Wednesday, December 30, 2009

rope.. coat.. what's the difference?

Redders says he's confused - they sound the same!

Maybe we should work on word recognition, lol

(facebook people, view the video here:

Training in the garage

We haven't done much training in awhile, and I got the bug to get back to work and really practice the Open exercises.

Everything has been going pretty well except the retrieve over jump. He doesn't understand he's supposed to come back over the jump on the retrieve yet. I think once the light bulb goes on, it will be easier - its just getting to that point.

The problem is that I can't set up jumps in the yard because of the snow, and the driveway is completely iced over. So I figured we'd do it in the garage. James is at work so his truck is gone. I put the jump in between the work bench and the front of my car, so there was no way around the jump - he HAS to go over it.

Another thing I wanted to start working on was toy/tug rewards instead of food. So I bought a new tug to start using. From the videos I've seen, the handler always holds the tug - never letting go to let the dog have it. In the past, I'd give Red somethin to tug, then let go and let him play-shake it. But I think holding onto it is better so its MY toy and I'm only letting him tug on it - which builds drive to want it.

Anyway, we started out with some heeling. Then we did the flat retrieve. I've been throwing the dumbbell once and then going to get it, and then sending him on the second throw. Hopefully this will help stop is anticipation to get it on the first throw. I hate throwing the dumbbell on the cement garage floor though... it sounds like the dumbbell's going to snap in half. So I softly tossed/slid it instead. I should get some sort of mat to use or something. The retrieve was nice except his came in crooked to the front. Those damn crooked fronts!! It might've been because I had the tug/treats on the work bench behind me and he was trying to angle himself to see them. I'll have to move them next time. But he never dropped it and held it nicely.

Then we did the retrieve over jump. Again, I tried not to throw it too hard and break it on the cement floor. I sent him with the "over" command, he went over the jump, grabbed the db, and came right back over without the slightest hesitation. I didn't even wait for him to front before I released and threw a party for him. We only did it once, then did some high-drive heeling, then released to be done.

He LOVES that tug. Toward the end, I had a hard time getting him to "out". I think its going to be easy to transition him onto the tug instead of food. A very productive session today!

- Continue building drive with the tug
- Wean out food rewards
- Work on straight fronts on the flat retrieve
- Work toward getting a return jump on the retrieve over jump
- Get the broad jump out and work on the "over" command without hand cues
- See about putting down a runner or something in the garage to throw the dumbbell on

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Helicopter vs. Doberman

James got a little mini helicopter for Christmas... and of course I had the camera handy for its maiden voyage ;)

(for the people on facebook seeing this post who can't see the video - go to this link:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Red Meets Santa

Red met Santa today. At first, all he wanted to do was root around in the candy cane bucket, then in Santa's crotch - at which point I had to drag him off poor violated Santa...

At least the pic came out ok, lol (click to enlarge)


This was at the place where we go for Saturday morning training. Marc has a new building now and had an open house today with Santa pics and contests and prizes. There was a lot of people and dogs! I used the opportunity for some distraction training.

Red ended up winning the "tricks" contest with his hilarious "play dead" routine. He didn't die right away and I had to shake the gun (my hand) at him a few times before he finally keeled completely over and the crowd cheered, LOL

It was fun and I think he enjoyed it too =)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fun Match - Open Obedience

Now that Red has his CD title in Novice Obedience, we've moved onto training for Open. It's so nice to train something different for a change! Novice Obedience is kinda boring imo, so its good to be able to work with jumps and the dumbbell now. Red loves learning new things and is doing pretty well in the short time we've been working on all the new stuff.

Our heel off leash and figure 8 are fine. The retrieve on flat is usually decent except for some unknown reason today he picked up the dumbbell wrong and then dropped it when he came back - which he hasn't done in a long time, so not sure what's up with that.

We've really been working on the drop on recall. I had to change from a verbal command to a hand signal, because for some reason he wouldn't drop fast enough with the command and wanted to get as close as possible to me before going down. The hand signal seems to be working better. We're still at a short distance and I'm working us up to longer.

The retrieve over jump is our hardest exercise. He'll go over the jump to get the dumbbell, but he wants to run around it on the way back. So I did it on-leash for this fun match and ran with him. When training this at home, I'm going to have to find some way to set up a jump with barrier on each side so he doesn't have a choice but to come back over. But I can only do it outside and there's snow on the ground now, so not sure how that's going to work...

The broad jump is the one thing we haven't practiced at all and he did it beautifully today. Go figure, lol

Anyway, here's the video:

The judge commented at the end... "Well he's certainly enthusiastic!" haha yep, no problems there...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Camera Hog

Yesterday James wanted to take some pics of stuff to put on Craigslist but when I got the camera out, Red thought it was for him and kept trying to sit in front of where the camera was pointing. He's SUCH a ham!

"oh hai, wanna take my pic??"


"How bout I pose in front of the tree??" I totally didn't even put him here - he went in front of it, laid down carefully, and cocked his head in a posing way.


He was NOT happy when I pulled Titus into the photo. "Moooomm, he looks like roadkill... he's RUINING my picture!!" *whines*


"The other cat is still behind me, isn't he?" *scowls*


*smugness* "That's right, I'm the star" =)


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Down on Recall

Down on recall had been my focus for the last week or so.

Previous to this, I was just concentrating on getting a fast down in heel position or in front position by command. If I added distance, he would go down in position, but once I added in the motion of the recall, he wanted to get as close to me as possible before actually going down.

So I tried putting a treat down in the middle of the path in the hopes I could down him at the treat and reward, but that didn't work because he knew to avoid the treat since he wasn't given permission to eat it, so he'd step gingerly around it and by that time, had forgotten what exercise we were doing. Fail.

So I stopped doing the treat thing and started stepping into him and pointing down as I said the command, and that seemed to help somewhat, but he was still taking more than a few steps and trying to get close before actually going down. I was making no progress.

Then I decided to do something different - use a hand signal only instead of the verbal - so he'd stop associating the verbal down with being close to me. Change it up completely.

So I started in the living room with him across the room. Put my right arm up and gave the down command, and when he downed, released and reward. Repeat 2 more times. On next attempt, I did hand signal only and he went down - success! End session for now. I repeated this later in the day, but only giving the command with the signal the first time, and the second time just the signal only, and he downed both times - success again! End session. Next time, added in the recall and used the hand signal and command, and he went down! Practiced this a bit and I'm quite happy with the results so far. Living room training going well!

Went to training this past Saturday, and I went further away than we had been doing in the living room. Gave the command and signal, didn't stop so stepped toward him and gave the command again and he went down. Tried it a second time and it was better - though he took extra steps.

Tried it again tonigh with some yummy extra-crispy leftover bacon from dinner. Went across the room, gave the signal only and he went down - yay bacon! Set him back up, went across the room, called for recall, gave the command and he hit the floor immediately!! woo hoo bacon! Ended on a super happy note and played for a bit.

Hopefully I can continue working him this way and he'll have it down.

Next have to work on the retrieve over jump... he'll go over the jump on the way to the dumbbell but wants to run around it on the way back...