Sunday, January 25, 2009

Shetland Sleepdogs and Rally-O

Our buddies, Josh and Jess, have sent out a challenge to post pictures of your fluff's odd sleeping styles. So here they are!
Romeo's breeder sent me this picture ...
Romeo's first "tunnel", he got pooped part way through.

For the most part, they fall asleep however they happen to land when they flop down ...

See a trend? That's right ... they show a strong preference for sleeping on the bed. Can't blame them, really. If I had a choice between floor and bed, I know what I would be picking!

As for today, it is "crazy dog Sunday". A couple hours of rally-o in the afternoon, and soon to be off to agility with Romeo this evening. Rally-o went really well this afternoon. I set up a CARO Advanced/Excellent course and ran the boys through it a couple of times. They did fantastically! Romeo's achievement of the day was making it through the "off set figure 8" without lagging, and Gio's achievement of the day was remembering his sits EVERY time! With Gio's gimpy leg, he is kind of picky about when he wants to sit. Today must be a good-leg-day as he didn't have problems at all. The "off set figure 8" is Romeo's big hold-up in CARO rally-o, but not for the reason you might be thinking. The exercise is made up of two pylons and two food bowls, with the idea of the exercise to weave in a figure 8 pattern around the pylons while keeping the dog from going after the food in the food bowls, as in the diagram below. You are allowed to say "leave it" to your dog each time you pass through the center of the 8, but it has to be "happy" and not scolding in tone.
Romeo's problem is that he has a "leave it" that is so completely solid that he will give whatever it is he is supposed to be leaving a 10 foot berth! So if I slip up and tell him to "leave it" as we are entering the figure 8, he has been known to stop moving and just stand back and watch me weave through the pylons so as not to get too close to the food bowls. I thought that just not using the command "leave it" and rather just having a nice attention heel would work instead, as it does with Gio, but Romeo has now generalized the exercise, so whenever he sees food bowls he automatically assumes he has to leave them alone without me telling him to. As a result, he is VERY laggy through the exercise and will often drop back to walk right behind me so that he doesn't have to be too close to the bowls. I've been practicing setting up food bowls and just having him "survive" in the middle of them, doing little heel patterns, tricks, sits/downs, playing tug and fetch where he has to run out of the circle of bowls and back in again. That seems to have helped a lot as today he didn't even flinch when we approached the bowls and kept a nice attention heel without dropping back into his usual lag position.

As a side note, I am officially living in a pig sty. I've started packing so now my room is littered with crates and boxes. Walls are bare and "stuff" is strewn everywhere.

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