Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Five Times Challenge: Week 1 Update

It’s been just over a week since I started the Five Times Challenge. I still really like it; my biggest difficulty has been tracking the sessions. I don’t have the best memory, and though I’ve been trying to make a hash mark on my training board when I complete a session, I’ve forgotten to do this a lot. The upside of this is that Maisy has probably gotten more than five sessions on several days.

There have also been days where we haven’t been home much, either because we’ve been at a friend’s house, or because we’ve been at training class. On these days, I’ve tried to work in sessions, either while waiting for my husband to run an errand, or while in the waiting room at the vet’s, or even while waiting for pizza to be delivered! So, on those days, we may get fewer sessions in, but we get the added bonus of a new environment.

This is the beauty of the Five Times Challenge: since it’s so quick, it’s easy to sneak in some practice in other environments. I’m taking advantage of those natural times in life where you have to wait for something. There isn’t time for a full 20 minute session, but a few steps of heeling? No problem!

The progress Maisy has made has been amazing. I’m getting some very nice attentive heeling, and my instructor even commented last night that Maisy’s heeling looked really nice.

But, my favorite moment happened on Monday night. My husband needed to run to the credit union, and we tagged along. It was beautiful out, so instead of waiting in the car, we hung out on a busy street corner in downtown St. Paul. Since we’d been in a hurry to leave, I’d forgotten to bring treats (bad trainer), but luckily there was a ball in the car. Normally, I don’t train with the ball; Maisy is borderline OCD about balls, and when she sees them, it’s like her brain falls out of her head.

So here we are, on a busy street corner at rush hour, in a location Maisy has never been before, outside a credit union, which means people are coming and going, and I’m holding a ball. An exciting, enticing ball. And my Maisy was able to take one whole step of attention heeling.

I know that doesn’t sound like a lot- one step? That’s it?- but trust me, for a fearful dog with reactivity and a lot of difficulty with focus on concentration, it was absolutely beautiful.


M.T. said...

That one step is HUGE! Training a dog who has recently become reactive myself, i have had to learn how to readjust my methods and expectations with regards to our training, and knowing what it takes, EVERY step becomes worthy of a CELEBRATION!

"Absolutely beautiful" is absolutely right :)

Crystal said...

Thanks, and welcome to my blog. :)

I'm glad you understand the thrill of such small steps. I'm excited to put each single step together into a cohesive whole.

Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

congratulations!!! 1 step really is a great accomplishment! It's the hardest step to get!

Urban canines said...

Congratulations!!! Great work!

Thank you for posting this challenge. I am finding this training strategy excellent for both Kelsa and my short attention spans.