Feet, nose and teeth.
This morning while I was training Scoop I worked on him standing still while I did a full body examination. I had him stand while I went over him and then decided I should stack him up like a little show dog. (not!) I had a brief stint showing in the breed ring years ago with my German Hovawarts, so I know how to handle a dog into a stack. Run my hands down the shoulder and stop at the elbow to gently position the lower leg by grasping the joint and setting the leg and foot down square. I do the same for each rear leg. I start by running my hand down the leg from the point of hip and stop at the hock, circling the joint gently with my hand, lifting up the lower leg and squaring the foot on placement to the ground. Scoop stood there nicely so I fed him some treats, released him and started over. I like that he stood square on placement and did not wiggle around or fight my handling. I liked working on this skill with him, it certainly could help his understanding to stay in one spot without moving a muscle. I looked at his ears, and mouth and handled the privates as well. I lifted each lip with his mouth closed to see his teeth and bite and then opened his full mouth. He is a little tender from loss of teeth. I keep ripping them out accidentally while playing tug with him, and then if they don’t go flying he swallows them, whoops! He knocked one out during some “mouthy” play with his sister last weekend, and he has lost some chewing on the marrow bones he gets daily.
Today I started working on two different skills. Rolling over and disc targeting. They don’t interfere at all with each other so I can do them in the same practice session if I want. The roll over went ok, not perfect, I will keep playing with shaping that tomorrow. The disc targeting though was incredible. I held out the disc and he immediately touched it with his nose to investigate, and we were off and running. I got great hard nose touches with the target held in both my right and left hand and moving it around the front of me. Clicking and treating each touch of course. I got the target within a few inches of the ground when I thought I better stop as I was getting greedy on the first day of training. Scoop does not know a hand target so I did not know how easy this would be. I sure wish I had thought of this before with my other dogs and students. Duh. Nice clean disc touches having nothing to do with my hands. Once he knows the touch cue with the target on the ground I will probably teach hand targeting, or maybe not:) I haven’t missed not having a hand target with him.
I also played with one more skill this evening. I was looking for stuff to play with in my storage shed and found some heavy paper plates. I tossed a couple on the ground and went from one to the other using his “feet” command. Scoop places his front feet on anything I point him towards. This was pretty cool, I might be able to put the foot target to use on my contacts. He got it right away and stood on the plates, got rewarded and waited to be released. Basically a great training day I would say. I love staying home and getting to train my puppy as often as I want. I hope you had a good time with yours this weekend.