As Summer winds down and with it the promise of cooler, more comfortable temperatures in which to train, I must return to work. My time will be severely curtailed this Fall, as it is every semester. It is extremely difficult to balance full-time-plus work, graduate school, writing, and dog training.
I eagerly anticipated summer holidays: it would be a time to focus on getting Athena ready for Intermediate obedience and earning points towards her CD. It was an opportunity, I anticipated, for me to rehabilitate and train Lily by deaf and partially blind white Catahoula.
There’s a great saying I once heard: “If you want God to laugh, tell him your plans.” Nothing went according to plan. Athena fell seriously ill, then my mother got very ill, and graduate school consumed all of my time. I did no training.
It’s only within the past two days that I’ve started training Athena once more. I keep the sessions super short, but she shows her usual enthusiasm. Today I focused on holding the dumbbell. She will hold the dumbbell for 5 seconds while in a sit, but I think she will hold it much longer. She waits for the click before releasing the object, so all I have to do to train for duration is delay the click. In clicker training the click not only marks the correct behavior, but it marks the end of the behavior; the dog is free to stop the behavior once she hears the click.
So with the remaining days before the show, I will train as much as Athena will tolerate. I hope to take her out to proof her off-leash heel. Last dog show she threatened to go AWOL on me during that exercise! Unless the veterinarian advises me otherwise, we’re definitely entering this show.