July 21, 2014
A.J. is doing such a great job on his recall. Last week I took him out a couple of times with his long leash. I’d let him snuffle around at the end of the leash, and when he got really busy I’d say “A.J. Come!” and he came running right back to me. So Friday I took him to the field behind the school and after a couple of successful trials with the long leash on, I let go. He went snuffling off, and when I called “A.J. Come!” he came running right back to me every time. What a good boy!
Greg and I took him to the baseball field. There was no one around, so I had Greg walk away with him, then when I signaled Greg let go of the leash, I called “A.J. Come!” and he came running right back to me. We decided to try it the other way around, where I held the leash and Greg called to him. It didn’t work at all, A.J. completely ignored him. We’ll have to work on that.
Today I took him to the school again. We had some thunderstorms last night; today is cloudy, warm and muggy. So A.J. was dragging a little when we got there, which is okay. Today there were killdear in the field. This time when I let A.J. go he didn’t just snuffle, he took off after the birds. Almost as soon as he took off I yelled “A.J. COME!” He stopped and turned so quickly he totally wiped out. He wound up on his face trying to get turned around to come back to me. As soon as he got his feet under him he came running right back to me. What a great dog!
We did it again, and this time I let him go farther. He was running full speed after the birds, probably 50 to 75 yards away, when I called to him. He turned immediately and started coming back. This time he got distracted partway and I had to tell him to come again so he understands he has to come all the way back. But the little extra prompting did it, he came back to me.
What a great dog!
I really shouldn’t brag about my dog. I sent email to Jerry telling him how great A.J. was. I’ve been telling everyone how great A.J. is. Then we went to agility class. The first two classes I had been hooking his leash to his flat collar but leaving his prong collar on. Today I took the prong collar off. I don’t know for sure if that’s what did it, but he was pretty awful. Six months ago I would have called it a good day, but today I call it awful.
We started with focus work, doing the exercise where you put food in your hand/on the ground/on his paws and the dog has to patiently wait for you to give it to him. We didn’t even get started. A.J. wanted nothing to do with the treats. He wanted to explore and look at birds. So I walked him around and did figure eights, trying to get him to engage. It didn’t work. He did the figure eights, he just never engaged.
I had a pretty miserable time for the remainder of the class. A.J. would do the agility exercises, but he wasn’t paying much attention and didn’t care about what he was doing. He didn’t want treats or praise. All he wanted was to snuffle around the yard. He did his sit/stays well, he did all the exercises well. But then at the end of class I let go of his leash so he could go over a jump and get his treats. He ran right past the treats and didn’t stop. I told him to “Come!” and he put his nose to the grass and snuffled, completely ignoring me. I finally grabbed his leash and sent him into his crate. Class was almost over anyway, but that was not a good way to end.
I guess I should learn to stop bragging about him. My little monster.
Update: July 22, 2014
After all that, and being so disappointed in him yesterday afternoon, A.J. did not start off the day well today. I’ve been letting him sleep outside his crate because I’m afraid it’s too warm in there. So much for that idea. It was about 4:45 AM when he woke us up not only barking, but seriously banging on the blinds. I was afraid he was going to rip them down. Yes, it’s true, there could have been a prowler right outside our door (there wasn’t), but at 4:45 AM I didn’t really care. So I sat up and yelled “NO!!!” and A.J. immediately ran back to his bed and laid down.
This is going to be a long day.