Bonney is learning …

so many things. We’re playing lots of games that teach her impulse control, and that she has to work for a living. Her sit, down, and “here” are improving daily.

She’s learning to go to the hand that doesn’t have the cookies to get rewarded with the cookies. She’s learning, and I’m learning, to do something before she gets to play with the Big Ball, her favorite toy.I had been letting her burn of energy by chasing the ball around the field all by herself. It’s very cute to see how much she loves it, and it’s very handy to use up so much energy so efficiently, but it isn’t the best way to use the ball as a top level reward. And it is a powerful reward. Also, it is better for her to want to play with me and the ball more than she wants to play with just the ball. Here’s a little video of our lesson last week:

It’s a lesson, and I engage in some self criticism which did pay off in modifying my behavior in later reps.

Yes, you can hear Chico barking in the background. He was in the car, with the Treat ‘n’ Train rewarding him, but he was still miffed that he wasn’t the dog getting my attention.

There’s so much to teach Bonney, and Chico knows so much; it takes planning and effort on my part to have something to do with him too. And he deserves to work for a living too.

We have to take an at least hour-long off-leash walk every day or Bonney has too much energy, and Chico loses condition (keeping him in shape, with a strong hind end is the best thing I can do these days for his agility career), and I don’t feel right about anything. Add a training session or two for Bonney, basic maintenance of my home and filling my belly at least once a day, a visit to Dakota, a dip in the river to cool off – bang, another day has passed. It’s summer and hot enough to keep me on the edge of crabby more days that one would expect in northern New England, but all in all, life is good. The heat has brought in tomatoes and corn rather early, we’re rolling in produce despite a drought – yup, all in all, life is good.

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