Luke is NOT a Sheltie...he arrived at Draco on March 5, on trial, but there was little doubt that he would stay. He came equipped with the beginnings of wonderful obedience work, and a very big-dog temperament in his 6-pound body.
Luke is a Papillon,
born November 24, 1997, and bred by Susan Simmons of Pine Creak Papillons
in Bassett, VA. His sire is the group-winning Ch. Sunbelt's CEO and his
dam is Ch. Sunbelt's Money Honey. Click here to see a three-generation pedigree.
Click here to see a three-generation pedigree.
and his Sheltie Cousins, Torrie, Adam, Missy, Molly Brown and Bailey.
Luke, almost grown up, at 8 months, wins his first Best of Breed under Judge Alan Harper, at Roanoke Kennel Club, 8/98. In the Toy Group competition, he felt it was his duty to try to get the squeaky toy away from the Chihuahua behind him in line...not a way to impress a Group judge...
Luke's Training Log Papillon LinksBack to Draco Shelties
Luke's Training Log Jump to latest update
Luke arrived knowing a beautiful, quick, tight tucked sit, which he offers constantly! He also has a lightning-fast recall, which seems to be able to call him back from almost anything. And NATURAL attention! Now, if I can just teach him other behaviors to offer, and get a handle on this potty training thing...
He has no problems travelling in the car, except for some crying on the way home from meeting Susan. I thought he had to go potty...so we stopped at the RDOC training building in Richmond. No, he was just bored; he never did potty, but he enjoyed meeting Tammy and her Sheltie Scarlet.
When we got home, I put him into an ex pen, just to keep a buffer zone between him and the Shelties. He savagely protected his pen, but pretty soon figured out he could deal with this hoarde, and that they weren't out to eat him.
The first thing I decided he had to learn was to stand up--he will be a show dog, and they don't win many points if the judge can't ever see them standing. One thing I found pretty quickly--you don't put your hands on Luke to get him to do something. Works great for Shelties, but it distracts him terribly. However, a little bit of food goes a long way; he is now offering me "Back" for about 6 feet. He is also standing as well, and will back up on command. I think we may have a show dog some day!
Since he already has such a great sit-in-front, I'm only rewarding it if it is straight, tight and he holds attention for several seconds. I'm also teaching the "Around" finish, a-la-Ann-Marie Silverton, luring him around as I turn myself. He actually anticipated that today--he learns TOO fast!
Luke is a VERY dominant puppy, and "Down" is not something that will come easily for him. We are making progress, though. I am NOT teaching him to "Down" from the sit--I hope this will help protect us from broken sit stays later, and give us nice "sphinx downs" for the Drop on Recall and Signal Drop later.
We are only doing "Let's Go!" on lead; I won't start really heeling for a while yet, though I think he could handle it. But he deserves to be a puppy for a while.
He will work for any food--regular dry dog food, nuked turkey hotdogs, dried liver treats, he loves everything. He also loves toys, especially his black and white round squeaky toy, and best-of-best-of all, his rabbit-fur Tack Box Rat. That's only brought out for special rewards.
Luke went to Puppy Kindergarten last night, and I have now learned how to respond to all the "what is he?" questions. After 21 years of explaining Shelties to people, it's quite a change.
He still "greets" strange dogs aggressively, "best defense being a good offense", I suspect. By the end of the evening he was getting better about it. He doesn't back down from anything, however, so I've got to keep an eye on him to keep him out of trouble.
For the ENTIRE hour of class, he was active. Most of the puppies fell asleep at some point, but he was playing with me, playing with toys, checking out sounds, people, or something. I think we have enough "energy and drive" to accomplish something here.
I haven't taught him the way this class suggests--there is lots of hands on, positioning of the puppy, which does work, especially for new trainers. Luke responds so well to voice and food that I'll continue using that and try not to disrupt class. One exercise I hadn't been doing that should be very useful for a toy dog is "grab desensitization". We're beginning with the left hand held out flat, palm down, and a piece of food held under it with the right. He has to choose to come under the outstretched hand, rather than shy away or back away from it. Since toys ALWAYS have things "descending from above" this should be useful to head off any hand-shyness.
A busy week for Luke! He had a tracking lesson last Friday; using Sandy Ganz's "Tracking from the Ground Up" he did four mini-tracks, of 3, 4, 5 and 6 steps. He sniffed a lot, but I'm not sure he had a clue about the tracking part. He LIKED the sock with the food in/on it at the end, and started looking for it. Since this is merely for attitude building, I think we're OK.
On the weekend he was a spectator at a UKC obedience trial, where Cousin Molly B. did very well. He got to meet people, meet dogs, and generally had a good time. The only thing that seemed to bother him was a swinging/slamming gate on a trash bin near our pen, but all he did was watch it for a while.
On Sunday we made our debut in the comformation ring--a fun match, but still... Luke was the only Papillon puppy, but went on to be 2nd place in the Toy group. He thought the conformation ring was OK; liked the food and toys part, but wasn't sure he wanted that judge-lady to look at his teeth. The judge was very good at helping him have a good first experience--which is the ONLY reason to take a baby puppy to a match.
