2008 training goals

February 2008

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I got the final draft of my hound artwork. My mother gave me a gift certificate to this man's business for Christmas.

Cheryl and I did meet up tonight to do some more work with Sparkle's run offs, Jedi's no turns, Bernie's weaves and Grace's sequencing. Grace is going to be so much fun this weekend! Sparkle only did one bad run off to the fence. It was on the first try off course. I put her up and we worked on Grace and Jedi. Then she got another chance. She did a lot more before getting distracted and when she did run off from then on she always stayed in the agility part of the field and she came back.When she came back, I had her do an obstacle before we did any treating. I know she is capable of understanding this since she has "auto heel" programmed in her. Get out good treats and ignore her and she immediately offers obedience behaviors to earn the treats. We need to transfer this to agility "auto" as well. Jedi did just awful about listening to me at first. I got him doing some turns better then I pulled out the steak bit leftovers. He does know how to turn tightly!


Agility classes this evening were cancelled due to chilly weather. So, Cheryl and I headed out there to see if we could work on Sparkle's run-offs and work with Grace on 10-14 obstacles in a row without treats on the person. I took Jedi and Kamikaze along as well. Jedi needed some work on tighter turns when asked. Well, unfortunately, there were many people that didn't get the message class was cancelled, so by the time I got something set up there were others arriving. Not quite the environment I wanted, but Sparkle's not a threat to anyone. Her first run was 4 obstacles or so and take off. I went and retrieved her, as the recall was broken. I put her up and got out Kamikaze for some fun. She does straight lines or sloping turns well, but tight turns aren't happening yet. Grace got a turn after Sparkle. She is coming along quickly on running the obstacles and not herding mom. She managed a good amount of obstacles in a row and went to the car for her treats. The rest of Sparkle's tries went better and she managed 10 or so several times and then back to the car for treats. One disaster happened again later in the night when we switched ends with the class people and got to use the dogwalk. She was going down the down ramp and saw 'something' on the ground. She hopped off the ramp on the side to go check it out. It was just some dog's squeaky ring toy, but then her mind was gone and she took off again. This time though, once she got to the fence and I called her she was headed back to me when a loose Aussie decided she needed to be herded. Nothing bad happened, but Sparkle got bowled once as I smacked the Aussie on the head, but she didn't seem too upset. She gets bowled at home some. My only concern was that she got bowled as she was returning to me instead of when she was running away. We did the sequence again without any trouble. Jedi got a try or two and his turns were improving. But, he can't seem to run all out and turn, if he thinks about turning with me I get a slow deliberate dog. Bernie practiced 12 weaves with some success. Cheryl and I are plotting a return visit to the field tonight to try again.


Yesterday evening I worked with Nikita again on signals, articles and gloves. Signals and gloves went very well. Articles weren't too shabby. She trotted to the pile each time and sniffed around. She picked up the right article and took three steps toward me and then dropped it and went back.  She eventually went back to the right one and brought it in. This happened each time I sent her. So now we're at the point of just second guessing ourselves.

