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As a companion thread to Lily's thread http://www.poodleforum.com/24-performance-agility-obedience-hunting/117681-long-road-ud.html we hereby officially start Javelin's blog of training to performance rings.

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.
 

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Thanks for sharing--this should be a fun thread!

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!

--Q
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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?:afraid::ahhhhh:

Martha et al
 

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And the new word to move in heel is strut (which I personally really dislike, but whatever works).

It is the Susquenango Kennel Club at Broome Community College in Binghamton Friday July 22 to Sunday the 24th that will be our next stop.

I may give Javelin a rally novice run just for kicks.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
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.
 

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Lily CD RE, I've no doubt you are as straightforward and informative with your college students as you are with us here, and they are blessed in that.

Now, Mr. Javelin is fast becoming uni level himself! I know you are shepherding him carefully and he is going to have a career he just loves like Lily does :).
 

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We had another private lesson today. In less than a week Deb sees great progress. Javelin's attention is better. He is working past distractions like toys on the floor.

One of the dogs belonging to the previous students barked at Jav from his crate and scared him but he recovered quickly.

We turned move with me into the beginning of heeling by having Javelin at heel position and moving just a step or two with heads up attention. We started to work on recalls but didn't include fronts. Separately we did start working on having him find front with his head up.

A one hour lesson is a long time working, so we are being careful to give him play breaks. He loves to play with his tug toy so he is staying upbeat even when he starts to find that things are hard because his performance requirements are being upped. I can tell when he needs a break because he starts putting his head down and declining his food rewards as an avoidance behavior. It will be easier to move things along at home and at my club where I can do very short sessions ending always with motivational play releases.
 

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It is amazing how much you can accomplish in an hour in a private lesson isn't it?! Good for you for watching Javelin's cues and giving him breaks when needed, especially when things are hard. Especially since he's still so young, I imagine he gets frustrated when he's trying to puzzle something out and he's not doing it right and therefore not getting the reward (at least Riley gets really frustrated! ha.)
 

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TeamPoodle, all very true about frustration over not understanding, but I really think that when a person or a dog has to puzzle through what is expected and figures it out on their own I think their understanding becomes deeper faster. This is the way to own what you know, as I often say to my human students when they feel frustrated and looking like they are ready to give up.
 

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Since part of why Javelin has struggled a bit at our first two privates is because it is an alien location I have been working on the exercises we started at the lessons in other places including home and my obedience club.

Yesterday I took both poodles with me to my club at about the time that the open class starts. I set up a crate and had Lily hang out there while I worked on the tuck sit and baby steps heeling with Javelin outside the ring but with people and dogs nearby. His sit is getting much cleaner, but I can tell that he still doesn't have muscle memory for it since he is rocking back when I informally ask for sit at home. Any time Lily is told to sit she tucks. We will continue to work on the sit before refining the stand. His drop is a good fold down front to back drop that I will work on a bit to keep him from settling to his hip. I also worked on his baby steps heeling. We are teaching him attentive heads up heeling. On Monday at our private he could do just one or two steps before looking away, but at the club he was able to do 4 or 5 steps before looking away so I think being comfortable with the setting really helped.

I also took Javelin to work with me last night. It is a great opportunity to have him be greeted by friendly strangers as practice for the CGC (which I would like to do sometime in the next few weeks). He did great with all of my students, especially one young woman who he was very hesitant to approach last week (she was wearing perfume last week, but not last night). I also was able to leave him with the technical assistant who was there last night for lab as practice for the supervised separation. Andrew (who Javelin has never met before) told me there were two little half hearted woofs just after I left but that Javelin listened to him for sit and was generally relaxed although looking for me. When he heard me open the door he stood and wagged his tail, but was polite about not pulling on the leash or jumping up at me as I returned to take the leash. On Friday when I am at my club I will have some of my friends there help with the accepting grooming and the supervised separation. If those go well then I will schedule a test for this month.
 

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Javelin also had ring time today at the match show we went to.

