Saturday, August 23, 2008

Training fun

Tunnel fun!

It has been a really fun last three weeks training Sonic. I made some decisions on how I wanted to progress with his training which has given me much more direction. I am also keeping records. Although very basic they tell me what I have worked on and how it went (either great, good, not so good or totally crap…)

The first decision I made was to spend about a month on each handling manoeuvre. I don’t want to get caught in the trap of teaching him everything in the space of a couple of weeks and then just having one confused little pup. So I’ve gone back over Greg Derrett’s “Great Dog Shame about the Handler” DVD and broken Sonic’s training up to fit in with the different handling sections. So the last three weeks I have purely worked on front crosses. Initially I just did the front cross exercise over the figure 8 but have now moved on to a pinwheel and then yesterday we attempted our first double box grid. I have to say that after doing the pinwheel for the first time and having a pup that did it like a seasoned professional, it brings home again the importance of the groundwork. His understanding of how he should react to my body cues is brilliant, and as such all he needs to focus on is getting over the jump. He is easily managing the 500mm height and it took him only a couple of weeks to work up to it. He is reading my body extremely well for his figure 8 work and his turns are tightening up nicely although I’ve noticed that his turns to the left are much wider than his right at this stage. Hopefully that will resolve with lots of drill training. So we will spend another week on front crosses and then provided I’m happy with him it will be onto push throughs!

I am slowly working my way around onto the different pieces of equipment, with the exception of the weavers that I’m leaving until late September. I have reintroduced a target to the A-Frame and Dog Walk as I’m still not totally happy with his position and capability of giving me a strong 2o2o. I’m tempted to rev him right up to encourage the desire but I am wary of the likely hood of over arousal and then total chaos as a by product. I did have a small break through this week when I put a table along side the dog walk. Then I had him getting on higher up which seemed to get a much more enthusiastic bounce down into 2o2o position. However there is no rush so we’ll just see how it goes over the next few weeks.

I have really been pushing the distraction aspect of his training too. He is coping extremely well but sometimes does get overawed by his surroundings. Last week I set up his jump grid in the thick of dogs doing agility and although he stayed focused on working with me you could see that he was struggling to cope with all the activity. Most of the dogs that we train with are high drive working dogs so are extremely exciting to watch. Being such a reactive dog it was a credit to him that he could do anything at all! A couple of bars went astray and he released off someone else telling their dog to go, but apart from that it was a pretty impressive effort for a twelve month old.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


(Photo's by Cathy Snook)

Finally I have a couple of pictures of young Slipper. Slipper is our last MickSal pup that I've been chasing Dave up for the last couple of months trying to get a photo!

She is such a pretty little girl and looks just like Secret except that she has a longer coat. Dave has only just started doing a little bit of agility training with her although he has been doing some obedience work. Appartently she is showing a lot of potential to be a very nice little obedience dog.
She's a feisty as the rest of them and I'm sure Dave will have a lot of fun with her.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Happy Birthday!

OK, well it is his birthday...

It finally here, our amazing pups turn one year old tomorrow. So I've been trying to give some thought to a proper training program for Sonic as we can now progress through his equipment learning stage. I have actually been referring back to a lot of stuff from Nancy Geyes articles in Clean Run magazine with her training of Sweep. Nancy uses Greg Derrett's handling system, as do I, so it's been really useful. There are some things I will be doing differently but it's been a very helpful guide. I think she is a great handler and trainer.

Over the last few weeks I've introduced Sonic to five jumps in the jump grid set at about 20cm height with 6 foot between each jump. I have still retained the Susan Salo spider on the front as I've been concerned that he was getting a bit sloppy with his style in his quest to go too fast. We've lost a couple of weeks training to crap weather though so I haven't had a chance to do anymore. I'd like to move on to the progressive grid next and the balance grid. I had a good indication that he is getting more confident with his body following a trip down the park a few weeks ago. We were coming back through the local equestrian park which has a three and a half metre wide drainage ditch running through the middle of it. All my other dogs crossed at the bridge but he picked his line and made a concious decision to jump over the ditch, which he cleared with ease. He's been to that park many times before but it was the first time he's ever done that. It would appear that the jump work has really built his confidence in body awareness.

Haven't really gone much further with any other equipment. He loves his tunnels now and is flying through both flexi's and collapsibles without any problem. I haven't back chained the dog walk any further yet cause I'm too scared to... He has started the end of the A-Frame, still doing the same level on the see saw, has gone through a tyre a couple of times and that's pretty much it! When I go to training I feel like I tend to focus more on his sit stays in front of a jump and just building reinforcement for doing the jump right now. I can't wait to get on with it though. These last couple of weeks has been killing me with the rain and ensuing flooding of the Canine grounds. With fine weather forecast for the week I'm hopeful that we can really push forward.

Happy Birthday MickSal pups.