Dog-est August – Training Log – August 1, 2018

Whoohoo! My tunnel came today!



Today Sei and I did a few different things. We did a bit of shaping practice, wraps, play, and explored the new tunnel! I am going to skip the video of the shaping practice, just because it is long and not terribly useful for me to review later. We didn’t work on shaping anything in particular, just practiced offering a variety of behaviours without frustration. It went pretty well!

The wraps are coming along. Nothing terribly notable here, other than the fact that there is a dead squirrel on the lawn behind where we are working. Sei is eagerly working for (and bringing back!) a boring old tennis ball, running past it several times on his way back. Sei thinks dead things are the best treat ever. This made a big impression on me regarding Sei’s inability to work with me in new places. It really cements my suspicion that it is based in concern/uncertainty in the environment rather than distraction. There is never a bigger distraction than a dead squirrel, and when we leave the house, I have WAY better things to offer than a single tennis ball. It was also really windy out, my tripod even blew over at one point!

I took some baseline videos of play, both in the house and outside, for our FDSA Bogeyman course. Sei does play with me when I am on the ground, which is a big step forwards! He used to only play with me if I were running/chasing. There are a few things I would like to refine for use in making Sei more comfortable in new places: 1. This sort of play doesn’t work well on leash, and 2. the biting!. I don’t mind some mouthing, but this is a little too much for me.

Finally, I introduced Sei to the tunnel. I didn’t really go out with a plan, I just wanted to see how Sei felt about it. The last time he saw a tunnel, he was terrified of it. Turns out he is fine with it now! I didn’t make the smartest training choices here because of my lack of a plan, but Sei isn’t scared of it, so we are on track to start with an organized approach tomorrow!


We didn’t work on TEAM today, rather doing some shaping and tunnels. I love shaping with Perrin. He is so enthusiastic. This is us working on two sessions of roll over:

Perrin also loves tunnels. Not so much straight ones (they are boring), but even they are better than no tunnels. He is happy to run tunnels just for the joy of it. I tried throwing a ball for him, but he thought that was stupid. Apparently my ‘tunnel bags’ double as water bowls.


Chance did great with the muzzle today! He was extremely enthusiastic about the whole thing! He was shoving his face into the muzzle so hard that I could barely keep his head where I needed it to manipulate the straps. I got the strap done up loosely today and Chance tolerated it extremely well. He was a bit obsessed with a tiny scrap of hot dog that I dropped on the ground, but that mostly kept him unconcerned about the muzzle on his face.


Today I tested out to see if Dex knew a down verbal. He doesn’t really, but someone has worked on some sort of hand signal with him before, because he knew that to some extent. So I started the beginnings of adding a verbal to it.


November 4, 2017 – Training Log

Today Sei and I worked on some more basic shaping things. The start of leg weaves, go arounds, going into his crate. Outside we worked on some disc as we had a brief reprieve from the rain. We worked on Sei going around the back of me to set up for another disc throw, and he did great! My roller throws need to get a lot better though. Unfortunately it will be the last day for a while. Even today the yard was a bit too slick and we are going to get even more rain

Perrin and I worked on some heeling basics. He was SO enthusiastic today, I wish I had it on video.

Neither of the dog’s sessions were planned, and for that reason, not much concrete progress was made, but we all had fun and some energy was burned. I do need to get better at planning before I train though.

I need to just pick a couple of small things and work on them. Trying to come up with a whole training plan is overwhelming and feels really restrictive (even though I can just change it at any time). I’m thinking small steps will breed better habits.

November 3, 2017 Training Log

No video today.

Today when I got home for class I got a bag of hot dogs, a clicker and went to the basement to do some training. We relocated the wire crate to the basement, so its easier to work with Perrin because Sei now isn’t able to do his best to destroy the soft crate.

Perrin and Sei both worked on backing up. For Sei, this was mostly just rear foot targeting. Perrin’s current back up is not continuous and he won’t go very far so I am reteaching it with the platform. It was originally taught with body pressure. Sei also worked on shaping going into his crate, and a bit of unstable front platform fitness work.

