Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Miserable Obedience

Okay, UDC Nationals is in two weeks, and my dog is utterly brainless.

We'd been doing shorter heelwork, focusing on AKC obedience and AKC/APDT rally over the winter, and I knew we were going to have some work to get back into a full, *long* BH routine. I didn't realize that my dog is completely worthless at this stuff.

Now, part of the problem is that I'm working outside on my own property, where she has a tremendous reinforcement history of chasing cats and squirrels. But I'm having a murderous time getting her to focus through the heelwork. I'm starting to panic.

As of yesterday, Laev's on a closed economy -- no food except for work, with the exception of a quarter pound during standard dinner time when the other dogs eat, too. But that still leaves me nearly two pounds for her to earn through obedience.

Last night she had a tough time focusing and I eventually decided that she could make her own choice -- so she had a half pound of food for the day yesterday. "The thing is," I told me husband, "she's counting on me being nicer than I am. I don't particularly care if she eats it now or later." Today so far she's had most of a quarter pound, but that's it.

I expect that by Friday, I'll have a really focused dog.

I'd feel bad about this if these were new behaviors or a new environment -- but this stuff should be old hat to her, and this is my own driveway! She just would rather hunt this time of year, with the squirrels out from hibernation. Sorry, honey; I've got no plans to fail a second time, and you're working for dinner.

I'm about to go out the door to buy auto parts and I'll take Laev with me to practice in an unfamiliar (and less loaded) environment. We'll see how she does.

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