Hops had another take session this morning. I tried a different object this time, a soft rubber handle. I held it in my hand at first, marking then rewarding him for biting it. He still does not like this game but he was more willing to play today. I gradually moved the handle to the ground until I set it down. Once it was on the ground he offered to pick it up and lift it few inches off the ground several times. Great progress! I then grabbed a favorite toy and heeled around the house with him, randomly asking for sits and downs, releasing him right away to play tug with me. He had a little more trouble heeling with the toy than he does when I have food. It was also interesting that whenever we approached any mat or rug he would go ahead of me to them. Sometimes it took a few times of backing up, calling him back to me and trying again to walk toward the mat with him in heel before he could do it. He did great with the quick sits and downs though.
A little later we practiced perch work on two different balance disks. He is giving me lots of side steps to reward but I found out he does a lot better if I start him next to me and send him to it each time. With the momentum of going toward the disk he side steps half way around the disk. If I reward him for that then wait for more I am rarely get more than one step. We then practiced shake a little bit, played with getting his front feet on two different paw pods, then practiced getting in and on a bowl. Getting in and on is was more challenging for him this time. I think it was because we have not practiced the bowl lately, he is bigger now, and we have done lots of perch work lately so he thought that is what I wanted. Now though he is sleeping soundly!
Before we left for work I brushed Hops. I combined brushing with it’s your choice by having kibble loose in front of him. He only tried to grab some once, then waited calmly while I brushed him the rest of the time. I rewarded him often by handing him a piece of kibble from the pile. He did great the entire time, no fussing.
On the way to work we stopped by Mud Bay for some canned food to stuff in kongs. Hops did great, he walked well on leash, sat for the women he met without jumping, he came easily away from distractions and he showed off some of his tricks.
Hops was once again wonderful at work. He said hello to many different dogs and people, loved all the people and did great with the dogs. Throughout the day he practiced heeling, tugging, fetch, tunnels, tables, tippy boards, pushups, moving sits, balancing on disks, perch work (was better a work than at home earlier, quick learner!) and lots of downs and face. Some of those he did as demos for classes. If I was talking to a class I could easily have Hops out with me. He just offered downs and face and had some great duration so I did not have to constantly reward him. He was able to do the same while dogs ran in my beginner agility class. Such a great skill! I was also able to leave his crate uncovered again while on the matted side. He was quiet 98% of the time : ) After classes I did recalls with Hops and ran around the ring with all three boys. Wow, Hops has gotten much faster since really ran like this last! Unfortunately when he really gets going his mouth also really goes! He barks/cries as he runs top speed after Dillon!