October 1st, 2017 Training Log

Perrin and I did our TEAM1 baseline run-through today. We did it completely cold: first training of the day, no working on any of the skills today (in fact most of the skills we haven’t practiced specifically in months, with the exception of the nosework, cone wrap and vertical target).  It was a bit of a mess on all fronts.

Technical Issues:

  • Area is too small
  • One of my cookie throws takes Perrin out of frame
  • Can’t see the corner where I set up the cone/target/distraction bowl
  • Over time (over 7 mins)

Handler Mistakes:

  • I forgot to put my reinforcers in my pocket before I began.
  • I did not plan out where to put the pivot platform. Once I stood next to the platform, Perrin did not have room between the platform to move
  • On the ‘find heel’ exercise, I couldn’t manage to throw the cookies in the right order/direction then ended up doing an extra one just to test the skill. I messed up the first exercise, so figured I would spend the rest of the baseline video seeing what he knew even if that violated the rules. Part of that is because I didn’t know how to handle a mistake and keep filming. Normally I would stop and re-set/re work on the skill, but I wanted an honest baseline from start to finish.
  • Moved my body to help a crooked ‘find heel’. I also should have cued my ‘find heels’ because it is a skill that is actually on cue.

Training Problems:

  • Holy crooked fronts batman! We haven’t done fronts in a LONG time (also the cause of the lack of an auto sit on the fronts). Maybe I should use a platform to help clean these up a bit.
  • Target the target stick, don’t retrieve it.
  • He kept getting distracted by Sei barking outside wanting in. Focus to be worked on. Probably could have helped the situation by using a better reinforcer than basic kibble.
  • Work on position changes at a distance. This one surprised me, because we had worked a lot on this in the past at much greater distances. However I have noticed Perrin’s ‘sit’ cue has gotten generally bad lately in so many contexts that I want to rule out a medical issue.
  • Need a better set up for ‘back up’. Once he understood what I actually wanted to do, he did surprisingly well, but he was confused before that.
  • Not sure what he was waiting for on the return of the cone wrap. We had been practicing this with an around finish to heel. Maybe he was waiting on my hand signal for that? Not sure.
  • Nosework took a long time, but was correct.

And more, but I felt that I picked at the video enough for the time being.

In terms of good notes, his engagement at the beginning was lovely, the stay under distraction was solid, he backed up better than I thought he would, and his pivot was nice.

There was a definite drop in enthusiasm from start to finish. I think there are several contributing factors to that. I’m not normally so formal/quiet and I think that was throwing Perrin off. I didn’t plan how to reset mistakes to keep enthusiasm, and failed to come up with a good solution on the spot. That is not a typical training session set up for us, and to make that even worse, we have mostly been doing shaping lately which makes this set up even stranger. I don’t think my reinforcers were worth that length of work that is not shaping (Perrin’s favourite) just yet. He is also headed to the vet tomorrow for a nasty hot spot in a spot I can’t get the hair out of well enough. I hope that hot spot isn’t bothering him enough to be the reason for that.

Lots to work on anyway!

Sei worked on loose leash walking, downs, sits, spins, I introduced the pivot platform and ended up accidently working on the beginnings of muzzle training (‘put your face in something’). Only the last one is caught on tape, because apparently some days I am rather technically challenged (forgot to press record on the camera).

September 29th, 2017 Training Log


Today before I left for class, I worked on nose targeting a target stick with both dogs. This particular target stick came with the Manners Minder and has a base that makes it into a verticle target (although I may stick it into something else, because the base is tippy and it throws both dogs off after an enthusiastic nose touch).

Perrin understood immediately that the game was about the target stick, and that it involved his face. The only problem is that he thought that he should take it, rather than touch it with his nose. We had to step backwards from where I thought we could start, to clean up the nose touching. I want nose touches of the foam target only. No grabbing the stick, no biting the foam ball, no licking. Once I clear up that understanding, I think the rest of the training (adding it to the base, moving the base around, adding distance, adding a cue) will likely progress more smoothly as Perrin is fairly familiar with those things. Well, other than adding a cue. I never assume that will go well. (NOTE TO SELF: check TEAM rules to see if I can set up the target stick when I need it. Then I can just use the context cue of the target stick being in the training space for the time being).

