March 7, 2018 – Training Log

Today we worked on lots of toy stuff!

Perrin and I just worked on playing. This is the dog who didn’t like toys a year and a half ago! His tug is awesome, but his retrieve has actually gotten worse. I will take this though, because he likes the toy enough that he isn’t sure whether he wants to bring it back to me. Before, he was just doing a trained retrieve. This is a minor issue I am okay working through! Especially because it only pops up with his favourite toys and not with our regular retrieve items.

Sei and I did some more working on the hoop outside, and some more working on downs in high arousal states with toys for our herding class. This is something he and I struggle with, mainly because my toy skills are so bad.

Our third try of the day was much better!

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March 5, 2018 – Training Log

Went for a walk around a few blocks with Sei. Just as frustrating as ever. It really brings out an unpleasant side of me; Counting down to the FDSA loose leash walking course!

Sei did a wee bit of being shaped to go through the hoop again, then played a similar game outside with toys.

I did some disc/fetch with Perrin, and he is so excited to play, with a reliable retrieve! Apparently all that work spent on toys is starting to shine through now that Perrin has a little brother to be jealous of! Haha.

Perrin and Sei did some platform work after dinner. Perrin is super enthusiastic about it, meanwhile Sei thought that offering rebounds was way more fun than fronts. We will need to work on a lot of standing still down the line!

 

March 4, 2018 Training Log

Today was a pretty laid back day. I made our platforms for TEAM last week, but only got around to putting the non-skid caulking on the bottoms this morning. While I had it out, I got some of our fitness equipment done too:

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Sei and I played some disc in the backyard and I introduced Sei to a hula hoop and going through it. Perrin worked on his platform work for a bit, and started foot targeting a push light. He eventually put all of his weight on it and cracked it, so we may have to keep thinking on what to use for the ‘paw target’ portion of the trick dog champion requirements.

February 28, 2018 – Training Log

No video today, but we worked on some of the TEAM exercises. I got my platforms made for both dogs (platform for both Sei and Perrin as well as a disc for Sei). This time I took an mdf shelf, then used contact cement to attach interlocking foam squares to both sides and wrapped the edge in duct tape. In the past I had tried just using the foam squares layered to an appropriate height, but I found that it was not stable and got kicked around a lot. I was hopping by adding the shelf that they would be heavy enough not to flip or slide. I was partly right! They do not flip and are very stable, but when Sei or Perrin goes to get off of them, they skid across the floor. I am hoping adding some squiggles of caulking to the bottom will resolve this problem.

Sei worked on learning that STANDING on the platform is what pays (not sitting, laying down, spinning or leaping on the platform); that one is going to be a long haul. Perrin worked on getting onto the platform from different angles and with me standing in different places in relation to the platform. When I stand so that the platform is in the right heel position, he has a tendency to drop his near rear foot off the platform consistently (his butt swings slightly in behind me). We will need to build a lot more value for all four feet on the platform before we are ready to go back to that specifically.

Activity Ideas

I am trying to narrow down which activities to work on with both pups, and this is just a huge, high level list of my options and ideas about each for future reference and planning.

Perrin

Tracking – online and local instruction available, hard to practice in my location as there are few appropriate areas that are dog friendly. Not sure if there are any local trialing options.

Nosework- available in my area, lots of training options in person and online. Perrin enjoys it. Have the equipment necessary to start. I don’t really enjoy it and dislike the process/protocols involved with handling scent.

Barnhunt- available in my area, local training available, but a bit of a drive to access. Could acquire the necessary equipment to practice at home, but that involves start up cost I am not sure I want to commit to.  Not something I enjoy overly. Low stress trialing.

Fitness- Just needs to be done to ensure my dog’s safety and quality of life in all activities.

Rally- a myriad of training options, online and in person. Fewer local trialing options, but plenty of online opportunities (which I currently prefer, for my own nerves and for Perrin). More laid back on the details. Online courses do exist that I can set up in the limited space of my back yard. Little to no startup cost (already have signs and training courses for it). Perrin has already started it and has most of the entry level skills individually (at the point of working on chaining a whole course together). Not sure if Perrin enjoys it, or if I have sucked his enthusiasm out by drilling things, moving on too quickly, and getting frustrated.

Obedience- a myriad of training options, online and in person. I already have several online courses on the subject, and Perrin has several of the basic behaviours, but we would have to go back and re teach them. No interest in in-person trialing (registration issues with an intact mixed breed, disagreement with some of the exercises, not an activity that works well with my own weaknesses for perfection and frustration), but TEAM is certainly a viable option.

Freestyle- seems fun, and like Perrin would enjoy it. Online training options available. Trialling options are somewhat limited, but there are a few online venues of different flavours. Could work through a lot of it on my own, but would love to take some more online courses on the subject.

Toy/Play Skills- Do we need these? Should I spend the time on building drive in Perrin for them? Unsure.

Service Dog Tasks- Perrin’s all time favourite activity. I enjoy training them. Win-win. Strictly for fun, no titles to work towards.

Trick Dog Champion Title- Totally within reach, need to clean up some behaviours and train one or two more, but we are close.

