2 Minute Poster Dog

Blue, my all american shelter dog, and I are having so much fun working our way through some 2-Minute jump training. I have some interesting results to report.

After a week of training she would obsessively take the jump while I walked to our training area with her food. Blue will try to pick up where we left off, returning automatically to the previous exercise while she’s waiting to see what I’m going to do.

I’ve been doing these exercises with dogs for eight or nine years. My aussies tended to be wait-and-see dogs, perhaps offering a performance or two while they were waiting, but not throwing themselves into the game like this Blue hooligan does. I’m immediately struck with the fact that I’ve trained aussies for 12+ years, would have given anything for this kind of temperament in those relatively expensive dogs. This time, I walked up to a shelter dog who had a compelling look, who stared at my face, who appealed to me — and she turns out to be the most clever dog I’ve ever trained. I find that very interesting.

Okay, so back to our recent training. For the last 2 days I’ve been showing Blue back crosses at our jump. True to her typical learning pattern, Blue started out totally ignoring all my physical and verbal cues, repeating her jump-tight wrap or jump-jump-jump in a figure 8, as we worked on earlier.

In order to achieve a back cross I had to totally remove the jump from the picture at first. I had Blue do a back cross on the flat (which she was able to do) then fed her, moved closer to the jump, did another back cross on the flat then fed her, and finally managed to get one back cross over the jump, fed the remainder of her breakfast.

For supper we attempted a back cross in the opposite direction and had to return to back crosses on the flat to get her attention. I absolutely believe in making a skill as easy as possible at first, so this isn’t so much of a hardship for me. I’m just fascinated with the way she learns and this terrier-mix is quite the independent thinker.

One of the benefits of having a 4-path approach to the 2-Minute Dog Trainer brochures (1. training Blue, 2. working with the shelter dogs, 3. writing this blog, 4. creating the brochures) is that I’m getting a full picture of training implications. Regardless of how well-concealed the issue I’m probably going to run into it somewhere on one of the four paths.

I believe that, with Blue, my biggest struggle is going to be getting her OFF the morning’s task in the afternoon, OFF the afternoon’s task in the morning, etc. Unlike my aussies, who always benefitted from a few mornings of remedial training prior to a trial, Blue may need a few days off as her surest preparation strategy.

On another note, our local college (Marietta College, a private institution) may be providing our shelter with some public relations assistance. There’s a “PR writing” class where teams of students take on PR tasks for local businesses. I provided their advisor with 3-4 PR ideas and she now says there may be TWO teams wanting to work with our shelter.

Specifically, I’d like to have them research and design PR materials to address a few shelter issues — 1) the benefits of spay/neuter directed at the public of our area versus more urban settings, 2) the benefits of adopting from a shelter versus purchasing from a pet store, backyard breeders, etc., and 3) HSOV’s new SMART team, explaining what we’re trying to do, building interest in joining our team, benefits of SMART to the efforts of HSOV.

I’m really interested to see how these college kids perceive the rural issues we face.

Enough of that — I’m off to feed the dogs their dinner and see what challenges I face with Blue !!

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