I took a private lesson with the trainer I have been working with on Lily's utility routine today. She will do an accelerated version of her performance puppy class with us. We worked on a number of things. We reloaded his attention to his name. We did an exercise she calls "with me"that makes the dog take responsibility for orienting to his handler and moving with the handler as a foundation to heeling. We also had some time spent on fixing his tuck sit and fold down drop. She also showed me how to get a good kick back stand. The position exercises will be important in utility for signals, in open for the drop on recall and will reinforce heeling. We also acclimated Javelin to wearing a pinch collar by putting it on him and rewarding his non-reaction to it. We also practiced putting a hand on that collar. It will be many weeks before we hook it to the leash. He needs to learn the other basics well before we ask him to understand the self correction of feeling pressure from the pinch collar by having it attached to his leash.
I enjoyed the lesson, but know that Javelin found some of it frustrating and confusing since much of what we tried to show him is a big step up in expectations from the things I have done with him to date. Working through those frustrations will help him become the great working dog that I see glimpses of in him. Deb very much liked his drive and willingness to play with his tug toy in an alien environment. I think we both feel he will rise to our expectations with good constructive work.
I like how you mentioned that some of the things you're doing now are to help build a good foundation for Open and Utility, classes that will come along much later. So important to keep the ultimate ultimate goals in mind when starting with the earliest of training.
I also like how you touched on frustration. I think that a good quality in a performance dog is the ability to tolerate and work through frustration. We handlers can be good or bad influences in that!
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zooeysmom, tugging is a game that indicates drive to work. Teaching a dog to tug and then break off the game on your order is an impulse control exercise. After you move and get the lay of the land in Chico you should try your hand at rally or obedience or agility with Maizie. Channel that drive and you will deepen your bond with her in ways you can barely imagine.
Quossum I wish I had done more of this last summer when Javelin was a puppy, but things are as they are. He is still way ahead of the curve that Lily was on at the age of one year, but he could be further along. I think that teaching at my club during the school year put me off continuing what I started when he was a tiny boy.
In the current thread about dog parks the most recent posts touch on the value of free play for dogs (and children). I also think that learning to deal with and work through stress and frustration is an important life skill for dogs and humans. My current crop of human students has a midterm exam tonight. They are so stressed out over it I am worried that some of them will under perform because of the stress. They are extremely worried about how many questions, what kinds of questions and the like. Very few of them has asked anything about the material, but they keep asking about how many questions, etc.. My reply is don't worry about the questions, spend your energy making sure you know the material and then the questions won't be a problem. They don't get it.
Javelin was interesting when he was confused. Deb had taken him from me to show me an exercise. The activity was to use a treat to get the dog to follow you as you moved away from him without saying anything. The idea was to let him have a bit of the treat when he was giving attention and moving with you, marking the movement with a yes and sometimes a bit of the treat. Since she wasn't talking to him he had no clue what to do and her barked at her and her shoes and acted like he wanted to bite her shoes. The barking stopped as soon as he figured out how to get the reinforcing markers and by the time she gave him back to me he had the game figured out and worked it well. Now we will take that on the road. This made me realize that I have been talking him through many more things than I need to. His learning and understanding will be greatly reinforced by me talking less and letting him work the problem out for himself.
Today was my teaching day at my obedience club. As usual I took both Lily and Javelin with me. I generally try to get there at least 45 minutes before my first class so I can work with them before people arrive. Today I spent most of that time with Javelin. I worked on the tuck sit and the kick back stand. The sit is coming along well, but the stand needs more work so I will do at least one more session on it today. His down has already been pretty good and is also getting better.
I also did name reinforcement with distractions. I have a helper who takes care of signing people in and does the log ins for me (and am very grateful to have her). She trains with the same private trainer I have been going to so she understands all of my exercises and proofs so she is easy to work with as a distraction maker. He is giving much better responses to his name now even though he knew it he now is understanding that hearing it to means get ready to work.
We also worked on the follow me exercise. This still needs some work since he is being bratty about trying to get food from me without working for it decently. I want to get more practice on this in the next couple of days. I got an email from the trainer yesterday that she has a cancellation on Monday and can take us for that hour. I want to have him ready to move to the next exercises ASAP because we will not know a set training schedule with her in advance.
Separately I am happy to say that all of a sudden he has been much better waiting in his crate lately. He has wrecked two covers trying to get out of a soft crate and he absolutely hates a metal crate so I have been really working on him with this (some of you may remember that he is an in home crate train failure). I can now even be in sight and he will settle quickly when I tell him to rather than jumping around trying to get to me.
I am so looking forward to following Jav's journey. A lot of my fellow "rally-ers" use "with me",and I may with the Spoo. (I have a lot of "stuck phrases" from training in the 60's-70"s, when it was ALWAYS "heel" when you moved. But,rally didn't exist then,either!)
When and where is the July southern tier show? I looked on AKC site,but didn't recognize any of the descriptions.
I should think it would matter more WHAT the exam questions were than how many of them there would be. Was I that naive back in the day?
Martha et al
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LilyCDRE, sometimes students really work to learn and do learn the material, and then are faced with test questions that don't reflect the material learned. I understand if one learns material, one can hope to apply the foundations to other situations. That may be where the question requests come from, if students aren't able to decipher how the test applies to the material. I've experienced this a few times. (I'm not saying you do trick questions that don't apply to the material!)
Yay for Javelin figuring out so well what the trainer wanted from him ! He's a smart one, for sure. I'm loving this thread and envisioning your darling Javvypups figuring things out.
Last edited by Streetcar; 06-12-2016 at 04:23 PM.
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Streetcar I showed them exams from other courses so they could see generally what my exams look like and to take the edge off worrying about the nature of the exam, yet this group remained possessed with wanting details of how the test was being built. I have a large pool of questions I draw from and try hard to make sure the questions reflect what I've done in class. This class just seems to have a different vibe about that part of things.
Javvy is going to be a great worker when we get his foundations in order.