Tonight I set up almost all my agility stuff. Sparkle needs work on more than three obstacles for a treat, and the treats need to be elsewhere and NOT in my hand. I can't wait to get my agility field finished all this setting up and then putting back up is a pain. I pulled out the teeter and attached the ramps to the dogwalk. Drug out the table, 6 weaves, the broad jump and all 4 of my bar jumps. I managed to set it all up so that we could run 13-15 obstacles in a reasonable sequence. There was leftover prime rib on the window sill on the patio. Sparkle did 3 and took off just like at the show last weekend. She didn't head for the treats though. Very frustrating, but maybe I can work on it if it happens here. I called her until she came and told her she was a good doggie. I put her back at the start. 4 obstacles and off she ran. I retrieved her and put her in her crate in the house with no treats, but I was not ugly. Josie got a turn while Sparkle contemplated her situation. She needed the contact practice and the table practice. She was, of course, great. Sparkle got another turn. 4 obstacles and then RUN. This time towards the treats. I called and she eventually came back. Obstacle four was the teeter, so maybe she was spooking at the rebound bang. I set her up and when she got to the teeter I helped her off and held her still while it banged while I talked sweet to her. Then I let go and we did 3 more obstacles and then off she went again. I had to retrieve her this time. Back in the crate. Jedi got his turn. Little knot head! He also performed just as badly as he did at the last show. He's having the same phenomenon I noticed in Bandit a couple of years ago. He doesn't want to turn if there is something in his line of site, and he really doesn't like to wrap jumps. I'm not sure where this comes from. Now that two of mine have started exhibiting this behavior I am wondering what I'm doing. It also happened to the dogs that don't want to be wrong. It took Jedi like 4 or 5 tries to get through the 15 obstacle sequence. The only thing I can think to do is practice wrapping jumps with treats for a happy, fast, tight wrap. Sparkle got a turn again. This time I ran with a cheap treat in my hand for her to focus on. I never gave it to her out there though. This worked wonders. She made the whole sequence and then we leashed up and went to the patio to get some of the good stuff. Back to the crate with good treats. Lego was up next. He did great, except the tight turn into the weaves was a struggle the first time through. Then I took Misty out to refresh her memory on the contacts since she hasn't done agility in about a year. She hesitated at the teeter and dogwalk and needed a reminder about what they were, but everything else was great the first time and she AROO ROO  at me in joy. I took Sparkle out again for a run with no treat in my hand. She did her 13 obstacles just fine and stayed with me. At the end I told her how great she is and leashed her up for the walk to the treats. Maybe this experience is helping her realize the treats are coming at the end. I know she can comprehend this as she has 2 legs toward her first obedience title that involves 2-3 minutes of work before a treat happens. I need to do this little exercise again before the show I think. Kamikaze got a turn last with the jumps at 16 inches. She is so fast! If I can keep her listening to me we'll be set. She only had problems on some of the tight turns and of course, she doesn't weave yet.


Cheryl sent me a CD with pictures from the obedience match.

I also was lucky enough to get a new digital camera right before I left. Rich's business bought ours, so I got a new one. Here's my first picture with it.


Back from the Monroe AKC agility shows. I had a miserable time. Lego ran fast, but not with me. He took off straight to the back of the arena without even taking the jumps he was set in front of on his first run. I managed to get him to come after what seemed like forever and we took the last 4 obstacles on the way out. Sparkle was next in Novice jumpers. After her nice performances last weekend in USDAA I expected some similar performances. That didn't happen. She made 3 jumps and was gone to the exit to search for her treats without me. I have to input here that the opening of Novice jumpers was a COMPLETE circle, so she did the first three and then was facing the exit. She never recalled. Fortunately she wasn't hard to catch. Lego in standard at least took the jump he was in front of on the way to the back. Out we go again. Sparkle did RING, Walk IT, jump, jump. I was starting to feel better about this one. She even started the weaves. Then in the middle of the weaves she just took off like something spooked her. Yes, there was a train going by rattling the place. Out she went to table surf again. We were done by 2. 

I asked a couple of club members if they'd like to check out the arena that this club is using for their indoor show in June this year. They seemed interested, so we went around the little circle road from the hotel to check it out. They were having a horse function, so we were actually able to get in and look around. It looks like a nice place, and the Rv parking is so much nicer than at the Civic Center. There are also plenty of restaurants around the mile or so circle close by. In the usual chit chat of driving around one of the club members felt the need to tell me "Lego needs to just have a place on the couch.", as I was lamenting his desire to run around and not work that day. I told her that wouldn't make him happy either. "Well, he can come along, just quit spending money on him.", was her response. Now, as I am sure she didn't mean to be ugly, because she just isn't that way typically, I kept my mouth shut to avoid some serious ugliness. I was just pissed at the thought of it all night though. Instead of some helpful insight or some fake sympathy, she felt the need to insult my dog and me. Lego has great untapped potential and some day he's gonna kick some sheltie butt. Just because working with him isn't always easy or rewarding doesn't make him any less quality agility dog than hers. He may take a couple more years to be more consistent, but now when he runs with me he makes heads turn.

 I ate dinner with some club members and some Monroe people to celebrate the retirement of one of the Monroe shelties. The company was nice and the food acceptable. I didn't sleep well that night with all the irritation from the bad runs and the nasty comments.

