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Sometimes training takes its own route

While training this evening, I worked position changes in front – stand, sit, down in all combinations. Very quickly, Ander starting popping from position to position to position without being asked. This is a classic clicker dog moment, but he’s been training from the start to hold a position until released or given another cue. Chris Bach talks about how many, many times, people never, ever ask their dog to hold a position for even 7 seconds unless they’ve asked for a stay. So if a dog isn’t rewarded or given another cue within 7 seconds, they start throwing other behaviors. We want to turn our dogs into better than 7 second dogs. So, it looks like we have some work to do, and we started it tonight since it reared its ugly head during training (ok, not so ugly. He’s darn cute.)

I also worked on his heel position, especially keeping him close. I’ve played around with a target on the leg with Bella and Zane to correct a leaning-away problem, but didn’t use it from the beginning with them. I’ve been doing it a couple of weeks with Ander and I’m really liking how it’s coming out. He’s starting to learn that the leg targeting only counts when he’s in heel position. And I did a lot of just tiny movements to work on staying in heel while I move without all the big, sexy heeling sequences. He has to be able to get it while it’s small before he can do it big. I want to build so much value for heel position that he never wants to leave. 😀

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Agility work

I’ve started a bit more agility type work with Ander. No equipment. No real jumps. Just handling work. I’ve pulled out the cones and started working wraps, front crosses, and rear crosses.

This evening I started doing some work with drop on recalls. An added bonus to this is that I get distance downs also.
In the mornings we’ve been working on retrieve with a front. He does NOT want to sit in front with anything in his mouth. This morning I had the thought to try a platform. You can see that it still isn’t easy, but I do get it a couple of times. I’ll keep working, but I think the platform may be the best option right now. If I ask him to come into front without it, he steps into front, then backs out and either doesn’t sit, or sits way out. The platform gives him that target until I get value for sitting in front with an object in his mouth. Any time he picks up something, I want him thinking, “Front!”

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5.5 months

5.5 months

He looks so much better than he did even 2 weeks ago. He’s growing up nicely!

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Tortured Puppy

The poor puppy was totally tortured today. He got a bath. He got brushed. And he was forced to submit to pictures. Poor, poor puppy. When it was all done he was lying in front of the door. I went to check on him and he didn’t want me to come near him. He went into a crate and tried to hide in the back. I did pull him out and cuddled with him for awhile, then he was all better.

22 weeks

22 weeks

22 weeks

22 weeks

Yesterday we went to the river again. It’s getting lower and lower. Monsoon starts in July. . . sure hope it’s a good one this year!
Look at the legs he’s getting!
22 weeks

He loved to leap up on the bank. I love looking at this picture and imagining his future doing agility. He’s learning so much about timing and using his body just playing like this.
22 weeks

Here’s all the dogs at the river. We had a friend and her dog with us.

And tonight’s training – working through distractions.

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Working on retrieves

The past two days we’ve been working hard on retrieves. As is typical, although he will pick up the dumbbell and move a little bit, if I ask him to bring the dumbbell somewhere, he freezes and can’t figure out how to move. He is unable to multi-task and walk and carry a dumbbell at the same time. 😀 Yes, all my dogs have gone through this.

So I started shaping him to place the dumbbell in my hand. Got that. Then I had a brainstorm. He has a chin target (somewhat – I need to get it stronger). So I started asking him to take the dumbbell then do a chin target. At first he wanted to spit the dumbbell into my hand, but with work, he finally got that he has to hold the dumbbell with is chin in my hand. It’s not perfect yet, but it’s getting there. This is also increasing the duration of the hold, which is a nice side benefit.

Without the dumbbell, I’m working just the chin target and having him maintain the chin target while I move my hand. Once all the pieces get together, I should be able to have him retrieve, chin target him to front and sit. He can’t even get to front with the dumbbell doing chair fronts – he just will not do it with the dumbbell in his mouth. We’ll get there – it’s all part of the journey.

I’ve started working on him getting into his three stationary positions (sit, down, stand) and moving from one position to another in any order I ask. We need to work sit more – he tends to do a down when I ask for a sit, so I need to put more value in the sit for a while. And he’s learning to get from down to stand. He’s such a brilliant puppy. 😀

Ander tends to be reserved with people. If they come up to pet him, he lets them and will make friends, but he doesn’t just go up to people. But today he found somebody he really, really wanted to meet. I made him walk nicely to her (no pulling!), then he leaped all over her. She is a dog person and a very, very accomplished trainer. Why did he pick her? Who knows. But how fun to see him so excited over somebody.

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Pack it in

This weekend we went to our first herding trial. It included a couple of other firsts. On Saturday after the trial, we went back to the hotel room and rested until time to go to the potluck dinner. For the first time ever, Ander laid beside me and napped. He’s usually too busy climbing on me, kissing me, jumping down, jumping up, climbing on me, etc. But he curled up by my side and napped. What a wonderful boy.

I had him with me when awards were passed out. It was inside a metal workshop so the noises echoed funny. At first when people would clap, he’d look a little worried, so clapping started to mean “cookies from Mom”. Soon, people would clap, and he’d turn to me, “Where’s my cookie!” No more worry.

This morning I was too tired to even think about “real” training, so I was trying to figure out what to do with him. Well, there was my suitcase. I decided to shape him to get into my suitcase. But it was a carry-on size, and he couldn’t figure out how to curl up in it. So this evening I grabbed a bigger suitcase. He got it!

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Heel Work and Front Work