Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Circle Work, Racing to The Tug and Release Word!

Tonight things didn't work out that I got all the training in that I'd planned, which meant I didn't get any crate games in, but I DID get some circle work, racing to the tug and worked on her release word work in.

Her release word was much better tonight. I took her outside with treats and a tug and sat her in a sit, led out, said "okay!" and on the first time, when she just happened to get up (I think the higher distraction of being outside played to my advantage because she was a little more cautious in her stay because there were so many fun things to do and smell!) I verbally praised and then gave her a treat when she got to me, then dropped the tug down to her reach and we had a play session. She liked that a lot, and I liked that she was able to use treats and a tug in that situation with ease. After that she caught on that "okay!" means break your stay and good things happen.

Circle work was... well, interesting. I mostly just ran around and praised and toy rewarded her for running with me. It's just the starting stages, so I'm not asking for too much, but she did well... I am, however, very out of shape.

Racing to the tug... oh, she loves that one! I hold her back, chuck her tug about 15 feet then hold her back and amp her up. I wait until she's really fighting me to go forward and release, then run beside her, sometimes let her get it first, sometimes I meet her at the toy and we tug from there. Always results in a game of tug, which she loves.

We also, among all of this, had a moment where while tugging I either stepped on her toe, or the tug hurt her little toofers or something, cause she let a little squeal out of her, then BAM without even thinking, she was back at the tug with even more gusto. That's a good thing, I reckon.

I'm very proud of her sessions tonight and yesterday. Little Puppy is very impressive.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mission Crate Games Begins.

So I was a little later than I said I would be in getting Simi started with Crate Games, but hey, at least it happened!

Tonight I sat down and watched up to Stage 3 of the DVD, which is as far as Susan recommends you to go (at least) in your first session. That included just lots of opening the door, rewarding back and high in the crate, then closing the door. Then we did more pause between feeding and adding the distraction of a leash. Then coming out, going back in by choice, and eventual collar grab, rev up, pull back, let go, ram into the crate.

She did REALLY well. I am crazy impressed with her. She didn't hate her crate to start with, so that really helped, but I'm also very impressed with how quickly she caught onto that this game was about staying in the crate, not something I usually make her do (though I do require her to down or sit in her crate before I put her food down).

Our one and biggest issue was releasing her out of her crate for the "You're in, you're out" game. She doesn't really have a release word, per say. Even when I sit on the floor and call her by goofy names, she still maintains her sit or down or stays in her crate, waiting to be rewarded... and I haven't even proofed her stay yet. Heck, sometimes I'll throw food on the floor to TRY and get her to get up, and she won't. I swear, she's an already trained robot.

We weren't able to use Susan's suggestion of a low value reward for the release and collar grab part, because she just really doesn't like having a release word, I guess. Maybe she's lazy? But we did get some out of her and she did really well on running right back into her crate.

I'm going to do some restrained recalls, I think, to work on her release word. Honestly, I've never had this issue before. Most of my dogs are so eager to be released that it's easy to add that "okay!" and it mean good stuff, you can break stay now. But Simi takes staying where I put her very seriously (sometimes) and just seems immune to all my attempts to make a release word fun.

Anyway, over all, I am VERY proud of the Simi. She went above and beyond my expectations and it makes me really excited to work more on her crate games with her and to start our obedience class next Tuesday.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fun Match Fun

Yesterday morning Mom and I packed up the HHR with 4 crates (two of which were Psyche and Simi sized) and headed out to Shediac for a fun match. Mom took her two girls and I took Psyche to work and Simi to just visit.

Simi was really good the whole drive there. She still tends to whine a little bit while driving but she was really good yesterday. No sound from her at all. When we stopped for pee breaks she completly forgot all of her loose lead training and nearly knocked me over, but meh. She was tugging and racing me to the tug in the hall outside the agility ring and could hear the dogs doing it, but she was still below threshold, so all was good. Then I took her in to watch Erin and Mach run their jumpers run and ... ha, yeah. So turns out my puppy really likes to watch dogs do agility. She was screaming and flailing... I had to pick her up and take her out and back below threshold, where she was happy to tug, so we worked on slowly getting closer and closer. Heck, I'd much rather deal with this "issue" while she's this small and not full grown. She was also pretty freaked out by a kid in a snow suit, but the lady who was organizing it spoke to the little girl (she knew her, I didn't) and asked her to come over and give her a treat. It took Simi some time to get comfortable enough to take the treat, but after she realized it was just a kid in a scary suit she was happy go lucky again.

Now as for Psycherdoo! She did really well! I mean, sure, she could have done better, but I am SO pleased with her! She was running with me, and while there was some minor stressing, she was really good. Nailed her contacts most of the time (there were I think 2 times she didn't hold it) and got her weaves and ROCKED them every time. Missed an entry once but when I brought her back she rammed through them, no questions asked.

She was really happy when she wasn't stressed and that was nice. I tried something new with her, which was letting her actually watch and fixtate on the smaller dogs running before her. She loses her brain when she watches small dogs, but I figured hey, I'll try it and see if maybe then she'll get more into agility itself after. I didn't notice a HUGE difference, however, the second time I let her do that, the lady with the one small dog she really loved stayed in the barn and was within Psyche's view/reach and Psyche played with me and didn't run off to the little dog, even at the end of the run. She was looking back at me waiting for her reward.

I didn't try to run without her toy this time. I wanted it all to be fun. And I may not even try to take her toy from her at the next one (we have another fun match on the 24th and then a puppy seminar for Simi on the 25th) but maybe at the one in April.

As for mom's two -- they did REALLY well. Rhyme was amazing. So proud of her for not having had any agility work for like 6 months.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Crate Games with the Monster.

It has been decided. I WILL start Simi's crate games. Tonight. With out a doubt.

(now just to find time to do that and catch up on my photo projects!)