Sunday did start a bit better as Lego and I at least made it around the Open Standard course. It involved a couple of obstacles and a zoomie and a couple more and a zoomie. He couldn't even hold a wait on the table. He sat and when I said WAIT he took off for the next obstacle. He got them all in eventually except only 10 of the weave poles need to be finished. Sparkle was worse than ever. She ran under the tire and out of the ring. I left the ring and had to catch her. I slipped the leash on and was leaning over her asking where her COME was and why she was being a bad dog when the judge starts SCREAMING. I ignored her as we were done, I didn't figure it had anything to do with me. I was wrong. She just KNEW I was snatching her up by the leash and hanging her. I don't know what she saw that made her think this other than the leash was taunt above her head to keep her sitting while I talked to her. She was in the ring and we were a good 30-40 feet away with people around us. The people around me didn't know why she was yelling at me either. Asking her later what she thought happened just proved fruitless as she "KNOWS WHAT SHE SAW!" and next time I'll just try and blow it off. It was just so unnerving as I haven't strung up any dog for not running agility. For the most part with other competitors I have the reputation of saintly patience with misbehaving. Even Jedi's only gotten picked by the scruff. Just the capper to my weekend I suppose. In Excellent Jumpers I got to run Galadriel as Erin was sick and stayed home (Jessie ran her in Standard). She ran just fine with me and other than creaming a couple of bars, which is her problem consistently, we were good. Then I ran Lego. 2 jumps and off again. I ran to the exit and he came and did the last obstacle. Now I'm thinking I'll just go home. What's the point in putting Sparkle at the line again. Especially since the judge is convinced I treated her badly. Then there's the 12 dollars I spent. I decided to stick it out and try for a positive, treatable experience. I didn't even walk the course, as I didn't want the temptation to try and run it. I went to the line. Left Sparkle in a stay. Called her over the first jump and said "COME" as happy as I could. It worked and she jumped and came. "GOOD GIRLY, What a good beagle." I picked her up and we left. She got the good treats for staying in the ring with me and leaving with me. I was sorely tempted to try 2 jumps, but what if that had gone badly after jump1? Then I'd have had no positives with her that weekend.

Gandalf had a couple of really nice runs. I think he even Q'd in Jumpers Sat. None of our club members that were running for MACH this weekend managed a double Q. Chica, aka Somer, the border pup I transported, had her first AKC show and went 4 for 4 Qs. She's so awesome.


I ran Nikita through the signals, articles and gloves after work. She was much improved on all of them, but still a bit unsure and frustrated by the gloves. I have hit on something I think is working for her though. Instead of saying 'heel' each time I turn towards the gloves I say a different word depending on the glove I'm going to turn towards. "Easy" for #1, "Heel" for #2, "Back" for #3. The verbal cue as to which glove is helping her. I know because one time I said "BACK" and she immediately took off to get glove #3 before I even turned.

Tonight was the agility class I'm teaching. We've only gotten in 3 classes now and I think just as many rain outs. I set up a distance challenge from Clean Run. The class seemed to enjoy/appreciate it. Now that AKC has added a FAST class there are more interested parties in distance handling than there used to be. Sparkle and Kamikaze got to work some before class. I really wanted to work with Sparkle off leash on about 10-13 obstacles (anything) in a row without a treat. Her downfall at trials is her determination that she's done an adequate amount to get a treat and she ain't workin' NO MORE until one appears. This was going well until we moved towards the other end where the contact obstacles were. She caught a whiff of something interesting and took off. NO coming back either. I was very disappointed as she has never done this at the field before. I stalked her down, picked her up, carried her back to where we were. She did a couple of things and took off again. One more stalk. Third try. Same result, so off to the crate she went. I should've done that the first time she left, but I really wanted to work on some things. So, Kazee got a little extra time. She still doesn't weave straight poles at all, but she can do the channels at about 4 inches. She's even getting the one step footwork going sometimes. Her next biggest challenge is the dogwalk. She willingly does it, but is cautious of it as she has lost her footing a couple of times trying to race across it. Other than those two things she is looking just great. I even was able to pull off a couple of back crosses without confusing her or causing a knocked bar.

I got an email from Meg saying we only had one entry in PII pairs for our show. She wanted to know if one of my 'retired' guys would mind running so this lady could have a chance at a Q. So, Misty gets to run one time at our show in PII pairs, 16 inches. I get teary eyed just thinking of how excited she'll be and how it'll be for her to get one more time on the course at almost 13 years old.


