August 2014

Foundation Class fall 2014

As much as I love summer, I’m always happy when fall arrives. I certainly don’t like the darker nights or the fact that we’re getting closer to winter, but summer is such a hectic time for us. In mid-August, things start to calm down. I have time to take long walks in the woods, to train my dogs, even watch some TV at night. I have friends visiting quite often, but at least I’m home enough to know where I can find appliances and food in the kitchen. Hopefully, this also means more time for blogging. I really want to document a lot of Wilco’s training. I love to go back and watch videos of my dogs as puppies, and I’m sure it’s interesting for others as well.

I’ve also had time to make some changes to the website. We’re now ready to offer a new Foundation Class this fall! We’ll start on October 1st, and you can sign up now.


Poor Epic had some time off because of a cut in his paw. He’s back in training now.

Thomas just left for the north of Sweden to hunt ptarmigan and grouse with his pointers and spaniels. I’m at home with our big gang of border collies. I hope that he gets there safely and has a lot of luck with hunting.


So – back to some kind of every day life after an intense summer. My dogs have been healthy and we’ve had a lot of fun in the agility ring. European Open in Hungary was a great experience. I had some great runs with my dogs, but they both took a few bars too much. Squid usually doesn’t drop bars, especially not at 60 cm, and I don’t feel like she’s back in shape yet. New visit to the physiotherapist is scheduled, and I hope that nothing is wrong and that we just have to work some more to find her strength and form. Epic is just getting stronger and better, and his form is excellent. Unfortunately, he cut his paw during play by the stream last week. So he’s just resting and bumping into everything with his big cone. One more week before we can take the stitches out and start playing again.

Squid and I haven’t done any obedience training for a long time, we’ve been to busy with agility and traveling. We started again this week and we’re having a lot of fun with the elite exercises. I am tempted to start planning for competition this fall, but I’m not sure if we’ll have the time. I need to focus on a lot of trial preparation with her, not just the exercises. This requires both time, training partners and new locations.

Squid cone

Wilco has turned 6 months and I feel like I haven’t trained him enough this summer. He’s mostly been with me or with dog sitters or just hanging out at home during camps. He is such a cool puppy and adjusts to everything without problem. He is confident, but sweet. Calm, but always happy to work. Now, we have some more time for training and we’re working on agility and obedience foundations, conditoning and some herding (although that should probably wait a few more months).

I’m always excited to get back to normality after the summer. I feel like I have a good balance between competitions (we really look forward to Norwegian Open this fall!), time at home and traveling during the rest of this year. And oh! Win is in Norway to get mated to Tod, and we’re expecting puppies in 9 weeks. Cross your fingers for many, healthy puppies this time.

Learn Faster with More Mistakes?

Summer is coming to an end and things are starting to slow down a bit. It’s been a very busy summer with competitions both near and far away (European Open in Hungary), camps at home and abroad and not much time for anything else. We’ve had technical problems with the shop part of the website, so we had to postpone the start of our next Foundation Class Online. We promise to find a solution soon! I’ll also get back with more reports on what Wilco and I are doing. He just turned 6 months.

I came across an interesting article today regarding learning. Trainers often have the idea that error-less learning leads to faster and better results than learning based more on trial and error. While I like to keep my dogs successful, I’m never afraid of letting them try different things and try again when they’re not rewarded. I was therefore glad to come across these studies that suggest that off-target actions can be a key ingredient in quick learning. Even making mistakes happen (applying a force that pushes the action off target) can make learning go faster than striving for error-less repetitions.

Learn Faster with Messy Moves

Of course, we don’t know if this applies to dogs (although I would think so), and I don’t know about the quality of the studies or if there are other studies that suggest otherwise. Please let me know if you have any thoughts or added knowledge on this subject!