Sei picked up the nose targeting super duper fast. He has a very limited repertoire of behaviours at the moment, none of which has a huge reinforcement history behind it. However nose touches with my hand have one of the stronger histories (second only to sitting). His first guess on what to do with the target stick was to nose touch it, and he was quickly following the stick around to new positions to touch it. Good start!

September 28th, 2017 Training Log


Today we did a few more key retrieves. I didn’t hide them under anything today, but we moved into the kitchen. He also practiced some basic stays with Sei.

I also went through TEAM1 requirements to see what holes/skills I need to work on with Perrin to put the whole performance together.

  • Vertical Target: I have taught a general nose touch, and he will foot target just about anything as a first shaping attempt, but nothing vertical. I think I will take the vertical target from the Manners Minder and work on putting a vertical target behaviour on cue
  • Backing Up: Perrin knows how to back up but he does it in fits and starts rather than cleanly if he is backing away from me rather than in heel position. I will likely have to re-teach it to get it clean enough.
  • Sends: Another thing that he knows, but just is not as clean as I would like it.  I think that my cue is bad, because he offers it beautifully if I set a cone down to shape with it, but he is slow and unenthusiastic if I cue it. I will have to refine this one a bit.

Other than those, I think the behaviours are solid. That does not mean it will be easy to get it all together into the videos. It will require many takes. I will screw up. Perrin will screw up. Sei will cry too loud to hear me in the video. This will likely be a winter project. Maybe this weekend I will do a mock run through to establish a baseline.


The boring basics were the name of the game today. Discriminating between ‘sit’ and ‘spin’. Sits. Sit stays. Adding a cue to a down when I could capture it. We did a little shaping for targeting a platform, which he did great with! He just seems to understand shaping now in a way that he did not before. He is much more intentional in his movements, and you can see the wheels turn in his head; he is starting to actually understand how the game works.

September 13, 2017 Training Log

We had a ‘life skills’ training highlight today! Sei was unsure of big dogs barking in his basic obedience class. So every time that Perrin barks at home, I mark it and we run to the fridge to get a cookie. Today, I was sitting inside at the table watching Sei sniff around the back yard when Perrin started barking at the garbage truck at the other end of the house. Sei perked right up, focused on me, and bolted to me. We had a party and went to the fridge to get cookies. (And Perrin quit barking and came and joined us). Awesome!

In line with the goals I wrote about yesterday, here is my first step towards them:


I went back into my FDSA library, and pulled up the shaping lectures. I started right back at the begining with just clicking for any motion that was no sitting and staring at me.

This was my plan:

  • Throw treat to get Sei started
  • Once Sei is done chewing, click for any motion
  • Repeat

Here is the unedited video of our progress on that today:

Wow, that was really hard! Sei is not obvious about when he is done chewing and I have a hard time watching ‘all’ of him for the next movement. And he is so little and fast! Lots of improvement to be made on my end here.


Today I went though our parkour footage and identified behaviours I had no footage of at all. For today that was ‘In’ and a sequence with three obstacles.


He looks so happy! My sweet puff. Tomorrow I will see what manoeuvres I have recorded, but may need to be re-done.


July 22nd, 2017 Training Log

Today started out with a walk in the park. The other half and I took both dogs for a quick walk, then worked on some attention and focus with both dogs. It is definitely going to be a very long time before I can take both dogs out together on my own. I don’t want Sei picking up some of Perrin’s bad habits, and its really hard to manage both of the individual needs at the same time. I guess that means more exercise for me! (And I need it).

Perrin has been missing his own work, so I finally got back on track with that. As the drum room was being set up, a bass drum mysteriously found its way into the dog training space, so I decided that would be a fun trick for Perrin. He is so fun to shape with, here is the whole process from the very start to the first success:

I especially love where he tries to see if a rear foot target is what we are trying. So cute.

