Hard to say if he is sleeping more now or not.  He certainly isn't bringing me toys and harassing me to play and I can't remember the last time he played tug with Chuckles.

To add to the other changes Vito has been even more reactive.  He's reacting to people in situations that normally wouldn't cause any reaction.  Typically Vito is only reactive in quiet settings when there is a big change in the environment.  Loud dog shows rarely cause outbursts but a person walking into a quiet room and waving does trigger him.  This past month Vito has reacted several times at the busy obedience club and to almost every person entering the building at work.


The Good
On the positive side, we have been resuming our SA protocal and have been doing several short departures that have all gone well.  Most of our absences have been between 10-30min and during ALL Vito has chewed on his bones and has been completely relaxed.  We have done 2 "long" departures of 55min and 75min and Vito was also fine during them. 

I don't know if the goodness has been due to the medications or not as we had worked up to 2.5hrs absences at one point before he started getting worse this past August.  The main difference these past trials is that Vito has been eating his bones everytime we leave them instead of just for 10 minutes.  His longest time of chewing has still been 50minutes which is consistent with his highest time before the meds.  He still has not slept while we were gone which would be HUGE for Vito but he hasn't really been left alone long enough to do so.

At work there has been zero change in anxiety level.  I'm going to put it under the good category since he did not get worse at least :)  Still doesn't want to go in his crate during my training of the other dogs, still stands at the baby gate the entire time he is penned up in my cubicle when I'm gone, but is still not whining.

The Change
Goodbye Clomipramine, hellox Prozac, and welcome back Xanax.  At his recheck appointment today we decided that minimally Clomipramine is not helping Vito regardless of whether it is contributing to the other issues that have started.  We are going to see if Fluoxetine (Prozac) will help him and re continue his Xanax at a higher dose.

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Rally Advanced

Vito showed in Rally this weekend to get legs #1 and #2 in advanced.  He scored perfectly both times, I cost us 11pts.

Saturday:
Started off a bit wide and not 100% focused.  But we got better as we heeled along and by the end I was really happy with how he did.  I cost us a point on an exercise as I did a straight 180 right on a sign instead of making it more wide and ended it directly in front of the next sign.  While trying to adjust I bumped him out of the way and ruined his halt.

Sunday:
Vito was more distracted by the male judge today and wanted to say hi before we started.  I got him back to me right away and he did well once we started except for a quick glance again while still maintaining heel.  Vito was wide and a bit laggy for the first 3 signs but again got better as we went along.  I apparently wanted to cost Vito even more points then yesterday as instead of doing a 270 right I did a 450 left.  Didn't even know I did it wrong until I saw our score!  Oh well!  I was most pleased with my super toy crazy dog doing a nice figure 8 with toys out.  I don't even know if he saw them!  On the video I start Sunday's run right at my mistake, I edited out the first half so I could fit both runs on one video.


Run Throughs
On Friday we came to the open ring time held at the club.  Lance did Utility and I was actually very happy with how he did.  He's been stressing over articles lately so I only put out 2 plus mine and was close to the pile.  No problem there he said!  Took a step on the signal down the first time so I put him back and restarted.  The next down was good, but the sit he took a step so again put him back.  Third attempt was great and I didn't signal the come.  Gloves were nice.  Moving stand was nice.  Go out was perfect!!!!  I was at 2/3 of full distance but it was very straight :)  Lance joined the open group for stays and held both nicely.  I came back to reward the sit around 2.5min and just came back in sight for the down around 4min.  He looked a bit stressed but not too bad and at least he didn't move at all.  Fingers crossed Lance won't have his old stay issues crop back up when we finally go back into open.

Vito did open and we mainly just did a lot of tugging.  He trotted out on both retrieves which is not at all like him.  I didn't want him doing the open stays (at least not until we figure out his medication) so I put him in the novice line up and had him do both sitting.

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Obedience Fun Match

We went to a fun match for obedience on Sunday!  They are very rare in this area but a club has actually decided to host one a month leading up to their April NOI qualifier.

Lance Utility
Lance must have left his brain at home.  He wasn't confident in really any of the exercises.  Heeling was fine, about the same as Saturday's trial and signals were great.

