Thursday, September 29, 2011

Luna Notes

More than one person has lodged (logged?) an official complaint that I do not say enough about Luna.

There is not very much to say about Luna.  We take walks. She wrestles and chases Griffin. She sleeps.  Sometimes she does training. On occasion we go somewhere.

It's been a very long time since we had our weekly(+) agility classes, occasional agility trials, camping trips, and other adventures.   

We intend for that to change!  In a few weeks Luna will (hopefully) be in a class designed for dogs to learn to be calm and controlled and wild and controlled around other dogs.  There will be some obstacle/object interaction, some playing, and good training.

I'm hoping we can get back into agility trials by the may be wishful thinking, but we'll see what we can do.

Before our class that starts soon...we have work to do.
1) Car rides: Luna hates the car.  Meals and super great treats in or near the car. Jumping in and out of the car.  Time in the car with Griffin.  Short car rides. 
2) Crating: I will probably be teaching a class before/after her class.  Luna will have to be crated in the training building. I've made some bad choices and the only times she has been crated in the last year has been for camp and maybe one day at the training center.  It wasn't because she's comfortable without the was lazyness and not working on her crate-dislike issues.   We'll practice going in the crate, eating in the crate, and spending time in a crate. I'll take her to the training center a few times before class starts and have her crated near Griffin.
3) Off Property Walks:  I'm not able to handle the recommended twice a day 20 minute off-property walks.  We'll try to get out 3-4 times every week. Either a different part of the property or a trip into town to walk.
4) Tricks and behaviors:  Increase the reinforcement history for a few tricks/behaviors so that we have things we can do in class.   
5) Find some great foods: Be sure she is on a good eating schedule, that we have high value reinforcers, and that I will have reinforcer options when we get back to class.
6) Visit the Building:  We're lucky and the class is someplace I visit many times per week. If I take her when I work, she can have some time training and playing in the building after classes.  I did this a few times early in the year, but she was often very skittish and easily startled unless Griffin was out with her.  I think she'll do better in a class setting than in an empty room.  Short visits and play times should still help prepare us for class.

What do I expect?   Luna will be stressed and not happy, tail tucked, inattentive.   After 5-15 minutes, she will probably get more attentive and work better except for moments when people are nearby and she gets scared.   She won't eat well during that first part of the class, but then will eat more readily.  Once she is comfortable, she will do her behaviors.    I also expect that each week she will get to her comfortable point much faster.  

I'm hoping that if we're in the building earlier in the day for training I can let her run around with Griffin. She's much more confident with him nearby. I wish I had a second person who could handle him so they could be together in class, or at least for the first day or two.   I'll just have to prepare and take great treats!

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