So far I have been enjoying winter, but with the ice build up of the last couple of days, it is becoming a drag. I don’t mind cold or snow, but ice really puts a damper on outdoor fun this time of year. It rained a few days ago, but not enough to wash away the snow. Now that it is cold out, everything is solid and slippery. I worry about the dogs, and myself. So we will have to stay predominantly indoors until we get a little more snow, or another thaw. Hopefully that will happen soon!

There are good things about being trapped indoors. For one, I filed all my training notes and articles in a binder, all organized with tabs and categories. I also started my training log, so have been actually writing down what we do. The idea is that I can see progress, and areas where it is lacking, more clearly when I keep track. I’ll be sure to comment on if I find this helpful after a few weeks.

Tonight I trained in the living room to do the ‘back-up’ exercise on carpet. I am still not convinced this method is going to work. I have been clicking every foot movement, but so far only Ross seems to be understanding that moving his feet is what gets the reward. The whole process is very messy, and maybe it needs more time for the dogs to figure it out. Ross is now offering a continuous back-up, but he takes 3-4 steps at a time, then stops and waits for a treat. Then takes a few more steps. This is an improvement because before he’d just stop. So something is clicking, but he’s still sticky.

Hannah and Mira, on the other hand, both just take few steps back, then come forward again, and then back up again. So obviously I am rewarding the wrong thing.

As for doing this on carpet, I’m not sure it helped. The liver treats stop dead when tossed, and so often don’t make it far enough once the dog gets 6-8 feet away. Then the dog comes forward again, which is probably the problem with the girls. When I switched back to kibble, that worked better but they had trouble finding it on the brown carpet.

I am going to ask my trainer about this and see what she has to say.

A few days ago, I realized that I have never taught any of my dogs to “stand” on command. So I am adding that to my repertoire this week. I also have been working on core strengthening, shadow handling, targeting and ‘it’s your choice.’ Each dog is doing well and making progress, with Ross being the most advanced, and Mira bringing up the rear as I have done the least training with her. She’s catching up quickly though, and I expect to have all three at the same level of foundation within a couple of weeks.

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