We're back at the club training regularly - trying to pick out one or two things to really focus on. In her recent newsletter, Susan Garrett talked about her winter training projects. Susan does agility, but has lots of good information in her posts that applies to obedience training and developing a relationship with your dog that I have really found helpful. Her winter training plan involves picking a new behavior you'd like to teach or a behavior you wish to change and then work at least two, 15 minute sessions a day, five days a week during the winter on that behavior.
So, I'm trying to pick a winter training project for Jackson. My challenge is training twice a day in the winter. Since the weather here is not conducive to training outdoors in the winter, I'm trying to think of a behavior that I can work on in the house. That in itself has some challenges when you have three Great Danes in the house and you need to separate one of them to train : )
I'm narrowing it down to the following:
1) Attention with/without treats and with distractions;
2) Touch (training Jackson to touch my chest at a point that gives him perfect fronts);
3) Pivots; or
4) Finishes to perfect heel position.
He loses a lot of points in the trials because of slow, crooked fronts and sits, so if we can get these fixed, we'll do a lot better in trials. I'll let you know what I end up choosing and how it goes.
Last night in utility class and today at the club we worked on articles. No problem with these in practice. No circling - even with distractions of other dogs working in the ring. I obviously need to take this on the road - go to new places with distractions, like the local pet store where he gets really distracted just walking through the store. I want to start going there once a week just to do articles somewhere in the store. And, we have some fun matches coming up locally this next month, so these will be good opportunities to train in a more trial-like setting.