Back to school today and with the exception of a couple of minor attempts not to hear my commands, I am delighted to report Miss Polly did very well! It seems the break from training last week has been good for her focus ... or perhaps it's the training we have been doing on our daily walks?! Either way, I am absolutely thrilled with how her understanding is developing.
As regular readers will know, teaching my very sociable girl to come back smartly to me from play with other dogs, is something I have been determined to conquer from the start and it has been a long haul. To watch Polly playing happily with seven lively dogs on the field today and have her return enthusiastically on each recall, was a real buzz! Now that I know she will return to me when I call, I am beginning to allow myself to become a little more confident about allowing her to meet other dogs off lead and lately have allowed her to make friends with a few of the local dogs we meet on our walks, including a rather dashing greyhound, a bouncy red setter and a magnificent Golden Retriever called Harry - Polly was especially impressed with Harry, all a-flutter in fact! At last she seems to be grasping the need to play with other dogs on their terms and the overly boisterous stuff of previous months tends to be reserved for other golden retrievers ... boy oh boy, do those gorgeous goldies love to frolic together!
Our heel walking and 'down stay' practice is also paying off now and I can't tell you how delighted I was to complete both heel walking courses today with Polly mostly off lead, ignoring all the other dogs on the circuit - I was so proud of her!
Needless to say, I have learned from Polly that when she's had enough, it's best to call it a day and today, that moment happened towards the end of our hard working, rather warm session. By the time it came to pallet work, which Polly can do almost standing on her head at home, she decided she was tired of being told to 'sit, down and stand', so sat on the pallet, performed a couple of rather sulky stands and downs with great reluctance, then ignored me totally until I saw reason! Can't say I blame her really, I was tired, hot and sticky by then and if anyone had told me to up, down, down, up like a bloomin' yo-yo, I'd probably have gone on strike too!
Training definitely requires give and take on both sides and when it comes to my very characterful goldie girl it might mean that it sometimes takes a little longer to reach our goals, but there is no doubt in my mind, we always achieve far more together when we are both in a good mood! :-)