Articles were where we fell apart.  Lance didn't see the pile on our turn and send but did get to it without my help.  Unfortunately he pretty much gave the quickest sniff of the pile ever and started to walk back towards me.  I moved in to help him and still just a quick sniff and staring back at me.  Repeat.   Finally I pick up the right one show him where I put it down and give huge praise for when he brings it back to me.  My 2nd send I am only 4ft from the the pile and I use the same leather article as the first.  He is still hesitant but picks up the right one and I praise as soon as he has it in his mouth.

Glove was #3 and even out pivot sucked.  Normally pivoting left is something he really enjoys but today Lance didn't so much heel with me as wait until I pivoted and then got into position.  He did lock onto the right glove and did pick it up ok.  There was some hesitation on the send as he questioned whether to take the jump but decided to keep going.  On the way back with the glove he again eyed the jump but this time was thinking harder about taking it so I called him to me.

Moving stand was fine except for the major forge during the heeling.

Go outs were crap.  I decided to go 2/3 of the length and while Lance did run out confidently he chose to go to where glove #3 was.  I called him off and ran with him to the center of the ring and then moved back out to halfway to send him again.  Lance still went way off to the right.  I do a 5ft go out straight and then just under half way straight.  I end with putting him in a sit to do the bar jump.

On the positive side all fronts were lovely and some of the finishes.


Vito Open
I was very happy with this run!  Lots of things to work on but I loved the attitude he was giving me.  It was Vito's 2nd time doing an open run through.

Vito started off with a bit of a lag but I speed up and call him and he does the rest of the heeling pretty nicely.  Except for halts, we still stuck at those.  And a bit forgey on the slow.  I release him to tug with me and he is very much into it.

Figure 8 was lovely except for being a little too vertical!  Vito was pretty amped up and doing some bouncing in heel position.  Again our halts suck.  More tugging afterwards.

Drop on recall was nice, no taking the jump this time :)  I walked in to reward the drop.  Front great, did a left finish and he did his odd scootching backwards into position.

Retrieve on flat he has a crappy pick up.  Vito always slides the dumbbell a bit with his mouth while trying to grab it. I'm not sure if it's because he's playing with it, if I have the wrong type of dumbbell for him, or if it's just because of his really poor mouth (BAD overbite, 3 missing teeth on bottom)...  Crooked front.

Retrieve over high was decent and he actually came to a decent front.  Same pick up issues.  And while he started the right finish on my hand signal he stopped half way and was going to come back to my right if I hadn't given a verbal.

Broad jump I threw a cookie.  Crap front and finish.

On the group stays I had planned to come back and reward Vito for sitting.  Unfortunately I dwaddled and he layed down right as I started walking back.  I walked into him to have him sit and then stayed in sight for the remaining minute.  On the down stay I came back around 2min, treated, left for the remainder.  

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CDSP Trial

The boys went to their very first CDSP trial yesterday.  I like CDSP as it allows you to talk to your dog during the exercises and even give treats in between exercises.  A great venue for new dogs or building confidence in older dogs.  Usually they are held in conjunction with APDT Rally trials so I haven't played before today.  Actually I really only signed up today since Lance's obedience instructor is a new judge and needed a certain number of novice dogs for it to count towards something judgy.


Lance Trial 1:
- Well it wasn't too bad I guess.  Started off ok but the sucker was forging too much and almost missed the first halt.  He ended up sitting almost perpendicular to me!
- Figure 8 I was ok with.
- Lance moved a paw on the moving stand right as I left him.  I also screwed up, although mine didn't cost us any points Lance!, as I forgot I had to return to him and held my hands in the position I would normally call to heel from.
- And I think it was a crooked front on the recall over the jump
Q with a 195

Vito Trial 1:
- Heeling was a bit forgy, but not as bad as Lance :)  He too was distracted on that first halt and almost missed it.  At least his sit wasn't horrid like somebody's!

- Before the figure 8 I went to hand the leash to our judge and Vito punched her for not looking at us right away!  The actual figure 8 wasn't the prettiest.  He needed a cue to sit on the first halt and was distracted by the judge each time he got close.  On the positive side he got back to work real quickly after each glance.  Overall we really need to work on our halts!
- Moving stand was great.  I was especially happy since I really haven't done this skill with Vito yet.
- Recall over the jump was great and another skill that I haven't formally practiced with him.  He only has to jump 14 in CDSP!
Vito punched the judge again when I went in search of my leash she forgot to hand back.
Q with a 195

Run offs!:
The judge pitted my two boys against each other for first.  Apparently they sucked equally bad :P
Lance must have known that he was defending himself against his little brother as he really worked hard.  Vito was a good boy just not as good.