I got home from Memphis about 5 pm. The weather there wasn't nearly as bad as it was predicted to be this weekend. Sat. morning was chilly, but not bone chillin'. I got to the show site in time to set  up my stuff and arrange the score table. Gamblers was first. Both Jedi and Josie ran pretty well, but no gamble. It went downhill for Jedi from there. He wasn't turning when called and did lots of runs out to corners before returning. He almost managed a pairs Q later on Saturday. He ran past a jump and when I called him back, he back jumped it or we'd have Q'd. Standard and Steeplechase I just ended up picking him up and walking off. Josie had a really sweet Adv. Standard run Sat. after Gamblers, but no luck on the Q front. She slid off the table and missed her dogwalk contact. Her pairs partner was a nice, fast mini-aussie. We managed a Q with FIFTEEN faults. We were both blazin'. She hit a bar and Josie flew past both the contacts, but the speed was phenomenal. Josie also managed another Steeplechase Q with a clean run, but not as fast as earlier and another Snooker Q. Sparkle had her USDAA debut in a Pairs run with Brassy the beagle (her debut as well). It was most adorable to watch and we had the whole of the show site stopping to see us. Sparkle ran first which made her the dog that had to do the weaves. She did jump, jump, weave just beautifully. All 12 poles and only hesitated at pole 10 and needed a reminder to finish them. Then jump, tunnel. She kept sticking her head in the tunnel and coming out as I pulled a boner of a move on my novice dog and tried to back cross the tunnel. It took several attempts to get her committed to the tunnel. Then jump, teeter. She ran around the bottom of the teeter several times before deciding she could do it. And she was very slow and deliberate on it. Now just two jumps and we're finished with our side. She did it all! The fun came in trying to exchange the baton. I ran over cheering for Sparkle the whole way to keep her attention. I stepped just behind Elaine and Brassy so I could pass the baton behind my back and keep Sparkle separated from Brassy with our bodies to keep the beagles from playing. Brassy was wise to that little tactic and as soon as Elaine took her hands off her she tried to push around me to see Sparkle. I felt her shove me, so I reached down and snatched Sparkle up. Brassy made a circle around me and saw Sparkle levitating and decided all Mom's calling was more important and she took off with Mom and did her half just perfect too. We ended up 10 seconds over time, but both of us were proud of our little hounds. Sparkle's next run was Snooker. I had a good, mostly straightforward plan for her to keep her moving. Kay liked my plan for Gator too. Sparkle ran the plan just perfect up to the 6 weave poles that were #6. All she had to do was muttle through them to Q. She started them the wrong side twice. Then on the third try she said, "screw them, where's the treat?" and took off for the exit gate to find the person with the cookies. DARN! So close.

It poured Sat night, but Sunday turned into a nice day. Josie's Adv Standard run wasn't as nice as Sat though. Still slid off the table, missed 2 contacts and refused the teeter 3 times. Jedi got hauled off Standard. Sparkle ran in Standard too. What with the brain melt down in Snooker I didn't want to over do it again. I consulted with Elaine who told me her plan to take a short path with Brassy to keep it fun. I chose her way as well. It involved jump, jump , Frame , jump, jump , weave (the first part of the course). Sparkle didn't make it up the Frame because she stopped at the beginning to sniff and had no momentum.  We went on to finish the plan. She hit the weave entrance and did all 12 with head up and bouncing. Out for treats! Josie's Grand Prix run was going decently, but not too fast until she hung herself in the tire. Somehow she just under jumped and ended up swinging on her belly in the tire. She managed to wriggle out the correct way. I leaned down to see it she was OK and she seemed fine. I hesitated before deciding instead of going on we'd back jump the tire just to make sure she wasn't going to think ill of it. I sent her back through and got the whistle for an off course and left partying with her that the tire didn't hang her again. Jedi was once again hauled off this course. As I was walking out carrying him the judge walked part of the way back with me to tell me I made the right decision with my other little dog. Very kind of him. Josie got second in the second round of Steeplechase winning me $7 and some change. Jumpers was last. Jedi actually had a real agility run this time and got a first place Q! Josie and I had a mis-cue that sent her off course. Sparkle attempted the entire course. We made it to 14 of 16 obstacles. All that was left was two jumps in a straight line with the exit, but alas, her brain quit and she wanted the stinking treats and made for the exit. All in all Sparkle did very well and never sniffed corners, only occasionally let the nose get her while running and only left the course to go to the exit to find the lady holding her treats. She was never hard to catch or playing the can't touch me game. She made an honest beagle effort at agility.


Rich and I went for our Valentine's Day dinner last night to avoid crowds, and it fit our schedule better. Kamikaze had a track to run at lunch. It was a simple two turn. She did the opening well including the first turn. She didn't start out wild and crazy this time either. Then she spotted a bowl or something left out in the empty lot. She ran to investigate thinking it might be treat worthy. When it wasn't she re-started her track fine, but seemed discouraged. She did eventually get turn two, but was starting to stare into the sky frequently.  She was only a few feet from the glove so I kept insisting she track. When she finally did she came right up on the glove. Nice reward for trying harder when mommy says to.