Parkour- Perrin enjoys it, easy to train. Online titles available, no training courses necessary. This area is not very dog friendly, so hard to do locally, but I could likely do much of it at the farm.

 

 

Sei

Disc- a given at this point. I need to keep training at a safe level for Sei’s age though. It is easy to get carried away when we are both having so much fun.

Agility- also a given, just trying to decide when to start. Need to buy some equipment to start at home, several in person training options, several online options. Need to pick a handling system, so many choices! May not start even foundations work (even though he is more than old enough to start those now) until next summer due to time and money constraints.

Loose Leash Walking- necessary. Non optional. Hate working on it.

Nosework/Barnhunt: see Perrin’s section above.

Fitness – not optional. Will be required for Sei to remain safe and healthy if we continue onto disc and agility.

Rally/Obedience- see Perrin’s section above. Registration issues not applicable for Sei since he is not a mixed breed. Sei has few/none of the behaviours started, so would be starting right from the beginning. That seems overwhelming to me right now.

Freestyle- see Perrin’s section above. Also seems like it would be great cross training for disc freestyle.

Toy/Play Skills- we NEED these for disc and agility. Willing to spend quite a lot on courses as necessary.

Trick Dog Titles – See Perrin’s section. Same logic applies, just a different title.

Parkour-  see Perrin’s section. Need to wait until he is older for the jumping portions.

Herding – access to stock the limiting factor. Closest trainer I am comfortable with is 3 hours away, so any lessons will be limited to once/2 weeks at best this summer.

Mindset Problems with Goal Setting

I appear to be running into a problem with my goal setting and planning, and it is all in my head.

It seems that I am able to either have fun training with my dogs, dabbling around in whatever seems appealing that day, OR I can work towards goals I have set. If I have a goal I tend to get militant about it, putting so much pressure on both my dogs and myself that it sucks all of the fun out of the process. Training plans turn training into a chore for me, and make me anxious and demanding towards my dogs such that we ‘stay on schedule’. I become unaccommodating and inflexible. I get extremely frustrated with myself and my dogs in a way that I don’t when we are ‘just training for fun’. Generally, I become a trainer  and a person that I do not want to be. This tends to come out when I am working on manners behaviours as well (the dog should ‘know’ this! Except that obviously they shouldn’t, because I haven’t trained it. But I should have trained it if I had my priorities right, and I didn’t and now I am frustrated at my dog when I know it is not their fault but mine. But instead of making a plan and working on it, I sit and be upset with myself. Not a useful behaviour chain). But it is all supposed to be fun! The logic part of my brain understands this, but the rest just can’t seem to follow.

Part of this problem, I think, is compounded by the fact that I just can’t seem to narrow down my focus with my dogs and decide what sports/activities to focus on. Then I get overwhelmed by ‘needing’ to do ALL THE THINGS by next week.

So shouldn’t I just be able to do the things we find fun? Rally today, mimicry tomorrow, disc tricks next week. There is nothing inherently wrong with just chasing butterflies and having a good time with my dogs after all. Except that this is another thing the logic side understands, but the rest of my brain can’t get behind. If we aren’t working towards some concrete achievement or performance, I have trouble seeing the point and following through. Even though I understand that ‘the point’ is to have a mutually enjoyable time with my best friends.

My mindset is very poor. I need to pick a goal and stick with it, and be able to find that process enjoyable. I need to be able to make a plan, but be happy to change and adapt it to where my dogs and I are right now. I need to decide on something to work on and not get distracted by all the other activities that we ‘should’ be working on too. This is what I would like to see, I’m just not sure I have the tools yet to get myself there.

February 16/17 2018 – Training Log

The last two days have been all about backstalls and nosework!

With the backstalls, the tricky part was figuring out how to reward in position with only one person! I started with cookies, but trying to reward over my head was unwieldy and I was ending up with Sei jumping onto my back and then immediately jumping off to get his reward. Then I got out the syringe of peanut butter, and that worked awesome! I started with me on my hands and knees to provide a more stable platform, a lower jump height and more margin of error. Today we started on me standing, but we need a lot of work there. Sei and I both need more core strength to do this! With me standing, I was trying to lower myself down so that Sei had a much lower height to be jumping off of, but our timing didn’t always work. Things progressed quickly from there.

Here are the highlights:

 

Nosework has continued for both dogs, with more of locating the hot box in a room. Perrin has the better search, while Sei has a stronger alert, but both dogs are doing really well! We will soon move on to the beginning of the container search.

 

February 11, 2018 Training Log

For the past week, we have been working on Nosework. My husband is working with Perrin, and Sei and I are following along to provide any help that may be requested. We are all working through the beginner nosework class at FDSA.

We spent the early part of the week imprinting on the wintergreen oil, and have now gotten started putting a vented box with the scent in various parts of different rooms for them to find. Here is each dog’s first search:

 

Sei and I also worked on some homework for our herding foundations class. In this specific case, it was adding a hand signal to our existing down. He did really well for his first session, catching on to the hand signal after only 3 pairings with the verbal.