Lance won.  Vito was sad.


 Lance Trial 2:
- I don't think Lance forged as much although the first halt did not come at a good moment!  I'm pretty sure Lance was a body length ahead of me on that sit.
- Figure 8 was nice although the judge really threw me as she called the halt immediately after I circled the first post.  I go to the right with Lance so perhaps I'm the one who confused her.  Then I wasn't sure when the 2nd halt would be and it ended up in the same spot so we were actually one loop short of the full figure 8.
- Moving stand was another perfect example of our forging.  Practically a body length ahead of me when I gave him the stand signal.  And then he moved his foot an inch on my return.
- Recall seemed fine.  I don't know why I sent him for a right finish, I never do that.  He got distracted by who knows what and looked away for a second so was crooked.
Q with a 194.5


Vito Trial 2:
Vito was being whiny in the crate from the start of the morning but was getting more unsettled.  His meds are actually making his anxiety worse, but that's a different post.  I wasn't sure how he was going to do but I wanted to give him a positive ring experience.
- Had a really difficult time getting him set up for the heeling but started fine once we got going.  There was a loud noise right at the halt and Vito felt he had to look for it.  Sigh and a verbal cue to get in heel.
- Figure 8 was a bit stressful at the start.  Some lagging in the beginning but on the first outside turn started to pick up when I asked where my dog was.
- Moving stand was just fine
- Recall over high was also fine.
Q with a 193

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Turns for the Vito & Session 1, again, for Lance

I'm very determined to get some turns on the dogwalk!  Here's where we are at so far, not entirely sure what I think of them yet.  I think there will be a problem down the road.  Jump is at just over 90 degrees and he's starting at the top of the down ramp.



 Some sexy straight ones.  They make me happier.

As for the corgi I was fortunate enough to have a long talk with a wonderful person who has been doing running contacts in some form or another for many many years.  She recommended I do Trkman style running contacts with Lance.  And since I'm already going to be retraining anyway I might as well do both the dogwalk and aframe.

Lance had his 2nd first session last night.  I have to say that I was a little sad that Lance didn't once offer his 4 on the floor.  Granted I'm not cuing it, but come on I thought he could show a little bit of hesitation or longing for his old criteria!  Ok I'm really happy as it means less work for me on having to get rid of it but still.  I put him over the lowered dogwalk just to see what he would do and the answer was run, jump, whee!  Happy flying corgi.  

So we're starting with a lowered plank.  Great news is that as well as having no sad feelings for leaving behind his 4 on the floor, I felt happy with rewarding everything.  I was going to treat everything anyways just to teach him that I DID want him to continue and not stop but there were no flying corgis on the low board.  A few weird ones, but no obvious leaps into space like I had during our 1st first session.  And slow mo is nice, I can see tiny split legs.

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Another retrain for the cogi?

Am I out of mind for considering REstarting a running contact with the corgi?  That was my original plan with him and was started almost 2yrs ago.  I used the same method as I did with Vito but really struggled with Lance.  He runs like a bunny and I just couldn't tell if he ran or jumped.  In those early days if I would test to see what his natural striding was like on the real equipment the answer was LEAP FOR JOY!  I switched to 4 on the floor for the aframe and 2o2o on the dogwalk in winter of 09.  And then because I like confusing the corgi switched his dogwalk to 4otf as well. 

Fast forward a year and I'm thinking of switching his criteria yet again.  He hates stopping in trials as he made obvious by blowing me off and taking extra strides before downing.  I fixed it, or at least fooled myself into believing so by doing a lot of proofing.  But the real reason I want to switch is because of his aframe.  I cringe every time Lance leaps and then folds up his stubby paws to land like a brick in a down.  His better attempts he jumps and takes a stride before downing.  When he is slow there is no jump.

So knock some sense into me.  Why would doing running contacts now be any easier then when I first started?  What would my criteria be if you can't see split legs in Mr. Stumpy?  Should I just train the aframe for running and leave the dogwalk as 4otf, and what method would I use?  I don't have regular access to the equipment, it's just me my dog and a board. 