Tonight was obedience class. Kamikaze went to Advanced Beginners class. She did well tonight and held her stays each time. Her biggest fault is not coming when called the first time out there. She ALWAYS comes when called the first time everywhere else. How odd! Cheryl says maybe I am too firm on my stay command when I leave, I guess maybe I should try 'WAIT' instead. Sparkle did very well in her Novice class. Her heeling improved as the night wore on. She even remembered to watch me a lot tonight.

This afternoon I went out to sneak a picture of the hounds catching some sun rays. I didn't get the one I wanted, but a couple of cute ones anyway.


It's here! My custom embroidery jacket is here! I can't wait to sport it at the shows.


I felt pretty good this morning as I got up to head to the obedience match. Nikita was on of the first ones in utility. She did OK on heeling, but need two down signals to go all the way down and not hover her elbows. The sit and come were perfect. Articles were better than they were last time in public. The first time I sent her she was sure it must be time for a go-out. She ran past the pile to the fence. I gave a second command and she went to the article pile and found the right one. Article two she went to the pile right away and found the right one. Gloves are still broken. She always brings back #2 when you mean #3. I knew this was probably going to happen as I haven't tried to fix that here yet. We skipped the moving stand to go straight to go-outs. Her go-outs were just great! She trotted out with enthusiasm all the way to the fence each time. No hesitation at all. It took two tries on each jump to get her to actually jump the jumps, but she did so with ease. We got to leave on a happy note. I'll fix the gloves here at home later.

Kamikaze went into the Novice ring and did all the exercise with ease. Her heeling was a bit forgy, but I didn't have a chance to warm her up. She settled some as our 5 minutes ticked by, She had the most beautiful recall ever. Straight as an arrow and absolutely no bumping me and she didn't stand on my feet either. It was the picture of perfection. We had a couple of minutes left for a retrieve the dumbbell exercise on the mats. She did great on the stay and retrieve on command. Her front was just bad, but we tried a couple more times and got it better. I was excited to see her do the retrieve on the mats. When we came back later for stays it became obvious where our work needs to be over the next couple of months. She made about 50 seconds on the sit stay and then just got up and galloped to me, The down was much worse. She made about 30 seconds and then sat. I went and fixed that. Then she just got up and walked to me. Fixed it again. She did manage to stay put for the last minute and a half just fine. It was our first stay on mats in a line of unknown dogs. The stays have been weak at home, but not that bad.

Sparkle got her turn about 2 pm in the Novice ring. Her on lead heeling was acceptable. The stand was solid. The off lead heel was much improved over on lead. Her recall was great. She also had a chance to retrieve the dumbbell on the mats. She did it just fine. Now, we didn't have a stay before the send, but I was happy with trot out and bring it back. We packed up and left after her exercises and skipped stays altogether with her. 

Cheryl was there too and she brought her camera, so in a couple of days I may have some pics to post.


I was almost recovered enough to feel human-like today. Rich and I went to catch some breakfast this morning. While we were out we stopped in at the opening weekend of our Bass Pro Shop. It was an interesting store. I am excited about the new pair of waterproof hiking/hunting boots I purchased there. They are about mid-calf height and should be great tracking boots. It took a couple of hours to tour the store and it really wore me out as I'm not 100% yet. When we got home I did give 4 dogs a bath. Since the temps were in the mid-70's I hosed them down outside. Sparkle, Nikita, and Kamikaze are all headed to an obedience match tomorrow and Bandit has just been in need of one what with all the wet and muddy weather.

6th -SICK

I really was sick for sure today. I only worked a half day and slept a bunch. I ache all over and snot is pouring out. So, no dog training. Just dog snuggling. This suited everyone just fine too.


Nikita was once again unhappy with her lot in life to do articles, but even more unhappy, for some reason, to do signals before dinner. She actually did the articles fairly well. It was the down signal she was determined not to do. Even trotting away at the indication of it. I wonder if her knee/leg just hurts too much to be laying on concrete just to sit back up again? I see her crashed in the yard and it seems comfortable to be laying. 

