Friday, December 6, 2013

Mish Mash of Goals & Ramblings

Ugh. Winter.

Our least favorite time of the year. The cold, the dark, did I mention the cold?

Winter looks almost pretty here, but it's a lie ...

During the blizzard on Monday/Tuesday this week I had to put pee pads down in the garage because neither of the Chi’s could go out in the crazy wind and potty in the back yard. Poor little naked dogs.

Winter is terrible, she puts coats and boots on me!

Winter isn’t very inspirational for dog training, especially since I like to work on things that are “fun”  (ie lots of motion and excitement – like agility!) However, in the name of being a better dog trainer and having dogs that are a little more well-rounded, this winter is going to be a little different.

Instead of being sad that I really have no where to train in the house (and no where to train outside of the house because it is too freaking cold and snowy) I have re-vamped the carpeted living room that really wasn’t being used for much into an area to use for training. Some of our agility equipment will even fit!

The focus this winter tho, will be going back to the basics with all 3 dogs. Foundation fun! Actually working completely through some of online course material I haven’t and participating in the Puppy Peaks Challenges. It’ll be good practice to work on training the foundations BEFORE I look at getting another puppy – so I can do it right then, or at the very least, more right =P

Last weekend I worked a CGN test put on by Kim & the Flyball Team. I’ve never actually seen one before and being me, didn’t want to enter the dogs in one without having watched one first. Now I’m a little sad that I didn’t at least bring Baxter to see where we are on things – may not have passed, but it would give me a good idea of where he is at, especially with being handled/groomed by a stranger. Ahh well. Having now seen one (and how basic it really is) I would like to work towards getting it – which means I really have to fix loose leash walking (among other things!)

This week we hit the local Pet Planet and worked on loose leash walking/attention and being happy in new/scary places. 

Anyone who has only met Agility Baxter doesn’t realize how uncomfortable he is in some places (like Pet Stores.) Tail down, unresponsive and trying to pull me out the door – seriously.  The reasons why he is stressed don’t particularly matter here, but I had 100% improvement over that  in one session with a clicker. Some good walking and attention. Some good choices in when to pay attention. Oh, and happy boy. So happy, me and treats and a clicker, he’s a happy dog, and he tries. 

(Just a note of interest here- the clicker is integral to a happy Baxter, I’ve tried to counter condition using a verbal marker in the past and treating for the same things I did this time, but he still wants to leave and doesn’t care about the cookies, the clicker seems to override that worry and give him something else to think about ?)

Spencer tried too. He is more uncomfortable in strange spaces and will take more work than Baxter to overcome that. So we’ll work on new environments and trusting me. Different stage of the journey, same path eventually tho! Also need to work on loading value into the clicker - or discontinue it's use with Spencer - he is uncomfortable with it being in my hand.

This weekend also marks the start of Spencer’s “Specials” agility career. We’re in the 2x4 Trial at WetCreek and I’ve got both boys running in 6” Specials. 

If we don't freeze to death in the -30 degree cold it should be a good time.

1 comment:

  1. Getting a CGN on the boys is a great goal! And maybe try nosework to pass those cold winter days.