Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mixing it up!

Okay, I've taken the suggestions to try training some new exercises to heart and we have been working on something new this week. (Thanks Hsin-Yi :) I think maybe he is getting bored with the repetitive obedience training, and it is time to add some new challenges to the mix. I can see already he's having more fun in training learning something new - especially with clicker training where he gets lots of treats and he's not worried about making a mistake.

So, the exercise we've been working on is practicing rear-end movement with the box. I've seen several videos with different types of dogs doing this exercise, but had not tried it yet with Jackson. At the first session it took him awhile to put his front feet on the box. However, once he did that it didn't take him long to get the hang of it. The video here is the fourth session where we've started moving the back feet around while his front feet stay on the box.

I'm thinking when he gets good at moving his rear end with me standing in front of him it will be time for me to move to heel position and have him pivot both directions. Then, I'll have to think of other things I can do with the box - or with something else new!


Honey the Great Dane said...

Aw - that's brilliant! Jackson looks so alert and happy and "into it" - his tail is even wagging! It's a real change in demeanour from the way he often is at trials in your videos. I notice Honey is like that too - unfortunately, I think we just have dogs that get bored very easily and so we need to keep adding new things to the mix to keep their minds engaged.

I think he's doing so well with the box. Yes, once he can pivot a full circle around with you standing in front (and make sure you do it in both directions), then you can start standing in Heel position and getting him to do the same - pivot towards you as you move away from him - this is really good for helping Left-Hand turns later when Heeling. When he's good at that, then you can try taking the box away and just him to pivot with you in Heel position. And then try it in both directions. THat should keep you busy for a while! :-)

Have you taught Jackson to back up? That's another new thing you could try and it would tie in nicely with this coz it's also helping 'hind end awareness' - there are several diff ways to teach it and diff dogs learn it differently but once you have him backiing up in Heel position next to you, I find it really helps with getting a tigher Heel because they sort of understand better about keeping in the same position next to you - whether you are walking forwards and they are heeling normalling - or you are moving backwards and they have to Heel backwards - a good challenge! :-)

Although these seem more like "tricks" and may not be exactly like your Obedience exercises, I find that they actually help to improve your Obedience exercises as they help the dog have more control and be more aware of his own body in relation to yours.

Well done! Jackson obviously learns fast if you've only just started this this week! I think you should aim to teach him a new thing every couple of weeks (while still revising his Obedience stuff) so that training (and working with you) remains exciting and unpredictable and interesting for him!


Laura, Lance, and Vito said...

yay! he's doing such a great job! I aboslutly love this trick and think it helps with SO many things!