Last night I went over to Jodi's house and she video-taped me working Scout. I have to say, through gritted teeth, that I'm a huge believer in the painful lessons learned watching yourself on video. There is nothing like it to let fully sink in the reality of what all is going wrong out there. While I'm working I think I'm aware of the mistakes I'm making, about 2 seconds after I'm making them…and when Jodi or Dianne points them out to me; I certainly know when things are not going right, but I think I like to reassure myself that they aren't THAT BAD…Scout is a little more off her sheep, she downs 3 out of 5 times…
Seeing yourself shout the same commands over and over, your dog blowing you off…God Damn, she is in constant motion and so is my mouth! …it's strong bitter medicine. I almost stopped watching the Longest Video Ever about 3 times, I kept getting mad at myself. It reminded me of black and white stock film footage I've seen of chimps chasing eachother around a table. Round and Round…hoot hoot…round and round. One chimp is in a dress, the other in a tuxedo with tails. It's all silent, but you can tell that one is almost constantly hooting at the other. The point is never really clear. The only thing slightly less disturbing about my training video is that, thankfully, I didn't wear a prom dress. Other than that, the chimps seemed to have more of clear goal in mind and they were both aware of one another's presence.
On the bright side, Jodi was completely delighted by the video. She danced with unbridled joy. Laughing. Clapping. Snickering,
"Wait till you SEE IT!! OMG! It's the BEST VIDEO EVER! YOU NEVER SHUT UP! Count how many times you say, 'Scout..down…down, Scout…Scout. Down.' You will learn SO MUCH from watching this…"
I taped her working Zip. It is worth noting that I have never seen Jodi work so calmly and quietly. You are welcome. Hoot hoot.
Today I went to Dianne's for a lesson. At first, Scout and I made the same mistakes. I repeated commands, with increased volumn, Scout blew me off, rushed in, etc. Dianne, who will one day learn that on my training days she might just want start drinking around 9am, came over and in her own incredulous DIanne way asked, "What are you doing?"
I never know how to answer this. "Uhhhh…" seems sufficient.
Dianne pointed out how important it is that I setup the run during the first moments out there to succeed. "Don't let her blow you off that first time."
Today it wasn't so much that we covered anything new with Scout, it was more about me enforcing what I say; only issuing a command once, then getting after her for not listening. Really getting after her. It's the same thing we cover each time, really, but I believe I made progress today. I kept picturing those damn monkeys.
Dianne also let me work Nicki. Nicki is a young dog DIanne is training for someone else. That was really fun. To experience what it felt like to send a dog on a longish outrun and work with advanced problems (Nicki is very pressure sensative) was like driving someone elses sports car.
Then I got into my POS toyota wagon and went home.