Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Still counting

When I trained Gali last night, I was trying to squish it in before classes started. It didn't go as well as I had hoped. He was distracted by everyone arriving and I had to get on his case about working with distractions. This was not what I wanted to achieve during my training session. He did do quite a number of things really well. His attitude was quite nice, even though he got into trouble over running to the door to greet Jaimie arriving to teach her rally class. I was able to settle in and just stay focused and keep Gali on task and get some good feelings out of the session.

A few minutes ago I went to the hall with lots of time to spare and I worked on articles (which he missed the first one), Front exercises, Heeling with turns at a slow pace and random rewards for different elements of heeling. When I worked on my signals I worked from a much further distance than will be required this Sunday. He was AWESOME!!!!! I always say that Gali is a fun little dog to live with and to train, but what I sometimes overlook is how talented a dog he is. I really want to showcase that side of Gali at the trial this weekend. I am so lucky to have a dog like him.

My plan at the trial is to arrive with lots of time to spare. I know from past experience that Gali likes to do something as soon as possible at the trial site. So I will do some heeling with him and a few signals. But I will also need to find a time closer to our run to calmly warm up without having to keep my eye on the ring. Gali needs to have energy from my, but he really needs me to be calm and focused to lead the team.

Five days to go....


Also, I did a no-food run through with Ribbon in her rally class last night and she was amazing!!! Her eyes never left me, we moved together as a team and her rear end was fantastic. It feels really good to have her work this well as we approach the speciality and the fact that I am hoping to enter her in some pre-novice trials and rally trials this fall while Gali is out doing utility.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Countdown has begun

One week and two days from today Gali will be in his first utility trial. I am really looking forward to it. I can't wait to see how he does!!! I just finished training him and I have a pretty good idea on what I will be working on this week. EVERYTHING!!! I started off my training session with some heeling and signals from a short distance, (which he didn't drop all the way to the ground). I also worked on some fronts and finishes. I took him into the "ring" on lead, no food on my body, but he knew where the food was (specifically meatballs, the new wonder drug for training) I worked formally through each of the exercises and didn't do anything that I wouldn't be comfortable doing at a trial.

He jumped on the way back from retrieving the glove, but tried pretty hard to correct his front. He did both articles very nicely. On signals he did a horrible about turn after the slow pace. It was as if he felt squished by the gate and sort of shot forward out of heel position and then waited for me to catch up. He did a LOVELY drop and then walked in on his sit signal (so no pass on this run through), I kept going with the routine. His moving stand was really nice and his directed jumping was fantastic!!! I trained for about 15 minutes more and did some heeling, more signals and some fun proofing drills such as verbal only directed jumping and rewarding touching on the go outs. We ended our session playing with the Frisbee. Gali seemed relaxed through most of the routine and training session except on the signal recall; his body language was telling me that he was pretty unsure.

Here is my list of things to work on:

  1. Glove exercise coming through the jumps, reminding him to watch and/or maybe a chute on the ground.
  2. Heeling
  3. Fronts and Finishes
  4. Fun article things to keep him up and relaxed
  5. Working our signals from various distances, and rewarding different parts
  6. One or two run throughs this week
  7. Getting people to do moving stand with me this week, I am always practicing alone
  8. Various distances for go-outs and distance between the jumps. Randomly rewarding go-outs and surprise endings after jumping.
  9. I should also ask Susie if I can train in her hall this week to give him a change of environment.

It is going to be FUN!!!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Not all fun and games (or is it?)

It's Labour Day weekend and I've been off since Thursday night. I've had things to do, you know the usual, laundry, clean the bathroom (hummm.. still have to do that). Chad and have had two herding lessons, one today and one yesterday. Basically though, I've had a lot of time off this weekend to lie around read, watch the tennis and golf. The thought has occurred to me that I should post something on my blog. I wasn't really sure what to write about. I've been getting Gali ready for our first utility trial in October, he coming along really nicely. I think we may be peaking at the right time. So other than bragging about my fabulous Buhund, which I am happy to do, there is not much to say. Ribbon's heeling is suddenly coming together. Her understanding of head cues has come together and I am working on perfecting her figure 8. Signals and articles are coming along great; she is really enjoying those skills. While training random drops and figure 8 tonight I momentarily heard myself saying to classes this week, "Make sure you choose two things each week that aren't your favourites to train and put some time into those skills." Well, guess what I was doing? Heeling (favourite), Articles (another favourite) and random drop with food tossing (nothing more fun than watch your dog chase a piece of food across the floor and then drop). What wasn't I doing? Fronts (least favourite thing to teach) and Dumbbell (not high on my list either).

So before I left the training hall I did some doodling and worked on fronts reminding Ribbon where her focal point is for this skill (my face). She has a habit of planting her rear end quickly and then moving her front feet off to my left which makes her crooked. Sort of an unusual thing I think. By reminding her to watch she picks her head up higher and keeps her front feet still. Then I added some distance, we had some anticipation problems, but no big deal. One thing I really like about my new little girl is that she holds onto a concept really well. What I showed her to do only travelling a few feet easily transferred to a full length recall and she nailed 4 out of 5 fronts. Guess what?? My dog was reinforcing me for training a skill that I am not usually that motivated to train!! How cool is that? Next I got my chute out and worked on sharp off angle fronts allowing her to chase a piece of food to get her away from me. As she was coming back towards the chute, if she wasn't looking up I reminded her to "Watch" and cocked the knee closest to her to make her go around it and into the chute. Worked like a charm and again I think I got 4 out of 6 fronts perfect. I can't wait to train fronts tomorrow!!!!

Good girl Ribbie