Sunday, June 26, 2011
Smart Dogs and New Tricks
PUPPIES! They are wonderful things. Soft and warm and full of that puppy smell and youthful exuberance. They are also awesome little teachers too. Like horses but much more constant, after all they live with you inside your home....or should. Our new one Mynee, the super genius, is helping me with my horse training. That is to say, in dealing with her very active mind and body, has challenged me to practice concepts Ive only recently embraced( in the last two years or so) The big kahuna of these new practices for me is simply redefining when a horse is ready for what ever the next step is in his education. John Lyons gave us permission to move on many ways and many times during our time with him. The problem, for me anyway, was fear and type A-ness( is that a word?) Fear pushed me to drill for safety and type A made me want to get that perfect. Conditioned Response lends itself well to my neuroses. Now that's scary. So my first teacher was sent, Cuervo whose physical limitations made drilling impossible at the time I acquired him. That forced the door open a crack. Then his agile mind overtook my linear ways and the search for answers led to new friendships that got a proverbial foot in the door. Well , old habits die hard and Ive had a few set backs. But before I despair, a new teacher is sent! One with out hooves, one who I cant hide from inside my home or behind a "busy" schedule....One who has presented me with a goal long forgotten of trail riding with my well trained doggie so I can ride alone with less worry in the real world.It makes me a bit dizzy but the light flooding into my horse consciousness from 24/7 dog training is blinding. What is so telling for me, is that I started with what I thought was the right thing for her and she showed me very quickly where that needed to be modified. Today was the break through she had been waiting for.That was to MOVE ON even though the pulling on the leash was still happening 35 percent of the time. Frankly sometimes more on "bad" days. Treats and clicks cant touch her on those types of days. Running after the ball and stick ad nausium couldn't either. Heck on those days the prong collar makes my arm tired...shudder. She needed mental AND more physical stimulation. So on our walkie today, I sped up my feet. If there was leaping and biting and flopping over in the tall grass( she is a bit graceless at this age)we slowed down and tried again. She was brilliant for steps at a time, and the happy dog face she made while we worked through whose feet get to go where was priceless! And while I appreciate the hour long nap happening at this moment that allows me to type this very blog, I am almost moved to tears for the desires and ideas that I am flooded with pertaining my wonderful equines out in the field. I'm out the door this evening in the cool to apply some good old dog lessons. Thank you universe for the abundance of teachers that have flown my way!