Friday, February 12, 2010


One of the side effects of this unseasonably cold and snowy winter is that I've started doing more training in the house. I had previously thought it too much of a challenge to try to train with three Great Danes in a not-so-big house. However, after trying it a few times, I have found that - with the help of baby gates - it is doable and can be productive :)

Today, I decided to try an exercise that had been suggested by a couple different people some time ago. This exercise is designed to build confidence with scent discrimination and involves placing the article pile in another room or around a corner so the handler is not in the picture and the dog is working on their own. This is the kind of exercise that really works well in the house because I can put the pile in one room and send him from another room. Here's a short clip of how it went.

Jolee's homework today involved additional work with the dumbbell. Last time we left Jolee, she was happily picking up the dumbbell, then immediately dropping it. At that point, I was just clicking and rewarding for the pick-up. We haven't done it for awhile so I was interested to see how we would do today. She didn't seem as excited about the dumbbell today (maybe I need higher value treats :), but she is holding it longer and starting to walk to me with it. So, today, it was click and treat when she walked to me with the dumbbell. Here's her training today.

In the mean time, I'm trying to decide what I need to focus on with Jackson as we continue our quest for the UDX. I'm looking at entering a trial the middle of April so we have a few weeks to work on some things. I think overcoming stress may still be our biggest challenge, so my plan now is to keep working on everything to build confidence and hope he's able to work through the stress again at the next trial.

Our club is hosting trials this weekend. We're not entered, but I am stewarding for Utility tomorrow, which really gives me a good opportunity to watch and learn from the good handlers we have competing in our area.


Lindsay said...

I'm loving your videos! I have a favor to ask. I've figured out how to work on the right finishes and make them a game, but do you have any ideas on stuff that has worked for you with your guys for left finishes?

Kathie R said...

Thanks Lindsey, I've used a couple different methods to teach the left finish. When I started training Jackson I used what I refer to as the 'get out of my way' method. It's basically saying 'heel' and then walking into the dog - assuming that at this point the dog knows where heel position is - and helping him get around to heel position. Since Jackson learned this way, he more or less swings his butt around and backs into heel position. Another, probably more common method, is to lure the dog with a treat to walk behind you, turn around and come forward to sit in heel position. Here's a link to a youtube video that was posted on a list that shows a way to do this. The text is in Swedish (I think), but you don't need to read it - just watch how he does it : ) . This is the method I'm using to teach Jolee the left finish. Let me know what you find that works for you!