A nosework session so bad, that I can’t even bring myself to post it here. We did nosework yesterday in an ‘interiors’ type context, and both dogs rocked it! So it seems they understand the scent part. Containers are our nemesis. I know this, so I tried to make it easier by putting food in the container. The result? A container retrieving, box destroying extravaganza! 3/3 containers broken, and no indication that either dog knows the goal of the exercise. Gah! I definitely need to work with some non-retrievable, non-smashable containers that are no fun to put in their mouths and chew on, bricks with holes in them would work! I am also seriously considering teaching HD with canning lids to start everything clean from the beginning. NW is by far our weakest TEAM exercise.
To end on a good note (for the human, this handler needs a high ROR), we tried some Find Heel without a platform. Baby dog had never tried this, and he did really well! Better than could even be hoped for considering we have only done ~5 sessions of find heel with a platform and ~3 of pivots. Lots to clean up, but I am happy that this is our starting point. I love the enthusiasm from both of them! (Even if it means getting repeatedly shoulder checked by Perrin )
I often get flustered when mistakes happen. I am happy with my problem solving here. I helped Sei where he needed it, preserved his enthusiasm, and got where we wanted to go!
No formal training today for anyone! It is rainy and gross out, and we all just spent some time splashing in puddles and cuddling when they dried out. My boys did a little bit of free shaping before dinner, and the bonus dogs both sampled a few strips of steak through a muzzle, but that is pretty much it.
I decided to take Hannah Branigan’s Set it and Forget it webinar/virtual seminar, and I think I will spend most of my blog writing energy brainstorming some ideas for applications of those concepts in my training sessions.
More pivots and platforms! These are looking really nice. Next up, trying to put the first three or four exercises together with the proper mechanics.
Perrin’s title approval came back telling us that we passed level 1 of his 4-on Specialist! That makes his alphabet soup: Perrin ETD GPS-B PKD-N PKD1-FF. Now to find 15 more objects that fit the categories to jump onto for level 2!
More pivots and platforms for Sei too! He is doing really really well with these. Some cleaning up to do with those back feet on the pivot, but I am blown away with his understanding of the exercise after only 2 days. Those pivots into heel position are especially nice. Just got to decide about the sit vs stand debate for heel, I like the sits for the fronts.
We gave the first 5 exercises a try! I used way more reinforcement than is allowed (and kept it in my hand due to a lack of pockets), but I was just wanting to get a feel for how the flow felt with Sei, and how he felt about switching from exercise to exercise. It went really really well! I pushed ahead to try the position change exercise, even though he was already in a sit (down to sit is a hard transition for him, and we have not practiced it much). He did alright! Needed a hand signal to support the verbal, so some work to do there, but the understanding exists, which is lovely! He nailed the backing up too.
Chance and Dex
No video for these boys today. I did my guys’ video in the morning, and by the afternoon a nasty storm had blown in and made the internet very unstable; not suitable for uploading video on a slow connection!
Dex did some practice on using nose touches to reposition him, and Chance did more muzzle work.
Today we worked on our pivot for TEAM. I didn’t have his regular platform, so I had to get creative. This is one of the TEAM exercises that we struggle with the most. Perrin is often delayed in his pivot: I move, then he moves a second later. So today I focused on going back and moving less, and rewarding for a smaller amount of motion. I had some hiccups in inconsistent criteria and pushing the limits a bit, but his pivots at the end of the session were much much better than the ones at the beginning!
I also decided to try some pivots with Sei. He has never any type of pivoting work before, and while he has done front foot targeting, he is scared of metallic noises. I figured that he was going to be quite uncertain about that pot, so I was just planning on shaping a step up onto the pot. In true Sei form, he decided to prove me wrong. He showed no concern at all about the pot, so I thought I would try a little pocket hand, but he found that offensive. When I just let him try for himself, he just started pivoting like a champ. I have no explanation for this, other than he must have learned from watching Perrin. (Also noted: Don’t pet him while working! He doesn’t like that!)
We also worked a little bit on finding front, and finding heel with Perrin’s platform. It is a little long for Sei, but not terrible width wise. We have been shaping the ‘get onto the platform’ behaviour for a few days, and today I decided to try adding in my body positioning. It went pretty well! (Another advantage to a tailed Aussie: you have a built-in ‘straight’ indicator, haha!). I will have to decide whether I want stands or sits. Perrin definitely works better with stands (sits are a lot of work for him and sap his enthusiasm really quickly), but I think sits may work better for Sei. He does them naturally in fronts, but not in heels. I don’t want an auto sit for Rally Free, but you can give extra cues there to indicate a stand. I’m not sure if I have to use the same position for both front and heel (I know that you have to be consistant within the same exercise), I will have to double check the rules. I have some flexibility here, because TEAM allows for either to make it adaptable to different obedience organizations/types around the world, Perrin is not allowed to compete in obedience here, and I have no plans on doing so with Sei.
We also did some agility/disc training/playing for fun.
More muzzle work! We are still trouble shooting the looking up part. We had some limited success today pairing the chin rest from before with PB, which can be more precisely delivered. He really doesn’t want to tilt his head up though, and I think I am going to watch him in life for a while and see if it is something he does naturally or not.
Dex crashed the muzzle work party, so he got to try too. There was PB, so he was happy. CC the straps was easy when paired with ear scritches!