Today’s trick for Sei has been learning some basic free stacking. I tried to take some pictures of him last night for tracking purposes as he grows, and it was a bit of a mess. I was working the camera while Sei was being lured by my husband. Sei didn’t know what he was supposed to be doing, but was happy to be getting peanut butter. So, back to shaping for next week’s photos. I am working through Puppy Culture’s Killer Free Stacks for this and we have done three little sessions today. I clearly need to go back and watch it, because I am getting a lot of sitting (something he has been heavily reinforced for). My first reaction to this was to throw a reset cookie to get him standing again, but I’m not seeing improvement in the amount of sitting I am getting. I need to go back and re-watch the video to see what step I am missing. I likely just need to reward him for standing, before pulling the food away and expecting him to hold the stand for a split second. This evening he did better when I was standing rather than sitting, so that will help moving forward as well.

Today was also the sign up period at FDSA, and I have decided to take my very first training focused class at gold! It is called Crucial Concepts of Competition, and I am very excited to improve my own skills.

July 20th, 2017 Training Log

I forgot to charge my camera, so none of today’s work was recorded.

Today we worked on more of the same (name games, nose touches, collar shaping, mat work, etc), but took it outside onto the porch and into the yard. I want the back yard to be a training space, so I need to get working on that. The collar game is really coming along. I have brought the diameter of the collar down to about the size that a martingale collar for Sei would be, so thats about as small as we need to go. He is starting to shove his head in, or rest his chin on it and push down (his expression says “Just give me the cookie, damn it!”).

Today we also worked on body handling/husbandry things. We started making the nail clippers a good thing by C/T every time the clippers touched one of his nails. Through the three sessions we did today, I even managed to get two clipped. I will condition foot handling separately, and I did not touch Sei’s feet at all during today’s work. I have been clipping his nails while he sleeps, which has been working for now, but I want to set him up for good things when he is bigger.

Along the same line, we also worked on associating the brush with tasty food. Sei seems to have a natural dislike for the brush, so we are going much slower on this one. Brush nears side: C/T, brush touches side: C/T. That is about as far as we got today in two sessions. I actually have to put Sei away (or wait until he is sleeping) to brush Perrin, otherwise the brush is a fun chase to that must be attacked. Perrin doesn’t appreciate that much.

The flirt pole came out again today. It is definitely Sei’s favourite thing so far. The family crack eyes come out, but his arousal level seems to be staying at a good level and he maintains self control around it. I will be keeping an eye on that as he gets older to see if that toy needs to have a vacation. Sei and Perrin got separate sessions with the flirt pole, because they play so differently with it (well, that and because Perrin is 5x Sei’s size).

July 18th Training Log

No overwhelming amounts of videos today! Today we did more ‘life skills’ things instead. Name game/recall foundations continue. Sei is really starting to respond to his name well! He knows it!

We did a few short on leash walks up to the next street and back that went really well. No balking at all on the first one! It helps that I found out that garlic cream cheese is indeed more interesting than sniffing the pavement, and that Sei can lick cream cheese off of a lid and walk at the same time, which is a very good thing to know (chewing a kibble or piece of cheese while walking is too hard just quite yet). I’m getting more leaning into the harness (I’m using a non-restrictive back-attach harness at the moment), but I’m good with that for now. Loose leash walking can be added later with collar yielding, but for now I just need him to be able to be on a leash happily so that we can go places.

Play continues, Perrin is really getting into things, and Sei continues to love chasing things. The snuffle mat has been a great hit with both of them too.

We also did our first session of mat work with Sei today, which he did awesome on!


Perrin does pretty well keeping his nose out of things given how close he insists on being, but its getting to the point that I’m going to have to start separating them for individual training sessions. Not sure how I’m going to do that yet, as Sei isn’t the world’s largest fan of a crate just yet, and we are working on that separately.

I worked on some rally skills with Perrin in the back yard, and found out that I need to work more on just working in the back yard. He wasn’t super engaged in that space, after being pretty pushy about wanting to work while in the house. It didn’t help that it was super hot out, and Perrin just wilts in the heat. We will try again on some individual skills when its cooler out.