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Lilly & Pitsch Train and Play

We haven’t worked with Pitsch, Lilly’s “Control Unleashed” training buddy for a couple months because he and his mom Betsy were busy trialing. Gotta say, he’s been on FIRE. We’re waiting for the official list, but it looks like Pitsch cracked the list of top 25 Aussies. We’re hoping to see his name in the top 10. How neat is that? … said the girl with the dog who won’t get up off the ground.

So, it only makes me feel like crying a little over my failure. Maybe a lot, but I’m still SO happy for them. They work very hard, and it’s fantastic to see them hitting their stride. He’ll turn four later this summer, so they have several years to do some serious running (and winning).

Last Saturday, we worked on both dogs reorienting (Lilly while hopping out of her car crate) and Pitsch on the ground outside his car. Pitsch did great, even when he could see Lilly. Lilly did it twice, then refused to come out of her crate. It’s sad to see her shutdown at home.

We worked on relaxation and passive attention. Both dogs did great. Lilly was quite relaxed. She just didn’t seem to want to do any actual “work.”

Next, we did some basic box work, where they had to work inside the box, while the other dog & handler were outside. Pitsch did great. Lilly shut down. It’s quite possible that the use of weave poles as part of our junkyard box fence caused that.

stuff from May 31 001

I went ahead and crated Lilly so that she wouldn’t feel pressure, then Betsy and I tried the 2 handler heeling exercise from page 78 in Leslie McDevitt’s book, “Control Unleashed.” I was clicking. Betsy was giving Pitsch treats. We went in a straight line rather than a square, but it was still hard. I’m pretty sure my timing was throwing him off.

Then, since Pitsch had earned it by working hard, we let him play with Lilly. She didn’t want to work anyway. So, as usual, she chased him and growled for about 30 seconds. She really does like him, so I’m not sure why she insists on the initial display time after time. She is leaning away from him a bit, but otherwise, her body seems pretty relaxed.

stuff from May 31 003

After the early display, she slipped into the mode where she pretty much treats him like she treats Ginko.
See how similar the video below is to the one I shot of Ginko.

Lilly Playing With Pitsch (video link, if the embed below doesn’t show up).

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

Valerie - June 5, 2008

-nods- Toby’s fur raises like that as well when I’m playing with him. As well with anything interesting that goes on in the environment. It’s part of my cue that something might be overstimulating for him, but it doesn’t mean he’s over-threshold every time either. It’s an interesting little display… I’m not quite sure what it means either.

Roxanne Hawn - June 4, 2008

Sheesh! One more thing … notice too that she’s OK with getting treats from Betsy with Pitsch close by. Granted, Betsy is holding him back a bit, but if I was treating her and another dog got close, she’d have a fit.

Roxanne Hawn - June 4, 2008

I forgot to mention to look for how much Lilly’s hair stands on end in the first video. Right at the shoulders and right at her hips. In some circles, I think this might be interpreted as aggressive, but I’ve also seen it referred to as simply a sign of excitement.

Once in a while when Ginko is chasing her, the same thing happens.

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