20 June 2008

Last Night's Pasture Pictures as Promised

Like Molly said, we had a lot of fun in the pasture last night and I took a lot of pictures. Here they come as promised.

During the course of our play session, we took advantage of the opportunity to test Molly on a couple Level 3 behaviors we knew she was ready to pass. I haven't quite finished training and testing the last few level 2 behaviors, but this stuff is ready and the weather was right, so we did it. As in the picture, Molly had to hold a sit stay for 30 seconds with one mild distraction and handlers 20 feet away. She actually can hold for 45 seconds or more on 1 cue instead of 2. Distractions are both DH playing with the ball and traffic on the road.

A passing down-stay requires a minute stay at 20 feet distance with distraction. She again succeeded with normally only one cue (on a few tests we did give a second if she started looking uneasy) and both ball play and traffic as distraction. We tested both behaviors multiple times. She just did so well, but really she doesn't find those behaviors to be a big deal.

The crouch is one of the identifying traits of a working border collie. Molly has a really good crouch and she uses it both for work in the BC sense and for playing. These two shots show her crouching for playing fetch. She focuses on the ball and on DH, who has the ball, and will slowly walk closer and closer to them, staying down in this position. Staying low makes the dog less likely to spook sheep, as does moving so very slowly. Another identifying trait is their "eye" but I'm not sure how to show that with pictures.

When DH throws the ball, Molly turns to chase it. I think her balance and athleticism are just amazing, especially when you consider that we don't play like this every day. She's focused, intense, and unbelievably fast with every throw.

One time the ball crossed a small section of temporary fence. The first time it did, she asked permission to go past it. From then on, she usually went under it. One time last night--just when I happened to be taking pictures--she jumped gracefully over to get the ball.

Once Molly has the ball, she runs back with it as quickly as she can to start the game over. She really loves to play.

Molly has gotten really good about letting us know when she needs a break. She just lies down before returning the ball until she feels ready to run again. We usually take these pauses as times to remind her to go get a drink, so we generally start saying "Water" at her. It often works--we tend to think it works if it needs to--and she will go drink from the nearest water source before play resumes. Last night we didn't want to keep going so called it quits after she started showing signs of needing breaks. The weather was nice and cool, so we'd actually had a long play and train before that.

Before we came in, I took Molly off-leash to potty. She is trained to potty on command, so it only took a moment. Because it is apparently a parent's duty to embarrass the child by taking potty pictures and showing them to as many people as possible, I did so. Sorry Mol, but just be glad I didn't go and take a video or film like some parents do! BTW, this potty behavior passes handling at Level 3.

After she was finished, I gave her a simple home command. Like the good girl that she is, she ran home and waited for me to come and let her in. Once I got there, she took a drink of water and we came in and called a night. She made the blog entry and everyone went to bed. That's that for yesterday.


Samantha said...

It is great to see photo's of Miss Molly. She looks very happy. :-)

Opy - the Original GruffPuppy said...

hey buddy,

welcome to www.dogswithblogs.com.au - it is great to meet you and I am sure you will make lots of new friends here :)


Beta said...


I like your blog. I'm an assistance dog in training. I'm only in my first year so it's just basic obedience and a lot of socialization. I look forward to reading more about Molly's training.

Love & Biscuits


Rafe said...

Been reading your blog for a while. Miss Molly sure is a sharp cookie! Looks good too. My person finds your training descriptions real interesting. Tried toe clicking, I barked.


Rebecca and Molly the Border Collie said...

Thanks all of you. I'm definitely getting a lot of contacts from dogs with blogs.

I'll try to cover more training in my posts. I had a hectic weekend, so I'm a little behind in blogging.