Joon January 2008

It’s now January 2008. Joon’s last entry was on January 15, 2007. Shame on me!

Just because I haven’t written in her blog, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t worked with the dog. I just haven’t shared. We’re not where I want to be, considering it’s been a year, but then there’s life that gets in the way. So it did, and does.

joon-moon.jpgIf I look at Joon’s Checklist, we’ve made progress. One thing I’ve learned when working with dogs, especially difficult dogs, is that it’s insanity to do anything but evaluate their progress over the long term. It can be quite frustrating to see improvement when you look at a week, or even a month, but given 3 or 6 months it’s far more obvious that the mountains are moving; the only way to move one of these canine mountains is slowly and deliberately. So over the past year we’ve made huge progress.

Down to details (‘fess-up time): Joon is still not housebroken. I don’t think she has a clue. Any success we have is totally a result of our being watchful, and any failures we have are because she has access to the house and we’re not watching. So be it. We’ll keep working on that.

She tugs and retrieves, though she’d still rather chase her ball than do anything else (except chase sheep or a dog with the ball). She brings it back and will futz around getting it close to my feet, but she’s all ready for the chase. So that’s another work in progress.

She comes when called, lies down when told to, and stays in the context of agility. Still working on that. And she owns many of the behaviors in the pre-agility list, though not all.

She’s hugely reactive to dogs running, and if we never compete in agility this will be the reason why. She’s just determined to run with them and get them under control. Ha!

She jumps quite well though turning in combination with a jump is difficult. She can do 4-5 agility obstacles (jumps and tunnels) in a joon and her sheep.jpgsequence quite well, understands pinwheels, is learning front crosses, has wonderful distance but doesn’t particularly like to work close. Her teeter is very nice. A-frame and dogwalk are absolutely works in progress – very slow progress. She’s so fast she has no patience for those pieces of equipment since they slow down her forward motion. And she’s all about moving. Fast. She understands her bottom position and I’m just back-chaining the obstacles. Unfortunately, I need a human training partner to get this done, and it’s hard to organize that.

She’s been herding. She’s very driven, but will try to leave when pressure on her to behave becomes overwhelming. She’s able to handle more pressure as she learns. Her fondest desire is to bring one of those babies down. I see visions of lamb chops percolating in her brain. Wink Mason has been most patient with her – and me. Bless him.

For 2008:
1. Back to Joon’s list to check off the areas that are still lacking.
2. More herding.
3. Work on behavior around performing (agility) dogs.
4. Teach dogwalk and A-frame.

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