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.

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