Friday, July 9, 2010

Boring Stuff

I hate practicing the "boring stuff" - usually defined as duration activities requiring me to stand around patiently waiting for the clock to tick off a certain number of seconds/minutes while one of the dogs remains in roughly the position I left them in.


Yes, I know the "boring stuff" can be important. Yes, I know patience is a useful skill. Yes, I realize life can't always be exciting. But I'm old enough to feel I shouldn't have to do something I don't want to in an activity I'm doing just because I want to do it.


So tonight I tried something different.

Tonight I pulled out my Go To Mat mat and put it at the far end of the hall. Then I pulled out the Contacts board and laid it out in the Living Room. For the remainder of "class time", after every half-dozen runs across the board, I sent the dog to the mat for a few seconds. A click/treat, and back to the board they were sent.

What I'm hoping is that I can get to the point where one dog can lay on the mat while the other works for a few minutes, and then switch them. I figure this way they get their duration practice in and I don't have to stand there and stare at them.

At least, that's the plan.

Will it work? I have no idea, but it's looking good so far.

As for Contacts, I have gone back to pure shaping. The light bulb is starting to flicker on in Beau's head, and he is getting very good about stopping at the end (usually four paws on, but sometimes two on/two off.) Zachary is still in "101 Things to do with a Contact Board" mode, but he is getting better. I'm at the point where I was with Fronts, where I'm mostly looking for still (always a problem with Zachary) plus three paws on the board. Three paws on makes him pointed roughly down the board, which is good.

One Rear Toe On had him side-stepping across the board - cute, but not what I was looking for.

I have this nagging feeling that I made Contacts much too hard by being in a hurry, and had I just stuck with shaping both dogs would be done by now.

(Perhaps there is something to be said for practicing patience after all.)

1 comment:

katie, Maizey and Magnus said...

hey kathleen! Don't know if you ever read this blog, but this a good post on duration stays, at least good for unimaginative me.LOL

Love the idea of mat work while the other pup practices. Its what Meeka is so good at and Maizey is so bad at!