Dog-est August – Training Log – August 5, 2018


I had my Team stuff out, so I worked on the stay with distraction with Sei. Not well thought out, but Sei really isn’t any worse for wear. We also did some tunnel work, but it isn’t on video.


Perrin and I did a Pre-Team run though, and it went really well! I did one, and only one, and Perrin nailed every single exercise. This is an incredibly nice morale boost! Team came out about 2 years ago, and Perrin and I had already started on pretty much every exercise in it, but I have never had the motivation to actually go through, take stock, work on the things that needed work, and then try stringing it together. It is a lot of exercises to get right, not only for the dog, but there are a lot of things that I can do as a handler to ruin a run too. Perrin also struggles with fronts, and that is where we got stalled out last time we tried.

Not having Perrin’s platforms while we are at the farm forced me to work on the other exercises, and we are way closer than I thought we were! That is 6 of 10 exercises that we are pretty solid on! There are definitely some handler errors here that would NQ us (not holding the sit long enough, for example), but those are relatively easy to fix.


More muzzle work. I played around with other positions for doing up the straps. Chance didn’t like that much, so that is information that we need more work on both having the muzzle in different positions, and on CC touching the straps.


More fun with balls!


Dog-est August – Training Log – August 3, 2018


We tried two sessions of tunnels, but it was too hot the first time. This evening’s session was fantastic! It looks really unremarkable on video (especially because I am out of the frame for half of it, oops!) but so many little things came together here:

Good Planning: I am working my way through the Silvia Trkman foundations DVD, with some of the ShapeUp course work thrown in where it makes sense. Right now in both courses, collar restraints are used for the beginnings of tunnel sends. Sei is rather uncomfortable with collar grabs, so I decided to use ‘middle’ to set him up for the tunnel instead. I tested this once or twice yesterday and Sei had trouble with the middle, so today I decided to use food to reward the middle in addition to the ball to reward the tunnel.

Marker Systems/Reinforcer Choice: Sei was able to flawlessly work for both food and toys here. No conflict!

Toy Skills: Sei was able to work for a toy, and bring it back! We are only able to do this with discs or a tennis ball right now, tugs are still a work in progress, but if we didn’t have that skill it would make this exercise really hard!

Good Judgement: I was able to make some progress on adding distance, but added it at the right rate so that Sei continued to be successful. I stopped the session while Sei was still ready to continue (not too tired or mentally done) and didn’t fall prey to the ‘just one more’ syndrome.


Today Perrin and I tested where we are at with the send over jump exercise from TEAM1. I was working on a straight send, and it turns out that I don’t have to. In TEAM1 you are allowed to run with the dog (and Perrin does a jump just fine if I run with him), and in TEAM2, you can choose to stand with the dog, at the side of the jump, or on the other side of the jump. Perrin will work his fluffy tail off over a jump I am standing on the opposite side of. So, I was making this much harder than it needed to be! But look at Perrin work for a toy instead of food!

(Also, look at Sei staying with the treat n train while I TUG with Perrin! Holy crap! Good dog!)


The muzzle training continues. Chance is doing really well. I messed up a bit today when Chance had the muzzle on. I wanted to move from sitting to standing in order to change the picture slightly, but Dex got in my way and Chance did paw at the muzzle once. I will have to start putting Dex away during Chance’s turn.


Turns out that Dex likes tugs, who knew! We played and lured some spins today. Happy boy.

Dog-est August – Training Log – July 31, 2018


Last night I tried shaping Sei to go around a bucket, and it did not go well. It is a behaviour that I have always struggled to shape, and I don’t quite know why. It is on the list of the ‘very first things to shape’ when people are learning. I have shaped much trickier behaviours easily (with Perrin) but this one has always eluded me.

Sei started the session by repeatedly laying down. Not sure whether it was a ‘I don’t want to do this because it is too hot/too boring/not worth it’ or an offered behaviour. A lot of the shaping we have done recently involves downs, so the latter wouldn’t be surprising. I upped my rate of reinforcement and C/T anything that was not laying down. Any motion, and (tried, my aim isn’t great) to use strategically placed reinforcement. We did get a couple of times around the bucket, but it quickly fell apart. I also felt like he was just chasing the cookie rather than thinking about it (so I was basically luring rather than shaping). Soon Sei was not coming around the front of the bucket, but rather swinging back and forth around the back side. I switched to Perrin (a more experienced shaper who is less easily frustrated and is slower moving. ie easier and more forgiving for me!) and he ended up doing exactly the same thing. So the problem is most certainly me and how I am approaching this! I just haven’t figured out what it is yet. My sessions were also too long, the little kibbles I was using kept getting lost in the carpet, and I didn’t quit when I was getting frustrated. Bad choices all the way around!

Today was no better. I just frustrated both of us. I couldn’t make it happen with Perrin either, not even after he was confidently doing wraps in both directions in a separate exercise. I think it has to do with treat placement, my reinforcement not coming in the right spot to set them up for success for the next rep, and reinforcement coming in the wrong place so that they go around the other way.

I tentatively tried with a toy again, but wasn’t sure if I should because I wasn’t sure if I would keep my frustration from Sei if I frustrated him. It actually went pretty well! I think I can get away without shaping this to get to the behaviour we need, but I would still like to figure out what is going wrong with the shaping. I should do more free shaping with Sei one way or the other.


