Today I took him to an obedience trial at Queen City Dog Training Center. He's so used to hustle and bustle that the crowd and dogs were no problem. Though once he saw a dumbell thrown, he really wanted to get it! Then he wanted to get the little DOG that got the dumbell. He barked a few times in frustration at being restrained as I tried to get his attention, but I was able to get him looking back at me. He was also geeked up by the occasional applause, but only barked once. The other times there was applause, I was stuffing string cheese in his mouth :-) As this went on during the time we were there, he started taking the cheese more softly. At first he practically took my fingers with it because he was so amped up over the applause (he normally has a soft mouth and when there wasn't applause, he took treats really nicely.) After a few hours, I was getting really stiff and sore, and Dazzle was getting tired so we left. It was really nice seeing and talking with people I hadn't seen since I was training at Waggin Tails with Coyote about 6 years ago. I look forward to training with them again.
It seems his understanding of sit, down and stand has returned- WHEW! I gave him a break from training last night and just gave him his food in a bowl on the floor. What a novel idea! :-) I think we both needed the break. Our sessions aren't all that long, but there has probably been less than 10 times since I got him that he has eaten his entire meal right from the bowl without having to do anything for it. We are only in the 9th week of his training with me, so he is doing exceptionally well. Much better than I could have ever dreamed!
This morning I did a training session with him and he did really well with stay (sit and down), front (after a short chase of a treat away from me), heel, sit, stand and down (though I couldn't get him to do the latter two in heel position for some reason- he kept swinging away from me to lie down or stand. In the session this evening, I put his sledding harness on, attached him to the wall with a bungie leash and let him pull into it for about 5-6 different treats. Then I took that one off and put the tracking harness on and let him walk around in it. He wasn't too sure about the second strap around his mid-section, but was willing to walk, trot and sit while wearing. When that came off, we worked on all the cues from this morning again and all was back to normal. He is up to a 1 minute sit stay and a 2 minute down and allows me to walk behind him (to return to heel position.) It's clear that he has a hard time just doing "nothing" for that long. He stares at me for awhile, then his attention wanders and he starts looking around like a little kid trying to find something to get into :-) He still moves more often than not when I practice the stand for exam. I think I'll put him back up on the boards to help him understand I don't want his feet to move. :-)
I started him on some "voodoo remedy" :-) in anticipation of his rabies vaccination on Friday. I'm so worried he will be one of the dogs that gets aggressive from the shot and I'm praying it doesn't happen. My vet said the reaction of increased aggression after the shot is a form of vaccinosis and it's a reaction that causes minor symptoms of the disease. Severity of the symptoms has a wide range. Hopefully the fact that he's not getting the vaccine in conjunction with any others, his good genetics, good diet and the voodoo stuff will help stack the odds in our favor. My stress levels will go down after I see there's no reaction.
He also gets another chiropractic adjustment and I'll be interested to see what this vet says about his hips (the other vet in the office, on a previous visit, thought they felt loose.) I'm also curious to see how much he weighs now. It's already hard to recall how little he was when he arrived, just 9 weeks ago.
If I'm up to it, tomorrow we'll be going to Clermont Co. DTC to watch CPE agility. I was looking at Infodog.com last night for upcoming shows and I'm already looking at deadlines for Rally entries for shows in March when he turns 6mo. old. :-) I figure that just about the time I put out money for a show entry, he'll go through the "brainless puppy" stage where he forgets everything he has learned. :-) I better get more on video to prove "he really does know it" (famous last words of compeditors everywhere) LOL