After agility class Marley treated me to a frosty mocha. I may finally figured out what I need to do for team Marley. I have spent a lot of time focusing on where my shoulders are pointing. Our trainer keeps saying my shoulders are like Marley's steering wheel. I worked really hard and I think its working.
First we started by doing 2 jumps and the pause table. My shoulders were pointed forward and Marley went over both jumps. No confusion, missed jumps or any shenanigans.
Dog walk, hoop and that worked fine on one side. I then had to do a crossover (where I turn my body and redirect Marley). Marley did fine until I took my eyes off of her and she switched sides and started heeling.
Dog walk, hoop, hoop, tire this was a bit more complicated and Marley did great until I had to crossover and I blew it.
Teeter, hoop, tunnel this was much better especially because it was easy to focus on where I was going. Marley loves the teeter and she is still trying to steal extra turns. When I focus on my shoulders Marley doesn't have any trouble with the tunnel.
It was incredibly hot and we spent a lot of break time in the doggy pool.
When we started agility, I thought this would be something fun for us to do together. I never expected to have to spend so much time and energy focusing on my body position. I also never realized how much klutziness I need to overcome.
Being a first time dog owner, I've spent a lot of time looking for a dog trainer. So far I've had good and bad experiences with dog trainers. Our first classes were at our local SPCA, they focused on positive training and building relationships. Marley and I completed all of the classes they offered and I want to try some advanced obedience.
Finding an advanced obedience class that continues using positive techniques is difficult. So far I've encountered trainers that don't listen to me and trainers who have a very different view on positive training.
I suspect Marley was abused in the past and there are many techniques I do not feel comfortable using. For example when I first got her she would cower and cry whenever I touched her collar. Due to this I will not use any technique that involves any pressure to her neck.
I've compiled a few questions I currently ask potential dog trainers:
What does positive training mean to you? Usually at this point they mention their favorite celebrity trainer, Cesar Millan or Victoria Stillwell. I'm sure if you watch TV you may have seen both shows and may have an opinion on their techniques.
What do you recommend I do if my dog is not listening to me? At this point if they say "pop the leash" I know I need to leave. I will not use this technique on my dog based upon suspected abuse.
Do I need any special equipment or can I use my harness? This lets me know if they are aware of any small dog needs. It also lets me know if they are part of the "popping" the leash crowd.
If I have any concerns with any techniques or if something doesn't work for my dog, can you adapt your training techniques? Basically, I want to know they will listen to my questions and concerns, no matter how silly they may appear.
I also think its kind of handy to take an example of a common problem and see what kind of solution they provide. If the method is compatible with a method you feel comfortable with then this may be the trainer for you.
I'm still looking for an advanced obedience trainer, basically if Marley was AKC registered I would want to work on our CDX. If you know of any trainers who may be able to help, please let me know.
The other day Marley and I needed to leave our home during some construction. We decided to visit a friend who has the biggest cat ever. Pumpkin weighs in at about 25 lbs. I was a bit concerned because Marley weighs about 11 lbs and she tends to be a bit feisty.
Pumpkin did not look pleased when a feisty little black dog took his spot on the couch.
Marley was just tickled she was allowed on the couch. After sniffing Pumpkin from nose to tail, Marley felt the need to spoon pumpkin. Yep, my feisty little dog spooned with a big gigantic orange CAT.
All my concern was for nothing, who knew Marley was into interspecies relationships?