23 May 2008

Distance (aka Around) and Handling Progress

Even though I spent yesterday caught up in worries about certification, I didn't neglect Molly or her training. We practiced both handling and distance. She's gotten better at both and I've started cueing distance.

"Cueing" means adding the command word. For this distance behavior, I'm using the command "around" to tell her to go around the object. Yesterday I praised circles she made with "good around" and used the word when she volunteered the behavior. This morning she did the behavior on request. I want to practice it more and with different objects before I consider it mastered, but it is real progress.

Handling is going well, too. She lets me hold her ears and move them around. I can look into them and prod them about for 10-30 seconds without a problem. I can also touch her stomach down at the bottom towards sensitive areas without a reaction.

She is still a little unsure about her tail and paws some of the time, although we can usually get through nail trims and vet exams without stress. I think she just can't quite figure out what I am up to at this point. I'll keep working on it. The more we practice, the more she will realize that I'm not doing anything harmful. We've also never hurt her trimming her nails, but it helps that she is calm.

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