Running contacts are hard work and a huge learning experience being the first time I've trained it with any of my dogs. Although we have definitely turned a corner over the last week. I had been using a toy for all the rewarding but I couldn't get any more than a 50% success rate with Cassie. She would literally hit one then miss one over and over again. It was totally doing my head in. Then I remembered that I had a perfectly good Manners Minder that I'd purchased over twelve months ago sitting in the house that had yet to make it out of it's box. Cassie took a little while to warm to it. Given that it's about the same size as her and made a loud beeping noise I guess that wasn't unreasonable that she was a bit intimidated by it. However once she realised that food came out of it she quickly changed her mind. She started running down to the MM and after she got her first treat sat in front of it offering it behaviours in the vain hope it would give her some more. The good new is that since I started using it our success rate has increased to about 90%. The MM has just made it so much clearer to her in what I want. Finally we are progressing and have just started adding in turns. I have to say though that if I was training a border collie rather than a papillon I probably would have thrown my hands up in the air and gone back to 2o2o contacts quite some time ago. So much easier to train!
We've also started doing some very simple single box jump grids. I'm mainly focused on building her understanding of 270's, 180's etc and of course her drive around me. Cassie loves her tunnels so that has been an easy piece of equipment to introduce. At some point I'll have to teach her the broad jump and tyre but I figure that can wait for now. If her running contact training continues to improve over the next month I will hopefully get her weaver training started in September. I'm still hoping her first trial will be the Western Classic in March next year. It's nice to have an event that I can aim for although I won't run her unless I'm absolutely happy with how she's going and bunking off after border collies has been completely eliminated!
Fizz's education is pretty basic right now. I feel certain that she will be a very late maturer like her father and going slowly won't do her any harm at all. What I am doing with her she is enjoying very much. She is very clever and almost logical the way she seems to think things through. I had some initial concerns about getting her to retrieve but then all of a sudden she just got it when I was playing with her. Pretty happy about that as it took me ages to convince Cassie to bring toys back especially if it had a squeaky in it. Other than that it's all about reinforcement zone and recalls. She has officially reached the age were she thinks coming back is optional so plenty of work to do there!
|Fizz vs sprinklers|
|Fizz and Sonic|