Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Branching out

I'm definitely going to expand my horizons in obedience training this year. I haven't participated in formal obedience training for 20 years and so much has changed. Crystal on The Reactive Champion has great discussions on Ian Dunbar's seminar and her references to shaping in obedience training got me interested in trying new training methods. I entered both Cheddar and Benny in shaping classes taught by Diane Craig at Arrowhead Dog Training Academy. After 1 session, I can see where Benny the Brittany "gets" it alot easier than Cheddar the Anatolian. Anatolians are SO independent. For thousands of years, they used their own judgement in protecting livestock with minimal instruction from the shepherds. WAIT! As soon as I typed that, I realized that shaping is perfect for Cheddar as she is used to figuring things out on her own and shaping allows her to do that! Oh cool. I would say that the light went on quicker for Benny though. Wondering what people think about this.....People often assume that the more compliant, easier to train dogs are more intelligent. Does ease of training and compliance equal intelligence? Also, I'm working on incorporating training into daily life and not just one or two ten minute sessions separate from everything else. All for now...Anne

Monday, November 15, 2010

A different approach

When I do the figure eight exercise with Cheddar, I always start by heeling toward the left post. More often than not, she bumps my leg at about 3 steps into the pattern. I know this is from lack of attention while heeling. She is NOT a "heads up" heeler. Anatolians just don't get into staring at your face whilst you spit cheese at them every few steps. So last week one of the gals that I was doing figure eights with at class, started off with the right post and when I asked her about it, she said her dog would get bummed out doing the same exercise the same way time after time. She decided to switch it up and the dog's attitude is much better. I tried it and by going to the right post first, the left bump at 3 steps is eliminated. Now by the time we get to the left post, Cheddar is mentally into the exercise and, so far, no bumping. I'm going to mix it up more by doing a post 2 times in a row, throwing in some slow and fast times, doing BIG and small circles around posts, doing an an about-turn midway through the exercise, breaking the exercise off midway with alot of praise and throwing a toy, etc. I'm having trouble getting her to "down" quickly while I'm heeling. This is in preparation for the drop on recall. She goes down on the first command, but it is sssllooooowww. I do reward her with food when she is down, but she is not real food motivated, and in essence I'm rewarding her for the SLOW down. Happy heeling!

Monday, November 8, 2010

First rally trials!

I entered Cheddar in the Bloomington Obedience Training Club rally trials in Novice B and it was a super fun time!! All of the rally competitors were super friendly and supportive. There were some other non-traditional obedience breeds there like a Coonhound and Great Dane(who got a 100 in Excellent!!). I was really nervous the first day and Cheddar and I were bumping alot on the heeling. I made it through the course and she got an 89. I was happy with that score and realize that I have to calm down and walk in a straight line!! The second day, I felt calmer and focused hard on each exercise, remembered to slow down on the left-about turn, remembered to talk to her throughout the whole course and things went better. Another big plus was that two gals were there competing from my club and the support from Jessie and Laura helped alot. I was thrilled when Cheddar got a 99 and first place! We stayed overnight and took a nice walk around Normandale Lake. It was beautiful and the perfect way to celebrate our first weekend of showing.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall hikes

Here's Benny! He's 4 months old now and LOVES hiking with the other dogs and his Mum! And here's some great news...he's now housebroken!!!! What a sweet boy!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Celebrating Dogs!

Hello World! I'm starting this blog as a way to journal my dogs' activities, including day-to day things like hiking, camping, chewing bones and running up vet bills and also to journal our training progress in rally, obedience, tracking, field work and who knows what else! Today I took Josie, Cheddar and Benny to the ski trails at Boulder Lake, and we hiked for about 4 miles...well I hiked that far, but the dogs went at least triple that what with all of their explorations off of the trail and into the woods! We all had a ball! Benny (17 week-old Brittany pup) even pointed a few birds. He had his fourth weekly field lesson yesterday, and I can see that the pointer within him has been awakened! Tonight I worked Cheddar in obedience in the driveway and road (too funny..the cats came down to the road and watched her get trained!) and most things went well. Her confusion on the stand stay and finish to the right vs finish to the left are just my NOT training enough. I think having a goal of saying showing in novice rally this fall will make me more serious about training her. She is also very sensitive(unlike my Malamutes of many years ago) and I can't even THINK frustration or she gets bummed. We did have a good training session tonight and I'm contemplating getting my show ring feet wet soon!