Monday June 22: Day 3
Last night, we had to come up with one personal goal and one fear for team training. I said that I wanted to learn to be coordinated – between Hudson and my crutches, I ended up in some pretty good tangles that first day and nearly got knocked over! I also know I trip myself and other people with the crutches occasionally, and I really don’t want to be doing that to Hudson!
My fear, well…I worry that fatigue and pain will cloud my brain enough to damage our training. I worry that mentally, I won’t be able to keep up with what we’re doing. I know that physically I’ll have trouble at times, and I’m also well aware that I’m going to make mistakes – this is all new to me, after all. That’s not what I worry about. I worry that there will be too many mistakes because of the way this damn disability affects my mental acuity at times.
Our first exercise after sharing our journals was so silly, yet so important! We had to try out our ‘voices’ with the dog – command voice, correction voice, and praise voice. We had to use a word, any word that wasn’t actually a trained command, to get the correct reactions. Command is almost conversational – it’s firm, but it’s polite. Correction is a snap-to-it voice, to let them know they aren’t doing what you want (but you do this before you physically correct them most of the time). Praise voice is a high silly voice to get your dog excited and happy. And we had to get our dogs to wag their tails with this one – nothing doing with most of the labs, but the poodles and Hudson well that was another story! E. ended up being goaded to get up and dance around to get River to wag her tail. Hudson surprised me a little – I remembered something the trainers had said, when leaning close to him and sounding excited didn’t work – I leaned BACK in my chair, using the same voice, and there went his tail! No one else had to go to the lengths E. did, and the poor girl had to go first.
Other than that, we did a lot of talking about the way these dogs were mostly trained (clicker, which by the way I highly recommend) and watched some more advanced videos than what we’d viewed at home before we came. We did a little very basic practice of this, first luring our dogs with treats to touch a pole with their nose and clicking and giving them a treat, then giving them a click and treat when they had any interaction with the pole – a look, a sniff, a step in the right direction.
I am oh so very glad that Chris and I decided to buy me a lounge chair for training! After just 2 full days, it is obvious how very necessary this comfortable thing is. I was very annoyed at the expense ($100 – made me cringe), but it is without doubt worth it. If I were sitting in the plastic stackable chairs everyone else sits in, I would already be almost unable to get out of bed.