I have not been posting, but we have still been working on things! The video taking, management and editing was just too much. I just wanted to record an absolutely groundbreaking outing that Sei and I had.
Sei struggles greatly to feel comfortable in new places. I decided to try to see how he felt about an empty sports field complex near the farm. No people, no dogs, a road with some noise in the distance, and the sound (but no sight) of children playing in the distance. I hoped that this would be a perfect step up in difficulty from the backroads around the farm. We did about 15 minutes of wandering around and sniffing on a 6ft leash. Sei was in his standard ‘new place nose glued to ground’ mode. Took the odd cookie here and there, but not consistently. Did a bit of the ‘go out to the end of the leash, stare out into the distance and whine’ thing. He eventually started doing really well at keeping the leash loose as we wandered around (I don’t really care about being in the right position in these circumstances, I just don’t want to get dragged around). This was pretty consistant with Sei’s current comfort level in new places.
After 15ish minutes, we went back to the car and grabbed my longline and some discs. I really didn’t figure he would play, but thought I would confirm it. He likes to prove me wrong if nothing else 😉 He wanted to play! A lot! I even dropped the long line (which definitely makes me nervous, even in fairly safe places like this). We only played for a minute or two because I wanted to make sure to end before he was done. I didn’t intend to take video, so this was taken with my phone stuffed in a tree. The quality reflects that.
Then, THEN, when I just sat down in the grass with the intention of letting him wander and sniff on the longline, he came over and demanded cheese. I figured that if he wanted it as badly as he was indicating, he could probably do a few low level tricks for it. I stood up to move away from the tree, and he starts heeling! Did I mention that we have never worked on heeling? We did a few more things, no planning, because I never expected this. Sei has NEVER wanted to work in a new place before. Not once. And this was high quality stuff! I couldn’t believe it.
These stills, as terrible as the picture quality may be, make my heart happy. Look how happy he is!
And Sei’s first time jumping off of the dock! Look at him go! He was so scared of it before.
It was also puppy torture day (aka grooming day). Sei doesn’t like being brushed at all, so we are still working at CC the brush. Today he even let me work on his tail a little bit for the first time! Some PB smeared on the tile got his nails done without any hassle on either side.
Perrin loved getting brushed out, and tolerated having his nails done.
Chance also participated in grooming day. He got a good brush out and we worked on his nails a bit. He will allow them to be done, but I am trying to make it a better experience, so we didn’t do too many.
Dex got brushed out only. We did do a tiny bit of CC at the sight of the clippers, but that was as far as we got with nails.
We got a nice backup today! Another one in the files for submission.
Sei rocked this creativity exercise! (Is his wagging tail throwing off his balance? ❤ )
And the through!
A good, usable 4-on for something.
I could use this one for the metal, narrow, or slippery categories for Perrin’s 4-on specialty.
We did use this obstacle yesterday, but I didn’t like my hand motions, so we re-took it. This one is perfect. It could be used for metal,
Another useable 4 on for either the specialty or his intermediate.
More muzzle and nosework stuff! Nosework went fine. I need to get my act together before we work on it though, the process is not right at all! Chance got a sniff of wintergreen and ate some hot dogs though, so that is a step in the right direction!
The muzzle work has stalled out lately, so I tried something new. Because we have done so much work with having the cookies down, either on my legs or on the floor, Chance keeps smushing his face down looking for cookies with the muzzle on. I can’t lure his face up, and then he soon finds the muzzle uncomfortable because he is forcing his face into the floor. Today we tried a chin rest and just stuffed cookies into his face. Then did some ‘airplane cookies’ to try to keep his attention up. We will see if this gets us out of the rut we are in.
Dex is kind of the highlight of my day! We have kind of settled into a routine of playing everyday. Today we did personal play, with hand touches and lured spins. It is nice to just play with no worries about goals, training plans, or video.
Turns out that Sei is a tunnel fanatic first thing in the morning before it has gotten hot out! So we did that first thing.
Sei went to his first farmers market! Well not really, we went to the parking lot and soccer field next to the farmers market. So there was an empty parking lot, and a soccer field between my car and the market. The field and the second parking lot was empty and we had as much space as we needed. The location in the photo is the closest we ventured. Highlights included eating PB and hot dog bits reliably, doing a few nose touches and slow cookies after some acclimation, 300ft of llw back to the car, a little bit of play with a stick that we found, and some name game. Only two short lived grumbles over a toddler running around and screaming in the distance, and a guy staring at him from 100ft away.
We also started taking some video for Sei’s parkour. We have to wait until November/December to submit the videos, so we have lots of time. Here is a solid ‘around’.
We did lots of parkour! I would like to get his intermediate title, but I am not so sure about the 45 degree tic-tac. We could definitely get his 4 on specialty though! So, we did some of that and we also did his back up onto an object for an intermediate title. I don’t know if I will use any of these particular 4-ons, because there was a new rule brought in where you can’t reuse a particular obstacle with different dogs, so I have to choose very carefully between Perrin and Sei. Especially with the fact that Perrin can easily do public obstacles, where as Sei cannot. I need to prioritize the farm obstacles for Sei.
More muzzle work!
Dex and I just played again. Threw some spins in and generally made sure he had a good time.