Back to obedience--he is offering fewer sits, as he learns more behaviors. And some of the sits are getting sloppy, so I'm trying to avoid rewarding crooked and "puppy" sits. We are starting "stay" as well, with my hand on his collar for the sit and pinning the leash down to the ground for the down.
April 18, 1998
Well, I've been out of it with the flu for the last 10 days, but Luke is growing up so fast! Taller, toothless...and learning more than ever. Sit stays are at about 2' away, for 30-60 seconds. Down stays are 3' away, for the same time frame. An accident today--while doing "pre-heeling", when he was looking up attentively and more or less in heel position, his favorite squeeky toy fell out of my pocket onto his head. Oh, Joy! Toys rain down from heaven when you're heeling...or at least I hope that's what he learned! More exciting is the clicker work. I'd purchased a tiny dumbbell from Max200's bargain bin at the RDOC trials. Just for the heck of it I tried shaping a retrieve. In less than a week, Luke is picking up the dumbbell and delivering it to me. Reliably, in a show-worthy manner, absolutely not! But he is having fun, and in a 4-month-old, that's as much as anyone could ever hope for!
While preparing his "Cousin" Molly Brown for her upcoming Agility Trials, I took Luke along for the ride. He is fearless, as far as I can tell. Tunnels, open and closed, dog walks (3' and 4' high), even the A-frame--nothing seems to diminish his enthusiasm. I intended to work him only at 8" jumps, though he'll eventually jump 12" in competition. After 2 or 3 jumps, he was much more interested in the higher height. I didn't intend for him to take the A-frame either--much too much stress for a puppy's bones and ligaments. Luke didn't agree and was suddenly 3/4 of the way up. I let him finish that one climb, but will wait for another, more mature day, before he tries that again.
At home, we built an agility teeter-totter. Luke, again fearless, ran up and, before I realized what he was doing, went sailing off the high end. We were very lucky, as he was not injured. He has now been taught to WAIT when told, and does so reliably. In fact, he lies down on the board until it hits bottom...just like a lot of Border Collies. We often refer to him as our miniature Border Collie; we've heard enough over the years about our "miniature Collies."
Luke is taking a break from the breed show ring for a few weeks. Obedience training is in the doldrum stage, just refining the skills he's learned. Fronts are getting better and better, if he thinks it's important enough. Retrieves are also improving, but I am going to get him a plastic dumbbell because he thinks the wood is fun to crunch in his molars. Agility work is doing well; he is responding very well to "crossing behind" as he goes through tunnels. He likes that game a lot--especially when it includes treats or squeaky toys.
We're continuing to work on fronts and finishes, especially before dinner. Sometimes I use the clicker, sometimes just verbal cues; as long as food is coming eventually I don't think he cares. We've switched to Molly Brown's plastic dumbbell, and started on metal and leather. Leather is GREAT fun, and I'm having to work on his not chewing the bar. Metal is icky, but again, if the food is good enough, he will do just fine. Luke tried to convince me that the plastic dumbbell was just too big and heavy at first, but it fits him quite well and he is retrieving it very well, even sitting straight in front. The bonus here is it is too tough for him to chew, so he is not mouthing it so badly.
I realized recently that he still doesn't have a clue about a proper "stand for examination" so we've worked on that, first with the lead looped around his belly, and now just repeating whenever he decides to move. Really jumping ahead of ourselves, I tried a drop on recall the other day, and he did it very well. His best friend, Bailey the 2-year-old Sheltie, still doesn't know how to do that reliably!
Still showing in the conformation Puppy Class, he has really figured out what to do, and managed to win Reserve Winners Dog in a major entry at the end of September.
November 5, 1998: Luke spent 4 days with a friend, attending shows and earning his first major and a couple other points. He wasn't any too concerned with coming back to his People-mom--I was jealous. However, he picked right up in his training and is giving me hope of success at an obedience match this weekend.
Amazingly, Luke went out of his way to get to, and retrieve to me, the metal dumbbell. It sat on the coffee table with the plastic and leather dumbbells. I hope this bodes well for utility some day.
November 21, 1998:
I had some hope of entering Luke in his first UKC obedience trial tomorrow, but at a recent match he hadn't a clue what "stand for exam" was. I thought he understood, but he had learned how to do it at home, not at shows. At the match, this was a new exercise, the "visit the judge for exam". We've worked on this, but I really should wait until Spring to show him. More matches are coming up soon, and my cardinal rule is to "qualify" in 3 matches before showing. He's not done that, so we'll wait.
We're working on the down and sit hand signals. Down is pretty good. Sit is a problem. When I lure him into a sit from the down, he wants to leap in the air, then sit. If I can teach him to do this AND land in a sit, it will be really impressive! Worth a try--we won't be showing in Utility for a while yet.
Papillons in Space (or the Butterfly Net)
Damarkee Papillons--Home of some of Luke's Family
AKC's Papillon Standard
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