Oh and because I'm picky I want handler independent contacts whether running or stopped.  No sticking my hand in his little face, no yelling at him so he slows down and adds in a stride.  And no early releases as I think that can lead to problems down the road with a dog who loves to fly. 

Help me and my poor 1st dog!

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February Goals

I've been bad, it's already a week into the shortest month and I haven't thought about my goals at all.  I also rarely looked at January's goals so it's a wonder I accomplished anything at all.  I'm going to go ahead and blame Avery as that knocked out almost 2wks of training with the boys.

Chuckles wants a light.
January Progress
1.  Tricks- I wanted Lance holding a toy in his paws.  Well he can wrap his foot around a pole and can usually wrap his foot around a bottle if he's sitting so that's a semi hold.  He still cannot hold an object while begging though.

Vito's handstand- well if it's possible I think we are further behind now then we were before.  I started using my leg for something to aim for and now he's not lifting up very high without anything behind him.  He's still lifting off with both feet but it's a tiny hop vs a baby handstand.

Free shape a trick without a prop with Chuck- fail.  Did practically nothing with Chuckles, again.  I suppose I did start teaching him to rise up and drop an object on a table with a different plan of attack.  I'm now teaching it as more of an extension of cleanup- put one object on/in another.

2. Scent articles- well I did break them out and did them a few more times in January.  Pretty sure I didn't make my measly goal of twice a week though.

3. Halts- Eh.  Didn't work on Vito bumping me at all.

4. Fronts with the DB- I did try and get a closer front with Vito but am not finding a plan that works for him.  Vito still rocks back on his front when he has an object and while it's not far it's not what I want.  I'm trying to get him to do scootch sits with the dumbbell/any object and it's just not working.  I can get him to thrust an object into my hand that is held against my body but even after he gives me the object he'll rock back again.  I always make him scootch forward to get the treat.  He has VERY close fronts without an object so I don't know why I can't get it with an object.

February Goals
I suppose I'll keep the same as January's and try and work them a bit more.  I think I'll add a #5
5.  Vito Glove retrieves- I discovered Vito likes to shake the glove immediately after pickup.  Thanks to some great advice on the Clicker Comp Obedience list I had great success with eliminating the shake by speeding up the return.  However I really did not spend much time on this and need to make it more of a priority.

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Club Fun Match

The club had their annual member only fun match today!  Sadly there are not very many members who actually compete with their dogs so it's always a small turnout.  But it's one of the few times each year where us obedience folks get to set up our rings on the agility side where open and utility are actually held during a trial!


Lance- Open
Lance was forging once again but it wasn't too horrid.  He also was really wide on his about turns, taking time to look around before he came back into heel. The figure 8 was set up real close to the high jump and Lance thought he was supposed to take it.  I saw the look in his his eyes before he really went anywhere so gave him another cue to heel.  Drop on recall was nice, retrieve on flat was perfect, crap front on retrieve over high, and  his broad jump looked weird.  But I suppose he has never done a broad jump with the new lower length he gets now that corgis are a 3/4 height breed.  Held both stays!

Vito- Open
Vito is not ready for open but I thought I would see where he is at.  Heeling was ok, he was a bit distracted at the start but not for long.  A little bit of forging but overall very nice.  Figure 8 was good except for a bit of a lag during the first outside turn.

On the drop on recall Vito took the high jump which was set a bit closer then normal.  I tried to interrupt him but was too slow and he was already taking off.  On the repeat Vito did a very nice drop on my verbal.  He has never practiced the DOR with jumps out so it was a good reminder of something I need to start proofing for.

Retrieve on flat had a crooked front despite my trying to help guide him in with my hand placement.  A little bit better for the retrieve over high.  Broad jump he ticked it and then was confused since he couldn't find a treat I did not throw!  Same thing on the repeat.

On the out of sight group stays Vito was pretty distracted on the set up.  I got Lance into position first and then Vito and he was giving me attention off and on.  He lied down on the sit at about 2.5min and I walked in to put him back up.  Held the down for the 5min.  All of his fronts and finishes were a bit crooked in open.

Lance-Utility
Our first attempt at utility!  On the signal exercise Lance was heeling much better.  Very little forging but was still wide on the about turns.  He did a very solid stand but then lied down on the judges signal.  I gave him a verbal correction, a verbal stand, and then finished the exercise.  I redid the heeling to stand walked out and waited while the judge gave multiple signals before walking back in to reward him.

