Just a short clip of Bud from yesterday. He did have some experience with turning on a perch from before, but yesterday I decided to just try to shape him to my side. I’ve been working on both right and left side, but more on the left, so right will be my focus for today. I’m very pleased with the progression and I’m excited to work some more on his heeling. I don’t plan on doing any obedience with Bud, but heeling is such a great skill to have for agility, body awareness and every day life that I still want to teach it.
Summer seems to finally be here. It’s been a perfect day with sun and not much wind. I don’t like it too hot, and today was perfect. Thomas left early this morning to teach in Finland, so I’m home alone with all the dogs (plus two of my friend’s dogs). I get plenty of exercise…
Wilco and Bud
Bud and I had a few fun sessions outdoors tonight. This video is way too long, but I really think it shows a lot of his personality. First, we played with two toys. He quickly learned to switch between toys on “ja!”, and today I wanted to try to throw one toy away and get him to play with another toy. This is an important foundation skill that comes handy in many other exercises later on. I thought the floppy, fleecy toy would be more fun than the hard rubber toy (especially since he’s shedding teeth like crazy). I was wrong!
He’s learned jumping stand and I’ve started to add a cue to it. He doesn’t know to hold his position, but I’ve still named the motion. He seems to know “sit” fairly well, so I add that in sometimes when working on new cues, to makes sure he’s listening to what I’m saying. He nailed it today! We also worked on “sit” in higher arousal, when he was ready to tug and/or chase me.
Finally, we had our first session on shaping down. He was a bit tired in this session, so he started by offering a few very relaxed downs. In the last part of the (3 minute) session, he offered nice fold back downs.
This morning, I made plans to show some video on how I work with Bud on him waiting for his turn in training. This is something that I get a lot of questions on, and something that usually isn’t much of a problem around here. At least not when it comes to training in the house (self control around agility handling training can be more difficult).
In the first session, I tried setting up a training situation where he got to work on his stay-at-station behavior with some other dogs around. Kat and Alot LOVES the dog beds and you have to drag them away from there if they think there’s food, so they were good dogs to include in the session. Bud has had some sessions on the station behavior, but we haven’t done that much in formal sessions. I got frustrated because he would get up and leave the bed and then get back in it quite often during this session. We obviously need to work more on clarifying criteria in formal sessions. At other times, when I’m working on the computer (and want some peace and quiet) for example, he’s really good at staying in his bed for longer periods of time and it often ends with him falling asleep.
So for my second session, I decided to not “train” Bud at all. I would direct all my attention to Squid, and let Bud to whatever he wanted to do. This is how training often is done around this house. I don’t tell the other dogs to get out of the way, they know to mind their own business when I’m training another dog because thats the only way they’ll get rewarded. So I just made sure there was a bed nearby, and then I trained Squid (Very poorly, as you’ll see in the video. I didn’t have a plan for anything we did…). When he was in the bed, I gave him food. If he got up, I just kept ignoring him until he went back. I was much more pleased with this session. He still had some failures, but they were much less frustrating when I never asked him to stay in bed in the first place…
If you (like me) can’t get enough of Bud, I recommend that you start following us on Instagram. I post a lot of cute pictures, and short updates on our training. Like this one from tonight, where we tried the lateral step up on platform again.
I haven’t engaged in much other training today (some herding though). Wilco and I went for a walk along the stream. May really is beautiful here:
Yesterday I decided to start some body awareness exercises with Bud. I have shaped some backing up (he got it very quickly!) before, and shaped him to put front feet on a perch for rear end awareness (as seen in the last video). He’s also been rewarded for putting all four feet on a dog bed.
Getting up on the platform was hard! I could really see him struggle with the rear legs. Once he was on the platform, he gave me a very nice stand in perfect form. In all body awareness and strengthening exercises I like the dog to work in good form with a strong back, so this is something I always encourage! Later, he gave me a nice sit and I rewarded that as well. He did get better att organizing his back feet at the end of the session.
