Joon has now been with us for a week. I’ve spent my time with her largely evaluating “how she works” (or not), or better said, what makes her work and what doesn’t.
All who meet her agree that she’s extremely sweet. She loves to jump up on everyone, very gently, for hugs and pats. And she’s so gentle about it that no one complains, but is suckered into the hugs and pats. In a group of people she’s constantly trying to catch someone’s eye so she can entrance them, like everyone else she’s captivated.
She’s a complex mixture of go go go go go and oh no I can’t go. She lacks confidence, so that’s an item to add to her goals list. Obviously, it’s not something we can just apply to her (“voila! you’re confident! – where did I put my magic wand?!) – it’ll come with gentle, patient training and exposure to new places, people and experiences.
She’s mighty crazy in the house, probably because this is the first house she’s been in. Comfortable in her crate, but when she’s loose she dashes from here to there, scurrying on the slippery floors. Her favorite place is the kitchen, and of course she has launched herself, from a standstill, onto the counter to check out what’s up there. Twice. Thus, she’s not allowed to scurry about without me a very close companion.
She also demonstrated her jumping (vaulting?) skills yesterday while she was in the ex-pen, observing my 9 AM agility class. About 3/4 of the way through class, she’d had enough, and, using one toenail to grab hold of the wire, vaulted out of the four-foot high ex-pen to come straighten out the silly golden retriever who was running. I guess she defined “over the top” for us.
She recognizes the click sound and looks for food. I’m moving pretty slowly with clicker training so far, because repetition worries her. After a few repeats she starts to lose interest in the food, so I’m still at the luring phase with the sit, and working other behaviors without the clicker, just using verbal praise, stroking, and food rewards. With these methods, she’s jumping a 12-inch jump pretty reliably on “hup,” and going through our 6-foot tunnel willingly, gets on the 16-inch and 24-inch agility tables on cue, and even sometimes sits when there.
Her favorite activity to date is chasing “Ernie’s tiger,” which is a fuzzy tiger tail attached with a long rope to a lunge whip, which Joon chases around in circles, does switches, back and forth, leaps over jumps, goes around stuff, and attacks. It’s a great way to give her some aerobic exercise, since she’s on a long line and can’t run like she needs to. Walking is good for her, but it won’t give her the exercise she needs. The tiger has also helped her get worked up enough that I can now play tug with her with me actually holding the tiger – progressing from tugging, with me holding the end of the whip and her pulling the tiger tail, i.e., approximately 12 feet away. Previously any proximity would cause her to drop the tiger tail. I think someone taught her some manners – enough of that manners stuff! I want her raving mad for the tug, and we’re making progress.