While scenting my article and trying to get Lance to mark the article pile being put out, Lance noticed I was standing in front of lots of dirt on the ground.  He kept staring at the dirt instead of watching the pile so I told him leave it.  On the turn and send Lance stopped with me and told me he was being a good boy to leave the pile of dirt.  I told him he was an idiot and redid the turn and send which Lance did correctly but a little bit slower then normal.  He grabbed the right one pretty quickly and I told him yes when he started moving away from the pile with it.  I don't know if he would have dropped it like he has been doing at trials but I wanted to play it safe.  On the 2nd article Lance did the turn and send no problem but took him longer to make the decision on the right article.  He kept going to it but then researching the pile.  On the return he came straight, made a nice little curve around the dirt at the last second, and then fixed himself for the perfect front.

We had glove #1 and it was beautiful!  No confusion over whether to take the jump in either direction.  Moving stand was very nice.

On the go out Lance was once again wanting to mark the dirt pile.  When I finally felt confident he was staring straight ahead I sent him and he veered off to the left corner.  I called him back, went closer and sent him again.  This time Lance again veered off left but when I called him he went to the middle on his own.  I ran with him there, had him touch, and then went all the back to the start.  I send him full length, he does a strong touch to the gate, I reward, walk back out and send him over the jump.  It looks as though Lance didn't quite see the jump right away but did head in the right direction and then suddenly he found it and did a nice job.  The second real go out is very straight and fast and he does a nice jump. 
All of Lance's fronts were spectacular in utility!!!

Vito- Novice
It was an extremely long heeling pattern but I was kind've glad as Vito started a little bit distracted but then got better as we went.  The good thing is that a distracted Vito is still doing a decent job of staying in position, he's just not giving me eye contact.  The bad is that his fast time sucked.  Really good figure 8, great stand for exam, and much better off leash heeling.  Vito was distracted for the first 5 steps but then was in perfect heel and even gave me prancy feet :)  On the recall he stepped on my foot for the front and was crooked.  And then had a crooked finish.

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Vito On Drugs

It's been a busy week for me starting with the Silvia Trkman seminars, Chuckles neuter, and ending with a consultation on Vito's separation anxiety.  The short version is that Vito is now on drugs.

The long story is what I handed over to my vet last week.  I practically have written a novel on Vito's behaviors and the SA work we have already done.  At the consultation today Dr. Kate agreed with me that Vito came out of the womb an anxious dog.  Because of his high drive, intensity, and intelligence Vito is way over on the right on the bell curve for toller behavior.  In her experience these types of dogs (and people) are more likely to have anxiety or other neurotic issues.  I did a ton of work with him since 8wks of age and she attributes his almost normal life to that early work.

I am going to restart up the SA protocal I was following with just a few changes.  Instead of doing multiple trials in a session I will just do a few.  At the time I was really doing the SA protocal I had read that doing many trials of coming in and leaving helps the dog to settle in but Dr. Kate believes just doing a few will create less anxiety for Vito.

I am also going to throw away Vito's food dish and either train him with every meal (like I do for dinner) or feed him out of puzzle toys.  Vito didn't eat his bones the majority of times I was doing the SA protocol and he's not an extremely food motivated dog in general.  So we want to make sure he is hungry when left and ideally give him a more active/thinking activity to do when alone.

Alongside the restarting of the SA work Vito is going to be on drugs; very low doses of Alprazolam (Xanax) and Clomipramine.  I want to walk that fine line of keeping Vito's intensity and getting rid of the anxiety so it's going to be a big experiment.

A related issue we talked about was Vito's "stranger danger."  Vito is perfectly fine in large, noisy crowds but often is reactive if someone approaches during a quiet setting.  Guaranteed to cause a reaction is someone walking into the room (if we're the only ones there) and raising their hand to wave or saying hi.  I can predict how likely his is to react by how much of a change there was in the room.  A person shouting to me across the hall and jumping up and down in the middle of a dog show won't start anything but someone silently appearing in a doorway of an empty warehouse will cause a big scene.  Vito will bark and growl until the person gets to within 3 feet.  At a close distance Vito will then turn extremely friendly and jumpy.  But it takes awhile for that anxiety to go down so he is still very intense with his greetings.  He can also be conflicted and alternate between wanting to be at a distance and wanting to play.  This conflict occurs more frequently the more ramped up he is so a person encouraging him to be crazy and play by clapping their hands or patting the floor is going to get the barking for longer.

