We’ve had a great weekend! Saturday was agility trial with Shejpa and our chance to get those last Q:s and move up to class II. She did so well! She was clean and fast in both jumpers and standard and won both classes. She was 8 seconds faster than the second fastest dog in standard. I was worried about her contacts, as we haven’t been able to train more than a couple of times during December and January. Our training field is all snow and ice and we haven’t had many sessions in the riding facility. We did a team run that didn’t go very well, but all contacts were perfect. Then, in standard, her dogwalk was really bad, but she still hit the yellow. I’m not very concerned about that, I knew that it was a gamble to run her in standard with almost no training for two months and I know that she’ll be fine as soon as we can start training again. I’m very happy with Shejpa and I can’t wait until the next trial, in two weeks, where she will be running in class II in both standard and jumpers!
Sunday was obedience trial at our club and we were helping out. Two of our students were competing in obedience for the first time. They both have Kleiner Münsterländers, a german birddog (HPR) breed. There were about 40 dogs in the trial and one of our students actually won the whole class! In front of all te border collies and working breeds. Both of them did really well and they are now qualified for the next class. I was so proud watching the happy, focused and confident dogs!
Squid has turned 17 weeks. These are some of the things we have been working on this past week. First clip is just Squid relaxing in her open crate while dogs are working around her and we’re teaching (ok, I’m videotaping my puppy :D). Second clip is of Squid playing with me, listening to “sit” and “stand” command and also reacting to her “go see” command. She is a very social puppy 😀
Next clip is of her starting to sit pretty, or at least, throwing her hands in the air. Very cute. Then hiding her nose in her paws and crawling.
Last clip is showing a challenge in stimulus control that we have been working on lately. She is supposed to nose touch repetedly to the palm of my hand, freezing her nose on the back of my hand and doing her puppy yoga if she sees the closed fist.
We’ve had a fun filled week. Last Friday, we drove to friends in Sweden for a weekend of herding. Squid got to meet the sheep for the first time and did really well. We were all very pleased with the way she was starting out. She was happy, confident, focused and balanced the sheep to me. She showed a lot of the traits that I have been looking for in a puppy. I can’t wait ’til next time we’ll be herding (in about a month), but I need to start jogging, because I got so exhausted from running backwards and sideways trying to help the dog and not get smashed by the sheep. Good thing that all that walking backwards in obedience is helping in other areas as well… Here is a video of Squids first day with the sheep, 16 weeks old:
Tuesday was Squids first time flying in her crate. The trip to Bergen is a short one, about 50 minutes. I was at the airport about an hour early (when has that ever happened before?) to give her time to get used to it and maybe get a bit tired. She was truly a perfect puppy at the airport. Walking nicely on leash while I was pushing the heavy cart, sleeping by my feet when I sat with my computer, wagging her tail to all the people that came by. We played some crate games and trained some tricks and then I left her in her crate with two raw turkey necks. I don’t even think she knew I went. When we picked her up in Bergen, she was relaxed and happy, I think she had a good time.
We were teaching in Bergen for two days. Squid turned 4 months on Wednesday. She is a great puppy to bring to classes, she stays in her open crate while other dogs are working and I’m teaching, she does demos and concentrates really well, she sleeps by my feet when I do lectures. I’m really pleased with her. I finally got the video camera back (along with my husband and three dogs) and I did some recording in Bergen and I’ll try to do some more at home. It’s time for a new video of Squid and the things we have shaped.
More cold, sunny days in Norway. Yesterday, Squid and I visited the local airport. We will be flying to Bergen next week, where we will join Thomas for two days of teaching. I’m looking forward to bringing the puppy to new places and new experiences (like living in a hotel), but I am also nervous about her firs flight in cargo. All my experiences with flying dogs have been good (and we’ve been flying a lot the last couple of years), but I’ve never flew with such a young puppy. I tell myself that a lot of puppies fly every day and they are usually not as confident and not as well socialized and crate gamed and experienced with the world as my puppy. She’ll be fine!
We’re preparing by going to the airport, playing crate games and having fun. I’ve also done more training on being alone in the crate than I have done before (she’s pretty much around me all of the time). I left her for short periods of time at the airport when she had settled in her crate and I have also left her alone in the crate at home just for training. She is a fast learner and relaxes in her crate. I have also worked on lifting the crate off and onto baggage carts etc. with her in it. That wasn’t her favourite thing (after too many, she was hesitant to jump into the crate on the baggage cart) so we’ll work some more on that at home.
We also did some obedience and trick training at the airport and she did great. She has great focus even with distractions and in a new environment. She was also really good at giving me attention when people came up to us to say hi. And then, when I gave her the cue “go see”, she spun around and said hi in her usuall, happy way.
We’re having really nice, sunny (but quite cold) days here. Thomas has left for Bergen again and I am alone with my three girls. Setting goals for this year has been inspiring and we have been training quite a lot. Missy has gotten at least one session of obedience every day and Shejpa has been working on her nose touches on the stairs (working a lot on the seesaw made them weaker) and some weaves. My main focus with Shejpa right now is about speed. She knows lots of things and there are really not many techical things that we need to work on. The coming months will be all about focus and drive. I hope that she, in the future, will be running as fast as she can every time I set her infront of agility equipment. That means less training, shorter sessions and always rewarding for speed.
With Squid, we’ve had some sessions outdoors today. In the first session, we worked on circle work for agility. She loves it, but sometimes she’ll get to excited and jump or bite my clothes. I’ve had to to shorter sessions, slow down a bit and reward her more with food. It has helped and if her attitude is right, she can run with me really fast and she loves it. We’ve also worked on some heeling. I love how walking backwards in our heeling sessions really helps her to differentiate heeling from loose leash walking or circle work. She is very good at the backwards heeling and I can turn around and let her walk pretty long distances before rewarding. I make sure to reward when she falls back, as I don’t want to encourage her to rush. I don’t think that a border collie puppy can walk too far behind you (not with great attitude anyway).
We’ve also worked some more on our sitstays. She has a tendency to lie down if I get to far away from her and that tendency got stronger after I started rewarding downs the other day. Working on it today helped a lot and she has a pretty good sitstay. I just have to remember working on her holding position in stand and down as well (especially the stand). Talking about staying in a down. Some people make it hard for themselves. I started rewarding her down on Thursday, and the day after, I started to shape a crawl. I sure hope I won’t get into trouble for that. The crawl is an advanced exercise in our working trials (and I plan to trial Squid in search and rescue, wich also has an obedience part in it). It’s not hard to shape a dog to crawl, but to get the technique perfect is a big challenge. I want the hind legs to work independently and with rythm, no hopping. It’s an interesting challenge. I have taught a really nice crawl with two of my dogs, but that is pretty much the only exercise where I have used some luring to get the footwork right. This time, we’re trying out shaping.
Squid got to do some jumping today for the second time in her life. Despite her fluffy, round looks, she is a very coordinated and athletic puppy. She has no problems with jumping over bumps with good rythm, I guess she’s seen worse while playing in the woods. She had no problems with the bars that made the exercise quite challenging visually, but on the other hand, she seems to love challenges. Here are some pictures: