Monday, May 29, 2006

CPE Day 2

Wyatt got 2 Q's today and also got first place in each. We had a nice Snooker run with 48 points (3 6's which were a jump combo) and the whole finish sequence. There were no contacts on this particular course. I ran Patriot too but he is not as responsive and I sent him over an extra jump. We had our usual good jumpers run (one tunnel bobble where he pulled off) with a Championship level Q and a first. Dawn threw Patriot into a little pond before the run and they did great. I think it was his fastest run ever, ever faster than Wyatt, which is a first. Standard had 2 A-frames. Wyatt did great on the first one but missed his contact coming back when he got ahead of me. But the rest of the contacts were good and he again ran very calm and controlled. This ring is small so there were no spectators inside the arena and very few dogs, which I am sure is good for Wyatt.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

CPE Day One

We had a pretty good day today. The first 2 runs I was very happy with. Wyatt just released early on one contact - a dogwalk. It so happened that I got a little flustered and he went back up the dogwalk so I got to practice it again without being called for training in the ring! That was a wildcard run. Standard went very well except I lost contact for a split second and he took an extra jump. It was in a difficult 90 degree turn to a tunnel that was paired with the dogwalk. Our last jackpot run was not great. Again, he went off course when I lost contact for a split second as we had finished my plan and the gamble whistle had not blown yet. He went up the A-frame and missed his contact (I was way out of position but still...). He then took a gamble jump causing an NQ. He went back over the A-frame and stalled. I finally got him back and started on the gamble. The A-frame contact was bad once again. However, he did do the hardest part of the gamble which was to take an outer jump that was next to an inner jump. I used an opposite arm push and he went right over and onto the table. All in all, a pretty good day even though we did not get a Q. We felt very good as a team at least on the first 2 runs and most of the last run. He seemed to be calm and in control and getting most of the his contacts. Also, all the weaves were really good. I only had to briefly restart one weave.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Change of Behavior

I noticed an interesting change of behavior with Wyatt's scent discrimination this morning. When he found the metal scent article on the very first one tried, he picked it up, dropped it and then checked the other ones. He then came back to the first (correct) one and retrieved that. He did the same thing on the leather article. Not sure if it is better or worse. In the past, he would have immediately came back with the first one...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Increase Rewards

I am thinking that I should increase the rewards for the group sit and down and show the goods before I leave. I have noticed increased attention and focus when I have Wyatt sit for his dinner or a greenie. Maybe the greenie bits would be the best because they are high value but would not take a long time to eat...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Darn Groups

Wyatt is doing great on drop on recall so, once again, by far the hardest exercises are the group sit and down. When I worked at my toolbench instead of going completely out of sight, he started getting up or laying down. Well, I guess I know what I need to work on. Too bad it is the most boring thing to work on!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Drop on Recall

Wow. Wyatt did his first drop on recall without a barrier today. He only crept one step. I was using on thin piece of string but faded that out. I am finding that I have to do lots of recalls without the drop or he will slow down and start anticipating (especially with the string there.)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Open Class

I went to our novice/open drop in class last night after a month long break and was really pleased with Wyatt. I could tell he was stressed a bit, perhaps because he had not been there in a while. However, his heeling was fantastic! No lagging at all. I have been working with him at home by clicking and treating (C/T )when he is in heel position. Now I guess I have to gradually fade out the C/T as we get ready for competition.

At one point the teacher called for a sit from a down and he would not come up on the sit command. I guess I was a little rusty too because I forgot I have an up command instead!

He was a little reluctant at first to retrieve on flat especially when the dumbbell was close to other dogs. I will have to work on that but really warmed up when I started out with more informal, shorter retrieves. He did much better on retrieve over jump and even went over the jump when one of my throws went way to the side (I have been proofing this at home.)

He also did his scent articles perfectly even in the class setting. Unfortunately, I left them there so we won't be practicing until I can go back and "retrieve" them.

He has a problem on the out of site sit even though that is going well at home. I am going to back to using cones in class to prevent him from going down.

His broad jumps were awesome with perfect fronts and finishes. Drop on recall is a work in progress. I practiced a lot but had the usual problems with slowing down sometimes and creeping sometimes. I am using a string at home for my barrier at this point.

It was good to get back to class and I can see we need to start going again.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Out of Site, Out of Mind?

I am working hard on the out of site sits and down and currently starting with one minute sits and downs out of sight. Before that, I worked up to a 3 minute (in sight) sit. I am trying to be systematic about this and really train and proof it. I was a bit lax in training for novice sits and downs and did not work on it and proof it enough. It is boring but I am hoping to really make this exercise much more reliable.

A friend of mine was describing how he proofs out of sight sits and down with his whippet. Her favorite things was to go for a ride so he gradually worked up to actually leaving the dog in a sit or down and driving away for 10 minutes and coming back and making sure she was still in position. Now, that is proofing!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Working Dog

It is great to have a dog that loves to work. Today, when I was moving some jumps around, Wyatt went and did 12 weaves all by himself when Dawn and Patriot were watching. I was nowhere near the jumps. He really seems to enjoy weaving now.

Also, today he was really pumped up for obedience and was absolutely whining to start the scent discrimination game. He is cute as heck on retrieves too. He does a little tail wag on the way back from every retrieve!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Drop On Recall

We are working hard on drop on recall. I am using barriers to try and avoid issues with creeping. My plan is to use multiple barriers and have already faded them from boards to leashes. Later I will switch to string. One thing I found this morning is that there is much more creep with a hard signal than a verbal signal. I also DO NOT drop him sometimes so he does not anticipate the drop.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


You may remember that Wyatt crashed into the triple jump at the AWC nationals twice. I did bring home a triple jump from our club this week and Wyatt did pretty good with it but did knock the top bar once in a while. I guess I will end up buying one. I also asked our teachers to put one in their courses for class, which they are going to do.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Black Dog Phobia

We went lure coursing this weekend. Wyatt fouled out of his first run for some really blatant fouls. I always had trouble with him racing and eventually gave up trying to train him to run clean. However, for some reasons, he seemed to be find with coursing. He must have run clean 10-15 times without incident. I thought perhaps the stress of being boxed and the close quarters of racing overstimulated him. So I was disappointed but not too surprised when he fouled out coursing. I thought that this day might come.

Thinking about it more, I noticed that one of the fouls (I could not see all of them) involved a black dog. Later that night, we had a black lab over the house and Wyatt was very reactive with this dog. He often is with black labs. I tried working with him and the lab by walking them together on leash through the woods. That worked well. He seemed to calm down and relax around the lab. I believe, from observation, that the reaction is about fear and protection. He is afraid of the black lab and also wants to warn/protect us from the dog as well. He would get reactive again the closer we got to the house and especially inside the house with the most reaction in our living space. Thinking back, I remember some other fouls in the past that involved black dogs.

This could be related to incidents I have had in the neighborhood with local black labs whose owners walk them off leash in violation of the local leash law. They also do not have voice control over their dogs and they have sometimes charged us aggressively. When we first got Wyatt, he slipped out of his leash and I lost him for a while when a black lab approached. Although things are better now, I wonder if some of these early experiences and my own reaction may have contributed to this phobia.

Although I have learned a great deal about training a dog for dog/human activities, I don't know much about how to address dog to dog issues. Certainly, walking on leash together worked well but I wonder what other techniques could be used. Wyatt is usually fine away from the house but I wonder if improving his dog issues would also help us in agility and obedience where I believe his dog stress is the main cause of his ring nerves (again, much better than it used to be but still could be better.)

I put Wyatt in singles on Sunday and he tied for first which was nice. I am happy to run him in singles and practice him at races but I think it would be good to work on these dog/dog issues. I just wish there was 1/10 the amount of info as there is for dog/human training.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Need a break?

Wyatt has not been as motivivated as usual in obedience and agility so I am wondering if he needs a break. I did borrow a triple jump from our agility club which he has been doing well with. He did knock one bar this morning but has not crashed into it.

We are going to a lure coursing meet this weekend so will not do any agility or obedience.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Wyatt CD Photo

Here is a photo of Wyatt receiving his new Companion Dog (CD) title.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Back to Work

We are back to work after enjoying some time off from training. Now that Wyatt has his CD, I am getting down to more focused training on open (with some continuing utility work). The only exercise I had not trained much was drop on recall so I am trying to figure out the best way to do that.

I am doing some quick down work almost like a game where we move and do quick downs. I have also been trying a board half way between us and giving him a down when he approaches the board. Then I continue the recall. I can tell he is finding it a little confusing.

I am also doing a 3 minute sit moving up from the 2 minute sit I was doing for novice practice. No out of site work yet. I am going for the time first.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Patriot Puppy Photos

Here are some photos of Patriot's puppies taken last week at just one week old...