Joel and Angela came over today. (Cue the thunder and lightning. )
They did some training with Fergus and Cai over the Christmas holidays. The Cardis learned to sit-stay and down-stay. We’d been able to teach them “sit” and “down”, but it was as though they had rubber buttocks, bouncing back up as soon as they performed the desired asana. Now, since the New Year began, they can hold their position for a minute at a time. Yes, miracles do happen.
We had Joel and Angela come back today for a refresher course. First, we discussed how the furchildren had behaved over the past three weeks. Then Joel went over the sit-stay and down-stay with distractions. I’m sorry to say, we had quite a few giggles at the pupsters’ expense — but these were interspersed with gasps of admiration at how well they did!
Down-stay comes first, because it’s more comfortable for the dogs than sit-stay. An evil nylabone taunted Cai and Fergus, sliding right past them more than once, but they never broke position.
Even E.g.’s John Travolta impression didn’t distract them.
The sit-stay came next. Fergus kept trying to lie down. He’s being given a correction here, a light pop up on the leash (you can see how gently Joel is gripping it) . Conversely, if they tried to get up from a down-stay, the correction was a light pop downward.
The boys are making it look easy, but it wasn’t: this time, Angela snuck down the hall and started knocking on, and then opening, the front door. They barked, they whined, and… they held their places.
“Release!” This, apparently, is the signal for wild, ecstatic galloping, at least in little herding dogs.
As we humans engaged in a few minutes of wrap-up discussion, Fergus lay his head on my foot and went immediately to sleep. Cai conked out in front of the fridge. They had worked hard.