Along with Lyra’s adult teeth came a brain. A very nice combination.
Her worries disappeared – almost overnight. Everywhere I’ve taken her this week she’s been a rock.
With people, she’s even more social than she was as a very small puppy. I happen to prefer dogs that are neutral to mildly social, so I don’t consider this a benefit. On the other hand, I’d rather have an actively social dog than an anti-social dog. Right now she stares at people anywhere in the vicinity, madly wagging her tail and using her mind control powers to will them over. Her success rate is notably high – she can get most people to say hello. She then wiggles back and forth in front of them, basking in the attention which she believes is her due. To her credit, she rarely jumps on them and she is not hyper; just very pleased to make new friends.
Her environmental stability has also skyrocketed. She saw a horse behind a fence 25 feet away; she was fascinated – but not afraid. She listened to banging shopping carts at the grocery store and dogs barking aggressively behind a fence. In every case she was aware but not concerned. For me, that’s ideal.
Lyra’s focus and toy drive at home has increased as well. She’s starting to play ball, and returns it a good percentage of the time. She loves to play tug and bites very well – deep in her mouth and with excellent committment. I can add various types of pressure while she plays tug, and after one or two exposures, she’s comfortable. Most of the time she returns with her tug toys, but that is an area I’m still working to improve.
Away from home, she works well for treats once she has adapted to the environment. She is not interested in toys away from home, unless they are very high value toys. I consider willingness to engage with toys to be a huge barometer of both drive levels and environmental comfort, so she still has some growing to do in this area. I expect this ability will develop over the next several months.
Not sure if this is the “new Lyra” or if I’ll see a return of the “worried Lyra”, but it’s a whole lot of fun to work with her right now. More than anything I’m encouraging greater focus and speed in all of her work.
Today’s video is Lyra working on a few skills specifically related to schutzhund. I’m working on her prey drive (toy on whip), environmental pressure (stick work), outing the toy, and switching from play to obedience.
Note that at the end, she refuses to end her work session; Lyra has begun to learn that work is a privilege. Once that concept is firmly imprinted in her brain, then my ultimate punishment for poor work will be to end the training session.
Here is her entire training session; unedited.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Su-9hWHwAQE