He was rather a naughty boy barking in his crate while Lily and I took our first run, but some folks I know (with poodles) were crating near us. I asked one of them to tell him to be quiet and to use his name. I think that helped. Usually I set my crates up a decent distance from the rings I will be working in so the dog who is not working can't hear me, but I wasn't able to do that today.

I am happy with how he was in the ring though. I had three runs with Javelin too. We worked on focused attention, attentive heeling, sit for exam (as in beginner novice), novice stand for exam and recalls. We are starting to get decent heeling. He still needs to learn to wait for the recall and if I go full distance he sometimes runs right past me so I need to get him to remember to sit. We played tug and he was happy to do so. Since it is a stress sign for a dog not to play in the ring I am very happy that he is excited to engage his tug toy every place we go.

I was also happy that Javelin was able to relax out of his crate with me with other dogs passing by. He has occasionally been a little too eager to try to engage other nearby dogs so this was a great success for him.
 

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I seem to be getting lucky fitting into Deb's schedule for privates with Javelin. Her regular schedule is booked solid, but she emails me first whenever she has a cancellation, so we have had a lesson for each of the last three weeks. If this keeps up all summer, he will have made great strides by the time I have to go back to the regular fall semester schedule (where it will be much harder to say yes to anytime she has something open).

We took an hour with her yesterday. In the first half of our time we reviewed everything we did in the first two weeks. Javvy did great. His sits have improved enough that we are now chaining them to the kickback stand and that to the fold down drop. During warm up of move with me we had a great set of distractions in the form of a friend who also has a black spoo boy. She came very early to set up for her lesson that started right after us. Since we all know that breed recognition provokes all sorts of silliness from poodles, it was great to see Javelin acknowledge Dino being there, but then quickly refocus on me and doing his own work. We also worked on human distractions with Deb moving with us, talking to Javelin and waving a toy at him. He quickly refocused for that too. While it will be a while before he has the level of focused attention that Lily has he is improving with that too.

As we got toward the end of our time we worked on introducing a good dumbbell retrieve. I feel silly about this since I started teaching him to take the dumbbell last summer and he will happily reach for it. Somehow though I never actually taught him to retrieve anything last summer though. The result is that he is happy to go out and pick up all sorts of thrown objects, but has little clue about bringing them back! Yikes. We will be doing chase games with it to encourage picking up and carrying. The dumbbell will be tied to a string and I will throw it then trot around dragging it and having Javelin follow it. Then we will have him chase it and let it go dead to get a pick up. Then we will trot away from him once he picks it up to encourage him to move towards me with it. That is our homework project for this week.

Lily and I have our utility class this afternoon. I think I need to get a cot to camp out at Deb's training facility.
 

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I wish we had a Deb's Training Facility! Are you comparing Javelin to Lily at the same age?
I can't really say for sure how I could compare them since I am very different as a trainer now. In many ways though I think he will be better at a younger age than Lily was. Having the opportunity to work with Deb is great for all of us.
 

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We were not able to take the cancellation slot that Deb had last week for a couple of reasons, but we were able to fit into her schedule today.

We warmed up with attention exercises with distractions added. After taking a couple of serious looks at the toy being waved in his direction my sweet boy collected his head and got with the stay with mom program.

We worked on tuck sits and kick back stands along with front to back/flat drops. I think we will make a platform to help Javvy know how to hold a good sit. When I get it done I will add pictures and explain how to make it.

We also worked on heads up heeling and now are doing better with keeping him in position and moving at the same time. We got up to five steps before stopping. The emphasis is on telling him yes and rewarding him before he thinks about looking away. Once he really understands that that is the purpose of the exercise we can offer an oopsie for a correction, but until he knows what is right there isn't much point in trying to tell him he is wrong.

We introduced a new exercise that Deb calls spin back which will be an important part of a good retrieve. We put a visible treat on a target and marked Javelin to see the treat. Once he held his look at the target we released him to take the treat. Right after he picks it up we put another treat right in front of his nose as I move away from him. The purpose is to be able to send him to the dumbbell, a glove or the article pile and have him take/find what he is supposed to get and immediately look to come back to me. This will take a while to get organized, but I wish I had known this exercise when I was starting retrieve work with Lily!
 
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