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!

Stimulus Control on Stand, Sit and Down

Tried a new and fun way to proof stimulus control today. I love all the fun things you can do with sending the dog around a pole. The idea here is that the dog has to listen more carefully as she can’t read my body language when I’m walking away from her. If your dog isn’t used to running around the pole, you can throw a treat on the ground and walk away to create distance from the dog. A helper to tell you when the dog is correct is also a good idea.

Shadow Handling for Agility

I wanted to make a video of some foundation exercises for my online classes, and had so much fun with my dogs. I was surprised how much they know and remember, considering that I’m not very good at doing a lot of ground work with the dogs at the moment. Obviously, they don’t think doing real agility or doing ground work is a big difference. I had lots of fun and was inspired to do some more of it in the future.

More Send to Square

Some more obedience training with Squid today, along with Thomas and Louise (with Squid’s little sister Kite). We worked some more on send to square, and I’m pleased with our progress. I’ve almost exclusively rewarded stop in the square for the past weeks, and that has led her to stop early (especially when the distance is long). This was something that I expected, and I decided to ler her work through it instead of going back to reward for running through the square. I’ve just waited her out when she stops early, and only rewarded when she’s gone all the way to the middle of the square. I was happy to see that she found her way to the middle nicely todat, even when I moved the square past the earlier point of reward and close to the wall. For the first repetitions, I hid Thomas behind the wall and had him throw the toy over the wall to reward her when I clicked. It’s fun to be able to reward with good precision and timing without the dog knowing that the reward is there before the click. When I look at the video, I think that Squid has better speed in the last meters than she had last week. The down is still not good, but at least she did it on the first try.

We also worked on the recall from the square – finding the left side even when she has to run around my body and I’m moving away. We didn’t use the square, or even a down, to train this. Instead I sent her around a pole to get a new repetition. Fast, fun training!

Obedience Class III – Send to Square

Tried some send to Square with Squid. She runs out well, and I have worked on the stop so that she doesn’t end up beyond the square any more. What we need to work on is the finish – recall to heel where she needs to run around my body and end up on my left side. I worked on that today using a send around a pole, which was a fun way of training it without having to ask her to stay. Here’s a video of send to square:

Obedience Class III – Recall with stand

I’m working my way through the obedience exercises in Swedish class III. We tried recall with stand, and I’m very happy with Squid’s speed in both recall and stop. Unfortunately, I haven’t put enough work on the last part of the exercise – running to me after the stop. Squid expects her reward after the stop, since that’s what we’ve been doing mostly. Time to work on the whole exercise, without losing the perfect stop. It’s all about stimulus control really, Squid needs to get better at distinguishing between the recall cue and the reward marker. Fun training!

Obedience Class III – Heeling and Sit from heel

I found some obedience time and inspiration today and made some video of Squid’s heeling and sit/down/stand from heel. Her biggest problem with obedience is a too high level of arousal (no doubt because of a lot of agility training in general, and circle work in particular). It doesn’t really affect anything else but the heelwork, but that’s bad enough. I’ve found that just walking with her in heel for many minutes, until I have something to reward (rhythmic movements and not touching my leg) works well. At least she doesn’t have a problem with endurance… Stand, sit and down from heel look nice. Only problem is that the heeling get’s even more bouncy when we’re doing positions, and that makes her positions more bouncy in turn. Must work more on her heeling…

The Switch Game – Great Foundation Skills!

Chris and 12 month old GSD Devante have been working with us since this fall. Chris and Devante are training for IPO and I’m sure they’ll be superstars one day. I met them in Ohio in November and we started to work on tugging and some great games that will improve self control and lay a great foundation for retrieving and other exercises.

Just look at how beautifully they master switching between two toys and how Devante is listening to Chris to understand if he’s supposed to run and get the toy on the ground or keep working with the one in the hand. This is a great foundation for IPO and obedience. Games like these also create a dog that is open minded, listening to his handler and engages in whatever his handler tells him to do.

Chris and Devante are participating in our online retrieve month, and I’m very excited to work on a more formal retrieve with a dog that has this great foundation.

Good start to 2013

2013 started well for me. We went to Stockholm for an agility trial this weekend and I’m very pleased with the results. Squid won J3 both days, and was close to winning A3 as well (if she hadn’t bounced off my leg at the end of the course). She became Swedish Jumping Champion on Saturday. Shejpa ran 3 out of 4 clean runs and qualified for the Swedish National Championships in June. She placed 2nd and 3rd in standard, which was surprising to me as she often struggles on the carpet and hasn’t been trained at all this winter. Squid ran really well on the carpet. She’s never been on a slippery carpet like that before and we usually train in really soft and heavy dirt, so I didn’t know what to expect. I think she handled it well because she always knows where she’s going and jumps well so that she lands in the direction she’s going next most of the time. Dogs that don’t bend well over the bars and have to turn on the ground (like Shejpa) struggle much more. Squid needs to work on turning better out of tunnels, that’s where she had her wide turns and slipping on the carpet.