What I have typically been doing during Vito's outburst is to turn and walk the other direction if I can and then practice re-approaching, rewarding with treats for being quiet.  But he never really starts to calm down until he gets to greet the person and decides they're his friend.  I have now been instructed to throw my dog trainer's hat out the window and completely ignore his outbursts.  Dr. Kate believes that Vito's an intelligent dog and is not only feeding off of my increased frustration when he reacts but has learned the chain of barking=increased distance from what he's anxious of.  She wants to do a bit of flooding with Vito and practice a variety of people causing him to react (really not hard to do), me completely ignore, person continues to approach until they get close and then ask him to sit/down/whatever before giving him a treat.  At home when he reacts to noises upstairs I am to either 100% ignore him or leave the room.  Treating the quiet is also an option for Vito but I have to be careful that I am not yelling at him as not only has it not been effective but it is obviously increasing his anxiety and perhaps rewarding the barking through attention.  If I do treat I need to be careful to treat before he starts barking so as not to reward it.

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Trkman- Tricks pt 2

In part 2 of the trick seminar Lance wasn't doing quite so well.  He was more hesitant to offer behaviors and more likely to start shutting down on me.  I know my reward rate was not high enough which was probably the biggest contributor.

1. Holding an object with feet- we started off with this trick again, but this time Silvia wanted the dogs initiating the behavior.  No more holding it for the dog, instead put it on the floor and have them manipulate it into position.  She said most dogs will choose to pick it up with their mouth but it was fine to paw it into position as well.  Lance thought I wanted him to dig the waterbottle and got really frustrated with me.  I would reward the digging if he dug it back towards his other paw, but many times he would roll it behind him and then would just be kicking it backwards.  An ok trick but not what I wanted to teach!  So I went back to holding it but then Lance wasn't always wrapping his paw around it, just touching it.  It was hit and miss.

(2.) Silvia talked through a whole bunch of tricks and how almost all tricks with an object are variations of each other. The dog just needs to figure out if you want him to nose it, paw it, or mouth it.  She did give me some great ideas for teaching a hold and the rise/drop of an item onto a surface!

3. Limping- Since Lance already knows how to limp with both front feet I wanted to work on back feet.  Unfortunately we didn't get anywhere at all.  Like all other tricks, Silvia really likes pure free shaping.  The corgi however did not get what I wanted at all.  I couldn't get him to offer holding his back foot for more then a second without anything behind him.  Even when I cheated and pointed with my finger (which I was trying to get rid of last session) he started shutting down on me.  So then I put my shoe on the floor behind him and he immediatley perked up and knew what I wanted even with the shoe not in reach at all.  But I think the presence of the shoe greatly hindered forward progress since if anything he was more likely to back up.  Finally I had an idea of teaching him to lift his hind leg and do a nose target to my hand at the same time.  I'm hoping that if I can then get him to start stretching to my hand we can get the tiniest limp.  If I just lure Lane becomes fixated on my hand and doesn't think at all.  I have no idea what to do still.

4. Side legs lifts- We propped a board against a pole and taught the dogs to put both right and then both left legs on the board.  I had done a tiny bit with Lance on lifting his right legs at the same time before, but not the left.  Lance perked up a lot on this trick, probably because it once again involve a prop and a high rate of reinforcement.  It wasn't long before Lance was doing both sides pretty well with using the board.  Often he offered only the back foot on the board with the front foot hovering in the air.

5. Backward weaving- Since Lance knows how to weave backwards but can't do a backward figure 8 without me moving my leg back each time I worked on cleaning that up.  He seemed tired but by the end of a little work he was starting to do the full figure 8 without me having to move my leg.

I then got out a platform to work on him pivoting around with back feet on the board, front feet off.  This is one that I practiced a few times since Tuesday and have been happy with the results.  But today Lance sucked and decided he was done with it. 

6. Feet in a dish/Jumping on your feet- Another trick where stubby legs really don't work! But we did get out a box and teach Lance to jump in it. He was ok with the big box but once it got smaller then his body he really had a hard time.  I flipped it over and Lance was much happier climbing on top with all 4 feet. 

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Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.- Roger Caras

Email: lkwaudby (at) gmail.com

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