We’ve done the second day of training Agera to weave using Susan Garrett’s 2×2 method (though we might unknowingly do things that Susan wouldn’t). We’ve done three sessions of about three minutes each. I’m kind of frustrated about the lack of progress. Agera is making fewer misstakes, but has the same problem as we had yesterday. We’ve agreed to proceed anyway, since adding two more poles actually might make it easier for her. We’re going to Gothenburg tomorrow, so we’ll have to bring our 2x2s on the road.
Nina and Agera are living with us for five weeks and Nina is helping us out with all kinds of things. Agera is a really cool kelpie, about 16 months old. This is Agera’s first day of weaving. She caught on very quickly and did not make a misstake for the first two (1+3 minutes) sessions. I did have a feeling that when she made a misstake, she would fail and fail and not change. And that was exactly what happened in the second session when we finally gave her a challenge that she didn’t master. Nina did make it easier for her, back to a point where she had success before. But this was something Agera just had to work through and learn to change when there is no reward. She tried two different tactics before finally getting it right. And then she had no problems for the rest of the day. She failed once in the afternoon, but changed immediatly. I can’t wait to do day two!
We have done a lot of training today, both obedience and agility. I made a video of Missys nose touches to see how they look from in front of her. They’re coming along great with very little training.
Missy also got to do some double box and I’m really not sure if she should be doing it. Running sequences with her feels like eating too much chocolate. You know it’s probably bad but you can’t really stop. If she is to do any more sequencing, I need to think and plan much better than I am doing now. I don’t really know where to start with her, but I guess I shouldn’t worry about double box until we have better shadow handling.
Shejpa was a superstar in the double box today. I worked some more on the turns that she used to slow down in and it looked great today. She also ran the entire session with almost no food, she really likes her new sheepskin tug toys.
The weather has been great today and obedience went well too. Missy and I worked a lot on the send out to a square, where we’ve had problems with her not stopping fast enough once she gets in the square. We finally had some kind of breakthrough today and I’m getting hopefull about the trial on thursday. Pi was also good today, showing great attitude, tug and concentration.
We had a nice, warm day and did a lot of training at home with some friends. Shejpa got to do shadow handling and double box work. I focused on getting her to move faster through turns where she has to turn tight and looses speed and I am pretty stationary. They often make her slow down a lot, but todays training made a big difference. Shejpa and Missy did some bend work and Pi did a few jumps in the Salo Spider. Missy and I worked some more on her nose touches.
Pi and I did all the excercises in our novice obedience class. She has turned 11 months and our debut in obedience trials is getting close. These are the excercises in the easiest obedience class in Sweden:
– Long down with other dogs for 2 minutes with handler 20 meters away (we did 1.20 min today)
– Heeling on leash with turns, halts and fast pace.
– Moving down. Dog heels off leash, handler cues “down”, dog stays in a down while handler moves 10 meters away, turns around and returns to dogs side. Handler cues “sit”.
– Recall. Handler leaves dog in a sit, walks 15 meters away and turns around. Calls the dog who finishes in heel position on left side.
– Moving stand. Dog heels off leash, handler cues “stand”, dog stays in a stand while handler moves 10 meters away, turns around and returns to dogs side. Handler cues “sit”.
– Holding dumbell. Dog in heel position. Handler presents dumbell to dog for 3 seconds before cueing the dog to take the dumbell. Dog holds dumbell for 5 seconds and gives the dumbell back to handler on cue.
– Recall over jump. Handler leaves dog in a sit in front of a jump and walks to other side. Handler cues “jump” and dog jumps and finishes in heel position.
We have a few weeks left before our first trial and Pi is doing good so far. She needs to be able to heel for longer periods of time without rewards, get more experience in the long down and practice in competition like settings.
Missy is in the highest class (called elite) and has a competiton on thursday. She got to do her directed retrieve and scent articles today and did a great job even though we really challenged her understanding of the excercises.
A short video from todays training (Shejpa shadow handling, Shejpa bend work and Missy’s nose touches):
It’s been raining since I got home on thursday, but we’re training outside anyway. I did obedience with Missy and Pi this morning. Pi is really doing great! She’ll make her debut in obedience in may and we have a lot of work to do. I have been driving the car down to our training field this weekend, wich makes it easier for me to do short sessions with each dog and then switch to another dog. It really does make a huge difference with the birddogs. I guess I’m to spoiled with my border collies and I’m so grateful for having many different kinds of dogs that can teach me how to be a good trainer. Short, intense sessions with high quality rewards and crate games gives me full attention from the dog’s that often wish that they just could be running around sniffing and looking for birds.
Shejpa got to play the two crate game that she really loves. We use it to get drive away from me on a straight line when I’m running straight and fast, but that isn’t really the problem when there’s a crate involved, so we mix it up with rear crosses and decelleration where she has to turn instead of going straight. She’s still turning wide, but she’s at least changing her line. Shejpa was really good today, with lots of focus and willing to tug.
Missy did some obedience, but I couldn’t help but to do some agility as well (we have an obedience trial on thursday, so we really should be concentrating on that). She hasn’t done nose touches in a while, but they were fenomenal. It’s amazing how much faster she has gotten a great nose touch, but I guess it’s a combination of me learning from my training with Shejpa and Missy being so much easier to work with than Shejpa. I gueas I have to make a video of Missys nose touches soon. We also did some one jump excercises and shadow handling. All three dogs did some jump grids as well. Shejpa was in too much of a hurry, but the other two did great.
Here is a video of some of our training today:
In less than a day, me and Shejpa will be on our way to Canada. I think Shejpa is more cool about it than I am, she is really getting used to travelling and she’s never seemed to care about the flight. I’m mostly nervous about having to rent a car on my own, and about getting out of Totonto airport with the crate and all my bags. Travelling alone really makes you feel lonely. Fortunatley, I’ll be meeting Justine and her shelties at the B&B. We’ll be sharing a car and a room for the entire week. It’s nice to not be all by my self.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will be handling with Greg and Laura Derrett. I’m signed up to take Thursday with Laura (“Which Cross When”) and otherwise observe Greg’s masters camp. Then there’s Tweener camp Friday-Monday and on Tuesday, Bob Bailey will be at Say Yes. Very exciting! I worked on our crate games and nose touches yesteday. I could tell that I hadn’t played crate games for a while, but Shejpa is really good at her crate games, so she should be back to her old level of perfection pretty soon. Her nose touches were great in the mud, so I’m excited about trying them out on the floor in Susan’s building. That should be a lot easier. We also did some back chaining on the stairs, from the second step. She hesitates on the last step some times, but I think that’ll pass when she realizes that she’s correct to just drive into target position. I suddenly wish I had more time before camp. I’d like to do more shaping with Shejpa (my other dogs are so much more rewarding to do shaping with and I’m a victim of my own, short term contingencies of reinforcement), brush up on her it’s yer choice and teach her a hot target (we got homework for Tweener Camp via e-mail just the other day).
Here’s a video of Shejpa’s nose touches from earlier this week: