Saturday, January 8, 2011


To think there was a time in my life when I thought down just meant the dog was lying down on the ground. Now I worry about all these little details: are the elbows all the way down on the floor, which goes down first, elbows or butt, how fast is the dog going down, does he flop on his butt...

So I managed to totally un-teach Rumi the down. When I went to meet Laura for lessons she pointed out I had totally let my drop criteria go out the window (although she was much nicer about it!) I should probably back up and say I had already started re-doing his long down. He had the bad habit (which I obviously had let develop) of whining and flopping back and forth on his hip. I was getting pretty convinced sooner or later a judge would NQ us. So I had taught him to flop over on one hip and stay there. At the same time I had decided no sound would be allowed on a flop. It was coming along nicely. So I was using "Down" as a settle command. Just go lie down while I'm talking, setting jumps, whatever and I don't care if you creep, whine, if you break it I just tell you to down again and ignore it....a throw away command. So I hand't thought about where that left his drop/fold back down.

So I went home deciding I needed yet another command for yet another down...3 down commands...really? So out comes the clicker and I start to re-shape the down using a barrier (a broad jump board). But Rumi was dropping so fast that from the front I couldn't really tell how he was dropping so I was more careful what I clicked, which was elbows down first. However, having a dog that is easy to shape has it's draw backs if you are only an average shaper. In no time I had a perfectly shaped bow...sigh...

So I have caved a little. My new criteria...go down fast and without paws touching the board. how you get there is up to you. I just can't see what is going on with his body when standing in front and with his speed. I'm thinking my new word will be Splat, because that's kind of what he's doing with his body. Video soon :) And yes, that dang bow creeps in every once in a while. How come the wrong behaviors are sooo hard to extinguish :)

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