Saturday, April 4, 2015

Day 15: Grand Finale

This is Sage at about 4pm. Falling asleep while trying to keep her head up. She had a huge day, with some real triumphs, all of which were recorded on video for you. I will show them to you when we meet, because they are too long to upload with country DSL speed.

I arranged for my two assistants and their dogs to come back one more time to help Sage with her training. Today we did a mock CGC test and a mock Pet Partners Skills and Aptitude test (for therapy dogs) to see how she would do. I also planned to take video of Sage doing recalls in the meadow, as we can't bring that home to demonstrate! We took some footage of her leash walking as well.

Sage would probably have passed her CGC if she was tested by someone she doesn't know. But she loves Julie, who was playing the tester role, so she was a bit too excited to stay seated when saying hello. She just needed  a bit more practice with holding a Sit when greeting someone she really likes - she popped up into a stand, although she didn't jump up. (She is fine with people she doesn't know).

She was also a bit wobbly on the item where she had to sit by my side and not cross over my centerline while I shook  hands with a person with another dog by their side. She has done fine with this before, and she did it on the second try today. So just a bit more practice and she'll be good to go!
I was very pleased with her progress and think she will have no trouble passing the CGC test not too far from now.

The CGC and Pet Partner Skills tests are almost the same so we went on to test the Pet Partner Aptitude test. This involves things that are right up Sage's alley - being cuddled, hugged, bumped and surrounded by enthusiastic, though rather clumsy, attention.  She also had to remain calm with erratic walking, things being dropped behind her, etc. Of course, she aced this section!

Next we moved on to recall, with and without the whistle. This was the most fun - Sage was off leash with Olive, and Julie and Olive provided distractions. We did very long recalls, running recalls, call away from play, and out of sight recalls - none of these was too hard for Sage today! You will see how wonderfully well she did when you watch the videos.

After a while I put her in her crate in the car with a Greenie, and we worked with the Moose and the whistle in the meadow, out of sight of the car. It occurred to me that it wasn't so good for Sage to hear the whistle and not be able to get a treat, since we want her to associate the sound with treats or other wonderful things 100% of the time.

But just as I was thinking this, Sage took care of the problem - she came flying across the meadow to get her treat! Everyone was astonished. Where did she come from?! When she  heard that whistle blast - nothing was going to stop her! Obviously I hadn't latched the crate tightly and she just pushed it open and did what she had been trained to do - fly to me when she hears the whistle. Awesome girl, Sage!

Lastly I put Sage through her leash-walking paces and everyone cheered her at the end - she did so well and has come a long way since we first tried a leash walking exercise 2 weeks ago.  (This is on video too.)

We are looking forward to showing you what she has learned!  Meanwhile, we hope you have a safe journey! See you tomorrow!

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