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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rouge - Day 3 of Her Seminar, Finally a Break Through!

Rouge and I participated in the 2-day Excellent Stacy Peardot-Goudy seminar on Saturday & Sunday. The good news is that her contacts are beautiful, the better news is that she successfully exhibited her 'distracted self' which means the bad news was that little 'ole me was left with the exhausting task of cheerleading, begging, pleading and trying to keep her attention. It was a bit of a frustrating place to be and very unexpected.

Stacy and I had a chance to talk about it  at the end of the day (Stacy's been working with us for all of Rouge's agility training) and her guidance and observation has never steered me wrong. To quickly summarize the situation, it was time to expect more from Rouge if she wanted to play the game of agility with me. So the plan started with the simple concept of her lack of attention meant she got to go back to her crate.

Now, it's important to understand that Rouge has been trained and trained via a positive reward based system. However, she's a very smart dog and quickly learned to play me like a violin and that's how I unexpectedly found myself in the cheerleader role. But thanks to Stacy, times are a changing and so are the dynamics of Team Lisa & Rouge.

I started off the morning by working Burton, my husband's Lab. It was fun and he was great, but he's not my dog to run. By the afternoon, I was pining to work Rouge so Stacy and I discussed a plan ahead of time so that I was clear as to what steps I needed to take based on the behaviors she was offering me. Things went pretty well the first time out and it was far better than it had been over the weekend. However the second time out was SPECTACULAR!

The second time out I felt I had her complete attention and she was a working member of Team Lisa & Rouge. What an amazing change and so nice to see the progress! I've worked hard to give her a solid base and by golly, I know this dog is amazingly talented. It turns out that I needed to stop babysitting her and to clarify the teamwork part of the equation - not because it didn't exist, but because I was taking on far too much responsibility.

As always, Stacy's talents never ceases to amaze me. Now I feel on track again and ready to push to the next level.

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