Wilco learning down

Another “first” video today: I decided to try to teach Wilco a fold back down. The goal is for him to fold back while keeping all four paws still. This is just one of several position changes that he will learn, it felt like the best one to start with. I will later add the cue “dekk” and use this for position changes. In the first training session, I thought I would just start and see what he did. I normally capture downs in everyday life before I try it in formal training sessions, but I haven’t done that this time. I was just about to stop the session, and wait a few weeks before I tried it again, when suddenly he went down:

In the next session he quickly got back on track and we got quite a few decent repetitions:

The next step is for him to become less dependent on having the reward hand so close to his nose and I will increase the criteria for his paws to be completely still.

Wilco learning to heel

Time really flies, and I haven’t had time to do as much training with Wilco as I had envisioned. He is a very easy going and happy puppy (although he does like to bite me – hard!). When we do find time to train, he learns frighteningly fast. I often don’t understand how he can make the connections so quickly. Today, we started working on heelwork. I think it’s great to get video of the first time we do something, so the camera was ready today. Here is our very first session on heeling:

After a nap on the kitchen floor, we tried again:

The third session was on just standing in correct position by my left side. I just feed him as long as he stays there:

He is so much fun to train! I will try to find more time for training him in the coming week.

NEW! Advanced Obedience Skills

We’re happy to present Advanced Obedience Skills – our new online class for those of you wanting to take the obedience skills from Foundation Class to the next level, while also working on some new behaviors (like sit up, scent discrimination and formal recall) and concepts like stimulus control, distraction training and sequencing.

Read more and sign up here

Twiggy SM

An old friend of mine found this picture from Swedish Obedience Championships 2004. This was my first time there, a great memory with my fantastic border collie Twiggy. Tomorrow would have been her 17th birthday if she was still alive.

Working with distractions

I drove to Rome yesterday, and spent today at the Italian WAO tryouts (with almost two hour break for cross-country skiing on my iPad, of course – new GOLD for Sweden!). Fun to see agility, and some inspiring courses. I spent some time playing with my own dogs too. Epic worked mostly on focus. He likes to watch small dogs run, and will quickly take his eyes off me if I want to work with food and not just high energy things and tugging. So the plan was to tug with him, and gradually introduce more and more food and more and more work between tugging. I was pleased with the result, and I think he did a great job! Here’s a really boring video of some of the things we did today (boring because it’s quite long, and because the camera is static):

Squid got to come out at the end of the day (she’s in heat, so I didn’t want to distract someone competing). She got to do obedience with some really tough distractions. There were dogs running all around her, but she did great! Here’s a long and boring video of her:

My first time in Poland

I’m getting ready to leave Poland after my first seminar here. It’s been two great days with very ambitious and driven trainers. Many of them already use the principles and techniques that I do, and they do it great. They get inspiration from YouTube videos and blogs (and lately also seminars with Scandinavian trainers). I love how the internet makes distance irrelevant in many ways. Our online classes in English is so much fun, because it allows us to work with students from all over the world who like our style of training. I hope to see more Polish trainers in our classes in the future.

Polish training area – cool but COLD!

A dream that I have would be to invite to an international obedience camp at our place. Everything in English. Please let me know if you’re interested in this. I’d love to organize it if we get enough international participants. Until then, we’ll just have to meet online and when I’m teaching abroad. I love meeting international students on seminars like this, but it also takes much time. I instructed on Friday and Saturday, but I had to leave home on Wednesday night and won’t be home until late Sunday night, so four full days away from my home for two days of teaching.

I’m very inspired to train obedience. Both with Squid, who just needs more training time to be a great obedience dog, and with my new puppy later this year. I am surprisingly happy with most things that I’ve taught Squid, even though it was five years ago. There are some things that i definitely will do differently, mostly related to heeling. The challenge is not to change and do things that you’re not happy with better. The challenge is to remember all the things you did that made your older dog great, and not take them for granted.

New Online Classes

We will offer a few different classes this winter. We asked you what theme you wanted to work on for a month, and many people wanted to do heelwork, so we will offer a month of all aspects of heeling for those of you that want to focus on that. Class starts on November 18th and you can post as many videos as you like for us to comment on during a month.

We are also offering a brand new class, that will help you prepare for obedience trials. Obedience trials are about so much more than just teaching the dog to perform exercises. Teaching the behaviors and exercises is approximately half the job. This class covers how to prepare for trials. You don’t need to have all exercises trained to perfection to enter this class – it’s great training even for young dogs. Class starts on December 9th.

Our new Foundation Class was a huge success and a lot of people have asked us to do it again. The new Foundation Class includes more skills and cover some aspects that the first version of the class didn’t. We really love teaching it and look forward to helping new students teach their dogs great skills. There is also an option for old students to repeat the class at a discounted price. Class starts on January 8th.

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Obedience Class III – Metal Dumbbell Retrieve

My plan was to finish my series of videos of where we’re at with the exercises in class 3 by the end of December, but here we are in the beginning of May with three more exercises to cover. I’ll show a video of our metal dumbbell retrieve today. We can finally train on our field again, as the snow is gone and grass is starting to grow there. Squid was very reluctant to grab the metal dumbbell, but she will do it now and she has done the full exercise. I focus on speed in both picking up and running back to me at the moment. I will try to train all parts, but keep focus on speed to get a really, really fast retrieve.

Foundations for down from heel

When working with our online obedience class, I realized that I didn’t have a video that shows how we teach stand/sit/down from heel. We’ve done it for years, and I think that most people in Scandinavia is familiar with the process, but I found that it’s very new to a lot of people from other parts of the world. So, here’s a video showing part of the process (the part that might seem most weird). It starts with a offered down, so it’s important that the dog can offer behaviors without any help from us. We then start to walk slowly backwards and want the dog to follow and then offer a down. We gradually increase speed until the dog can do a nice backwards heel (which means that we sometimes have to reward the dog for just following to) and offer the down.


Puppy Around a Pole

Being able to send your dog around a pole (or chair/cone/person/bag/whatever) is a great way to make your obedience training more fun and efficient. With the pole, you can get your dog on a distance and in full speed without having to work on stays. You can get new repetitions without having to move yourself. I use if for all kinds of things (finishes, holding dumbbell in motion, stand/sit/down on a distance and while running towards me, directed retrieve, the recall to heel in the square exercie etc.) You can also use it for agility handling. I’ve shown many of these things in the blog this winter and I will try to make an inspirational video with even more when I get the time (it would be much easier if the snow would melt from my training field so that I didn’t have to go to the riding facility to train).

Yesterday I made a short video of Bet, 9 weeks, who just started to learn this skill. This is her 4th and 5th short session:

Please leave a comment if you have any questions!