In our second session we worked on backing up onto the platform. He’s never done anything like that before (except backing up on the flat), so I was considering starting with a lower object when he was struggling. But then he just got it, and we had some really nice repetition. I’m concerned with good form and that he stretches back instead of roaching his back here as well.
We did have a third session too, where we worked on getting on the platform from the side with the front and back foot from the same side at the same time. It was hard, but we made progress! I didn’t include this session in the video because it was already a long enough video, the light was much worse (dark outside) and we didn’t have any really nice repetitions. I’ll get back to it!
We’ve also been on two walks with Squid and played with toys outdoors. He does chase me if I move away when he gets to have the toy, and I can switch him to a new toy. But he won’t come to me with the toy without the prompt of me moving away. Will try to work in a much smaller area and see what he does.
Playing with his crazy friend Alot
Relaxing in bed
It’s been a few months since my latest update. Thomas is finally done with his masters degree in ethology, and I hope that means that he’ll spend more time at home. Our puppies are growing and showing their personalities. They are all awesome, which makes deciding what to do with all that talent difficult (five puppies is a lot of work if you’re going to train them all…) I’ve been very slow in making a decision. My puppies were mostly just hanging around, and I didn’t do much training with them. Bud showed lots of promise on sheep very early (here’s an example from a few weeks ago), while Nicks took a little more time to show interest. She is very keen now, and looks promising.
A month ago, I brought Nicks with me on a trial road trip for some time with me. She was perfect! Friendly with everybody. Calm in new environments and around the agility ring. Happy to work for play and food. Great with walking on a leash, sleeping in new places and being tied to a tree while I walked the course. I love easygoing, bold, friendly dogs that aren’t easily excited by movement – Nicks is perfect!
Nicks at 19 weeks
Bud has generally been a little weirder and more careful with new things than Nicks. He’s also been more easily excited by dogs moving. He did tug like crazy when he was 8 weeks, but after I introduced treats he was just crazy for them and wouldn’t play with me without a big effort (remember that I didn’t train him much at all, but I did try to play a couple of times). After my road trip with Nicks, I was convinced that I probably should invest my time in her and maybe look for a great herding home for Bud. I did feel like I wanted to spend some more time alone with Bud first, to get to know him better. So I did – and I fell in love!
Bud playing with me
2 weeks ago, I was ecstatic when I got him really playing with me! I started introducing food in our play sessions, and he kept tugging like crazy, even though it sometimes took a few seconds to get him back in tug mode after food. Last weekend, I brought him with me to his first agility trial. He hasn’t been out much (he’s been very carsick, so it’s not that easy to just bring him in the car) and there were a lot of things to look at that he hadn’t seen before. He would engage very enthusiastically in play, he loved getting food, and he did get a little excited about dogs running. He was worried about things too – people approaching and especially children running past us. I didn’t make a big deal out of it, but I was a bit concerned.
Yesterday, eight days later, I brought him to another agility trial. He was absolutely perfect. He could engage fully in training right beside the ring, he would relax beside me, he was happy to see both people, children and dogs. When something was especially distracting in the ring, his reaction was to turn to me for food (otherwise he just ignored the agility).
He is more sensitive than other puppies I’ve had, but he seems to get over things with very little exposure. He is easily excited by things, but fortunately even more easily excited by tugging and food. He also seems much easier to calm down than I originally thought. He learns things quickly and is very focused in everything he does. He is also very cuddly and loves to be near me. He relaxes very well in the house, when he’s not being attacked by Thomas’ crazy GWP puppy…
We just started training things other than recalls and not running away to herd sheep on his own. He’s 5 months old, but we’re three months “behind”. I decided to share some of our training even though it’s not advanced at all. And to get over my fear of publishing videos of my unkept house/garden/hair/clothes… There’s also probably music in the background, as there always is here. Here’s what we did yesterday:
Nicks? She’s been with a friend for a couple of weeks to see some new things and get a little training. They’ve had a great time and she’s been mostly perfect as usual. She’s coming home next week, and maybe we can start a little herding training with her soon.