We actually managed to get another agility class in on Tuesday before the nasty storms came. So, I've now taught 2 of six classes. I got there early to work with Josie, Sparkle and Kamikaze. Kazee is doing fabulous. She even ran a couple of the planned exercises for the class. Her one drawback is that slight hesitation to roar across the dogwalk. She doesn't refuse it, but trots it careful. This started after she slipped going up once. I'm hoping consistent non-slipping will improve her speed. Josie did the teeter at the field with only slight hesitation at the tip point, but not a refusal. I just kept running ahead "GO, GO, GO" and she sped up to catch me. We also worked some on contact touching. Sparkle didn't do too much, but she did weave their poles well. Cheryl's Grace has come an amazingly long way since last time we've trained together. I'm just waiting now for the spark to become a full-fledged flame.

 I had to take a Kleenex box along. It seems I am really and truly coming down with the flu or a nasty cold. THANKS LUCY!


Kamikaze ran a track this morning before it got hot  (high of 80?!?). It was 20 minutes old with 4 turns, 2 left and 2 right. Her start was still wild and unfocused as usually, but a bit less wild. I just held my ground and wouldn't move until she was actually on the track. The first leg took what seemed like forever. Then after she found that first turn it was like the light bulb came on. She did the next turn well and was tracking not wildly lunging. The third turn took her a circle to find, but she did it well and pulled me down the next leg. Turn 4 she was a bit off to the left, but going the right way.

Nikita had to do articles before dinner again. She still isn't pleased about this, but the yummier treats have made it less 'torture' for her. She still has a tendency to find the right one fairly quickly and then put it back down to second guess herself. But, she does come back to it and eventually take the plunge of returning it to me. She's been right every time the last few training sessions too.

I did what I always do when Josie has teeter phobia at a show. I pulled out the teeter. Think there was any hesitation or fear? NOPE! As is typical, she raced over it. BANG and crouched at the bottom waiting on her treat. I also adjusted the tension so it would fall slow. No problem. Made it fall fast. No problem. I couldn't keep her off the darn thing. I tried being right on top of her as she started it and I tried being way away. I tried a harsh sounding command and quiet command and a happy command. Nothing phases her performance. This is soooo frustrating. At least if it were a real 'problem' I could fix it. I just don't know what's causing this at the shows. The only sane explanation is that I am nervous about it now and she senses it. Or maybe, it's the echo in an arena that I can't duplicate here. While it was out I got Sparkle out to work on her speed. She seems to always do the teeter, but thinks slinking across it is just as good as racing to the tip point. I'm sure this is the result of training and I'm trying to 'fix' what I caused by rewarding the fast teeter with the really good stuff and just voice reassurance for creeping. She was sailing over and banging it by the end of our teeter session.

Sparkle is having a small issue with the dumbbell retrieve. I tried to get her to do it in the front yard, and that wasn't happening. So, it seems she only does it in some spots. And even then she has to be reminded a lot that she needs to bring it back and not play with it. Kamikaze, on the other hand, did her dumbbell retrieves in the front yard. It was her first time off leash out front for any reason. She was superb. Even doing the retrieve over high several times correctly. Once she even had to adjust her angle to make it back over the jump. I love this Siberian!


I have made it safely home from Carthage, TX. It was a bust of a weekend as far as agility goes, but I got to see many friends that I haven't seen, in some cases, for almost a year. Josie, once again, hates to run on that surface. She ran first class of the weekend just great before losing all interest in the surface. She also refused the teeter at every run after that one, but would get on and do it after that one refusal. I'm not sure what this teeter issue at shows is. Jedi is way to distracted by the very smelly sawdust. He had two 'pick him up and haul him off' runs, but the others weren't half bad. He had a Grand Prix run with only one refusal, but was also overtime for very wide and lazy turns.

I worked Nikita's articles after dinner with steak leftovers for treats. She was not informed of the reward ahead of time though. I was pleased to see that she didn't try and trot off when she saw the article bag. She also sent to the pile the first time well and started intently looking instead of standing in the pile staring. She picked up the right one almost immediately, but didn't trust herself and set it back down to look again. She did eventually decide she'd been right and went back and picked it up and brought it in. "Good girly!" Then I dispensed steak tidbits on the ground for her. "HEY, this is nice." I set her up to send her again. She went quickly to the pile and started her search. Picked up the right one and trotted back wagging her tail. More steak bits dispensed. One last try at the first article (metal) again to see if we can see her pick it up and bring it in without second guessing. No problems this time. She found it and brought it in. More steak and a release word from working. It'll be nice now if she will do both articles like that the first try and I can reward greatly and then stop the exercise.