Posted by: jility | January 29, 2011

Training Pankatins (aka UPGRAYEDD, Uppity, Upp, Pankins, Pankins Poodle, Pankies, Hanky Panky, Uppity Puppity, etc.)

Training is always a roller coaster ride, regardless of the breed, discipline or age of the dog. Some roller coaster rides are like those in a kid park but others, such as the one I am riding with Uppity Puppity Piddles When You Pat Her Pankin Pants Poodle, are WORLD CLASS! The ups are HUGE and the drops terrifying. Have I told you how much I actually HATE riding roller coasters? This ride, however, has taught me more than I ever imagined!

The Disneyland Matterhorn with creator Walt Disney

Just the sight of a large roller coaster makes my hands tremble and my head dizzy. I have ridden a roller coaster twice in my life: once, back in the early 70s, I was suckered into riding the Matterhorn at Disneyland and the other time was about 20 years ago, Mel, who LOVES roller coasters (not the metaphorical kind, only the real thing), talked me into going on the old rickety wooden one at the Puyallup Fair.

The Puyallup Fair WOODEN Roller COaster

Thankfully, the Matterhorn was not a long ride but that Puyallup coaster was a never ending ride of terror for me. There were NO FREAKING SEAT BELTS!!!!! The ONLY thing that kept me from flying out was my fat ass and the handle bar! I don’t know how those skinny bitches stay inside that thing when it is flying straight downhill at a billion miles an hour! I was positive I was going to end up on the front page of the paper that night with a photo of my covered torso splattered (literally) all over the news! I screamed, “I HATE YOU!!!” over and over and over as we plummeted towards the pavement while Sir Cussalot laughed his scrawny ass off at me. Somehow, however, I managed to keep myself inside the damn thing but vowed, as my wobbly legs and spinning head tried to exit the car, that I would NEVER EVER again let myself get talked into such a ridiculous thing for FUN! WHAT FUN????? Sorry, but I just don’t get it!

Anyway, this training journey with Miss Uppity has been very similar, right down to the shaking (Say Yes Puppy Camp and Skills Camp) when, in front of the WORLD, I couldn’t even get my puppy to tug or interact with me. I felt the fear building with each session, just like climbing to the top of the coaster hill. Sometimes I would LOVE the exhilaration when things went well but the times when she turned her back on me and just stood there refusing to interact, my heart sank like a boulder in a quarry.

I have pecked away at Pankins, making our sessions short and fun. It seems as long as I break things down into TINY little pieces and don’t go on until she HAS it, we are good to go. BUT, as soon as I skip one little piece of the puzzle for her, it is a NO GO SULK FEST for her AND me! I have been lucky to have some AMAZING instruction and support along the way as well as great friends who talk me off the ledge when things have gotten tough and I was ready to bail.

We have a LONG way to go but I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel (at least today as I write this but tomorrow may be different, I just never know ;)). When I chose Uppity at 8 weeks old, I knew I would have my work cut out for me but I had no idea just how difficult it would actually be. I have watched with envy as Sir Cussalot’s puppy tugs no matter what and with whatever and drives hard and always is there for working. When all the dogs are playing, Barque will go to Sir C to tug or work but not Miss Uppity! She has one thing on her mind and one thing only! Run down Crushie. It sure has taught her to run full speed though!

The puppies are now 16 months old so we have started jumping them (16” – 20”). All along I have done TONS and TONS of circle work with Uppity so when the time came to start jump training and handling, she already understood my body language. I have worked on her focus forward (as taught in Susan Garrett’s “Success with One Jump” DVD) and her “GO” (by throwing the toy forward as I say “GO!”) and it has all transferred nicely to her jump work.

Three days ago I spent one short session doing a lead out pivot (LOP). With her understanding of  focus forward and all the circle work, she knew exactly what to do. There was no question in her mind! I was blown away! So the next day, I asked her for a difficult LOP and she nailed it! Having never done a sequence with her (EVER!), I was not sure what to expect when I asked her to do five obstacles together but she showed me just how good her understanding was and how much all that ground work we have been doing for the past year had paid off BIG TIME! I am SO proud of my not so little girl! Notice how she has to really duck to get into the tunnel. I want more drive but that will come with better understanding and more confidence.

I have also been working on her nose presses on the plank and the stairs. I just introduced her to the stairs yesterday but we have done quite a bit on the short plank. This morning I was going to work her again on the stairs but all the dogs were out and I was too lazy to put them all back in the Global Warmer. I am always being told to test the value in her behaviors so what better test than to have her highest value reward (Crushie running free and ripe for the chasing) going on while she nose presses with all the other dogs trying to get the treats. Here is what I got. I am pretty proud of Pankies!

 We have some fun around here with our dogs. We may not be perfect or the fastest or the best but we sure have more fun than the average bear and there is NEVER a dull moment ;).

Pankins Favorite pastime


  1. COOL!!

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