Other things that happened – Epic became jumping champion and got a certificate in standard agility too. Squid got another excellent score in obedience – with Thomas handling her when I was teaching. Wilco and I are having fun with basic agility handling training. Both Thomas and I are doing some herding trials and it’s been a lot of fun even though I rarely get everything to work perfectly in the same run.
Short update, since it’s been a while. It’s still very busy here. Thomas is still in Norway for a few days every week. I just got back from a weekend of teaching in Switzerland. It was a very nice three day seminar with many fun dogs and handlers. Unfortunately, there was no direct flight and I live 2,5 hours away from nearest major airport, so travelling took one full day (around 12 hours) each way. I’m exhausted! But Squid and I have obedience trials coming up this weekend, so there’s no time to rest. We drove 2 hours (one way) to get some quality indoor training today, and tomorrow we have another indoor training date.
Switzerland had interesting distractions. A deer farm surrounding the training field.
We really should have trained more regularly this winter, but I was pleased with her performance today. Most parts are really good, but achieving consistency in performance in trials will probably take a lot of effort. Good thing we have many years left. We’ve trained obedience for 6,5 minutes daily on average during the past month. That’s 6 minutes more than our daily average during the three months before that!
Our puppies are growing and developing all the time. Leet, 6 months, is with our friend Rebecca to experience some city life. Volt, 5 months, is starting some herding training on a long line and looks really nice! My puppies – Nicks (14 weeks) and Bud (12 weeks today) are mostly just hanging out with us, sleeping, eating, playing and running around on the farm. Just being puppies. They are such nice puppies – very attentive and loves to be close to you. I haven’t had much time to do more that have some short tugging sessions with them. There’s no hurry. They’re having a great time just being puppies, and I think they’ll catch up on the reversed luring and release commands and rear end awareness in no time when I start training them. On Friday, Thomas picks up his GWP puppy. The house has been missing something since Paxa tragically passed in January, and now we’re finally getting another bearded lady in the house!
7 week old GWP puppies. I think the puppy closest to the camera is Alot, Thomas’ new puppy.
Bud is such a funny puppy! I’ve had so much to do this week, with Thomas away in Norway (leaving me with all the collies) and Nicks arriving on Monday. Bud has mostly worked on his potty training skills and bonded with Nicks. They are so cute together, almost so much that I don’t want them to grow up.
Today, I had two sessions with them each. Nicks had two short sessions of just play. She’s so social and really wants to cuddle when you sit down and praise her. I had to be fairly quiet and just move the toy around to get her engaged in play. I couldn’t help but cuddle some as well…
Bud is very intense in tugging now, but when I brought food out he was not interested. Here are some clips from today’s session. All sessions are posted to the online foundation class for my students to see. You can still join, we’re only on lesson 1!
The ice and snow is finally melting, and it’s actually possible to train herding on the bigger fields now. And very soon the roads will be clear. It was worse on Wednesday, when I slipped and fell on my hands while dragging the trashcan down our driveway. My left hand is still bruised and hurting quite a lot. I’m glad that I’ve had friends here all week that have been able to help me out while Thomas is away.
We’ve had some great agility sessions in the riding hall, and some training sessions in the house. Sometimes I publish short clips of our training on Instagram, so make sure to follow me there – @fannyftw
Fay and Epic’s puppies turned 8 weeks on Tuesday, and four of them have moved to their new homes. The fifth one leaves tomorrow, and little Bud will stay with us. I’m very excited about finding out what kind of dog he is. Tomorrow is also the day when my new Scottish puppy Nicks will come to Sweden to join us! She’s 11 weeks, so will probably be a better play partner for Bud than Volt and Leet who are bigger and tougher. So many puppies. Expect lots of fun training videos. Some of the videos will be exclusive for our online classes (and you can still join!), and some will be saved for later projects, but I’ll post here as well.
Volt, Leet, Nicks and Bud
Bud, my puppy from Fay’s litter with Epic, is 7 weeks and 7 days old today. His siblings will start to leave for their new homes tomorrow. Bud and I had our first session on anything today – a couple of minutes of play and kisses in the living room. Isn’t he the cutest?