Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Updating Page's recent tracks

The day after Page certified on July 5, she did a TDX track. It was 500 yards long, aged 1 hour and 45 minutes. I gave her two articles on the track. She did an amazing job with the track; but for the first time in her little career, I saw her stress. She stressed at each article. She froze over the articles, then either walked away or started eating grass around them.

Seeing the stress, I didn't force the issue with the articles. I didn't ask what she had found; I simply walked up and picked it up and told her to track again. Once I picked up the article, she relaxed and started tracking again.

I had been saying that I would work the article game with her to solidify those indications, and it looked like this was the time. I gave her a day off, then spent Wednesday and Thursday last week working the article game.

I'd love to report that Page immediately understood what she was to do and everything was perfect ... but she's a puppy and that's not how the story went. I laid out a line of articles, put on her harness and let her loose. She found the articles, but after a sniff, she went onto the next one. So I started standing on the tracking line, not allowing her to move forward. This didn't make her happy, but she finally showed some interest in the article. Once she did, I clicked and treated. Hummmmm ... if this earns me treats, maybe I'll pay more attention ...

So over two days I got her downing on the articles and nose touching them. I decided this was good enough for now. Ideally I want her to retrieve the articles. This is Devon's indication, and for retrievers I prefer it. However, Page has always volunteered the down, so I'm allowing her to do that. I'm wondering what will happen after she's through force fetch and if she'll start retrieving the articles then. Only time will tell!

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