Today we worked on go around and vertical target. We did try shaping on the go around, it but as mentioned above, that didn’t go well. I re-set up the exercise to see what Perrin remembered, and it turned out that I was right about my suspicion that it was everything but the verbal. We worked on adding the verbal and fading the lure. He struggles more from a sit than a stand.

Perrin used to have a vertical target behaviour, but I broke it! I was using the target stick that came with the treat n train, and somewhere along the way Perrin decided that it was for retrieving rather than touching. I spent some time trying to reteach it from the beginning, but Perrin was so fixated on putting the silly thing in his mouth that we didn’t get very far (also a problem Perrin has in nosework, but he is allowed to retrieve the scent for TEAM, so we are good there). For TEAM, the vertical target can be practically anything, so I figured the easiest way forward would be to reteach the vertical target behaviour with something non-retrievable.

I used a post it note, and worked on shaping it today. He caught on so fast. I love shaping with Perrin! He is just so happy and fun.


Another couple rounds of muzzle work, and here is one of them. I took the sessions outside today to work in a different spot. Dex was not into being left out!


Just and touches and engagement for Dex. Did I ever mention how happy and adorable this dog is? He even offered what looks like the beginnings of sit pretty. Thats neat and all, but cooler is the fact that he offered anything at all! He is catching on to this stuff really fast!

March 17/18/19, 2018-Training Log

Another long road trip weekend! Friday and Saturday, Sei spent at the farm running around, as well as playing disc and ball. Perrin stayed at home with Jake and worked on nosework.

On Sunday, Sei and I went to disc practice, and worked on the same things as last week. Most of the practice was just the humans practicing their throws without dogs.

Today, was an eclectic training day. Sei and Perrin both did some platform work and fitness stuff. Sei did some more LLW foundations and disc. We were working on our toss and fetch in preparation for potentially joining a league in April. We made some really great progress! Sei has been getting me all trained up: between me getting my timing better, practicing the kinds of throws Sei has the easiest time catching, and shortening how far I am throwing, Sei’s catch percentage went WAY up today. Sei makes it really clear when I get things right for him, he tries so hard even when I screw up and sticks with me until we get it right.

March 15, 2018 – Training Log

Today I took Sei’s newest trick outside, and later attempted some loose leash walking foundation things in the house (with little success). Perrin worked on some heelwork. Jake did nosework with both Sei and Perrin.

Sei and I started the arm hoop trick yesterday. He caught on really fast in the house, so I decided to take it to the yard today. That was a lesson and a half! The first time we tried, I took two tennis balls out. Sei considers them lower value toys, but even so, we had arousal issues left right and center. He just couldn’t think. I got jumped all over, rebounded of my arms, face, chest and back. Both of us were pretty frustrated. For the second session I hoped that by taking food outside, but otherwise taking the same trick to the same environment, it would lower Sei’s arousal level a bit while still being a step up from practicing indoors. And it worked for the most part! The video below is the unedited version of that process. You can get a taste for how crazy he was before at the beginning of the video (but toned down from our first try) however he settled in eventually and we made some really good progress!

March 9/10/11, 2018 – Training Log

I was away with Sei for the weekend, so he didn’t get much training other than basic life skills. Perrin worked on nosework with Jake this weekend while they were home together.

On Sunday, Sei and I went to disc, and he absolutely rocked it! Even after being in the car most of the weekend and not sleeping most of the night before. He nailed all the tricks he knows just like we were at home, made some really great catches on long throws despite my inability to throw, and was just an all round sunshiny ray of enthusiasm. Once we got home, Perrin and Sei did a few rounds of nosework each.

Today, I worked on toy skills with Perrin: adding basic work into play for the first time. Mainly sits/stays/release to tug. He worked really nicely, and was still enthusiastically interested in the tug after 5 or so minutes of playing that game. We are definitely making progress there!

Sei and I worked some more jumping through the hoop, but I used a tug this time instead of a thrown toy. The change in how reinforcement was delivered definitely seemed to change the picture a bit for Sei. He was more focused on the game we were playing rather than racing around with the toy. I am starting to get more comfortable on how to use toys to reinforce work, but I am a long way off from proficiency yet!

I also noticed how differently Sei and Perrin need me to play tug with them. Perrin doesn’t get into tug much until I really start pulling back actively on the tug, especially if I am facing him head on. If I played that way with Sei, he would let go and run off. Sei prefers to win more, to ‘drag’ me backwards by the toy and to get to keep it.

My canine fitness equipment arrived today, so I was able to get the basement set up. It will be a week or so until I can get the inflatables filled up to their proper sizes (the pump that has the appropriate fitting is not very powerful, so they need to rest between fillings before I can add more air). Then I can start getting Perrin and Sei’s (and my last!) case studies started.

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:

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.

March 1, 2018 Training Log

Today we worked on disc with both dogs (!), and Sei and I also worked on some work for our herding foundations class.

Perrin wanted to play disc! What is up with that? I’m not sure, but he had fun! He mainly wants to tug on the discs, but if he wants to play, we can work with this. He is so cute when he wants to play.

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.