Friday, March 11, 2011

Creating Rear Awareness

We have done a lot of training since the last post, however the computer being fairly tempermental doesn't aid being able to upload videos and photos as often as I would like. However we will keep going and hopefully be able to solve the computer problems soon!

So this post has been inspired by a Youtube trainer - Kikopup. She talks alot of creating rear awareness which helps for future heel work, agility and tricks. The aim is to have a dog that is able to pivot on its front legs - moving only its back legs.

We start by having a book on the ground for the dog to place both feet on. Value must be created for having the two front paws on and nothing else. Movement left and right is slowly introduced with minor steps either way. The aim is for the puppy to remain in front moving their back legs only. Movement is gradually increased until the pup can make a full 360 turn with front paws remaining on the book. This is our aim for lesson one! Once we have this muscle memory established we can than move on too more turns, lowering the cue of me standing in front, and also do the same movements but with the puppy in heel position. Sounds easy in theory right??

Enjoy our first session. :-)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tunnel Training

So today we started our agility training today on the flex tunnel. Our shaping training and clicker training is proving to be paying off. I have lately been doing alot of exercises encouraging Keeda to think about her work and to understand the meaning fully of the clicker. A couple of nights ago I cut open a beer carton and practised our shaping with the end goal of having keeda sitting inside the carton. I started by rewarding any look or interest in the box. I gave her 3 goes at this before upping the criteria. I waited until she physically touched the box with her nose or paw before giving her a click and treat. We continued "shaping" this behaviour, progressing from touching, one paw, two paws, and so on until she was sitting inside the carton. Playing "thinking" games like this encourages her to concentrate on the skill I am after and reinforces her training with the clicker and "shaping" behaviours.

So with the flex tunnel I used a similar method. I waited until she showed interest in the tunnel by just looking at it. She very quickly clued on that I wanted more interest in the tunnel and quickly moved onto walking up to the tunnel. It didn't take her long before she stayed inside the tunnel long enough to allow me to run to the other end just so she could see me. As soon as she saw me at the other end she understood the job straight away. It than became a patience game of waiting for her to make the decision to run through the tunnel without me giving an aid or cue. Slowly but surely I was able to move away slightly from the tunnel. Within 15 mins I had a puppy very excited and willing to run to the tunnel. I always made sure that the first thing she was looking for as she came out of the tunnel was me. I encouraged this by starting to play "I'm gonna race ya" (my version of Susan Garretts I'm gonna smoke ya) to encourage her to not only look for me but than to chase me down. As soon as she caught me I clicked and treated and turned around to go again.
All up a 20 min training session with huge success!

I had to remember though that it was her decision to go through the tunnel and found myself twice accidental walking up to the tunnel - hence giving her a cue. I immediately realised my mistake however (only due to Keeda failing to follow the cue that she doesn't know yet!) and came back to my starting spot to let her make the decision to run to the tunnel. By using this method I'm creating a dog that hypothetically will consider the tunnel as a high value game and will slowly introduce a cue, only when she does the exercises flawless and every time. I'm not going to start yelling "flex" and her learning that the word "flex" means to just run past the tunnel, jump on it, run around it, bite it. Only when there is a perfect entry with speed going through the tunnel will I introduce the cue.

The next step is to introduce Keeda's crate games into her tunnel learning. More on this when I do it!!

Below is the video of our training from this morning.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Journey

Miss Keeda Graduates from Puppy Preschool!

The wonder puppy graduated from puppy preschool on the 25th January.
She was the smallest and quietest puppy in the class, but she was by far the smartest doing perfect sits, ok drops and sometimes stays!

The highlights from preschool being a poor 11 year old girl getting frustrated cause her puppy wasn't performing recalls as well as Keeda (who is already at 10 weeks coming from a restrained hold to a perfect sit right in front of me!). The poor girl was calling her puppy followed by telling it to sit and getting very upset. We had to explain to the girl that I had just done a bit more training with Keeda and that her puppy will understand it soon! ops.

In her graduating class Keeda was getting over excited by trying to round up a 17 week rotty puppy (at 12kgs already!!), trying to steal food off everyone, trying to pull down the fake plants, as well as steal toys off the wall. This was than followed by a massive wee on the floor than stealing the towel the instructor was trying to use and running down the hallway with it.... could be worse!!!

Miss Kee also in the same week attended her first big school to watch Harlie train. She cried for 5 mins in her crate than happily settled down highly amused by the number of dogs walking past her. At the end of training Harlie, I asked Keeda out of her crate and did some basic obedience (heel, sit, left and right, touch, drop) which she did OK considering first time doing these away from home. I had left the crate door open and removed her lead getting her excited for running back to her crate. We have been practising Susan Garretts crate games and she has proven at home a high level of value for her crate. Without hesitation she raced back into her crate and sat until I shut the door. A number of instructors couldn't believe what they saw and asked me to do it again. I opened the door, walked to about 10 meters and gave Keeda her release word. She ran beautifully out to me, I treated and grabbed her collar, sent her back than called her out again as soon as she hit the crate. On the second send I ran behind her, treated and closed the door. Impressed a couple of instructors came for a closer look with their dogs in tow. "Awesome" I thought.... distraction time!! I went and opened the crate, called her out than sent her back in. She made a prance towards the dogs standing nearby than continued on her way. PERFECT! What more could you ask for!

                                        Miss Keeda wearing her party hat and her certificate

Tell Everybody I'm on My Way!

Keeda's first video! Enjoy!!

Keeda's Arival Home

The story from the beginning...
After losing my 6 year old Collie Rough "Kilcoy Rushed to N Angel CCD ADX JDX SPD GD SD" (better known as Diva) to an aggressive cancer, I have been contemplating finding a friend for Harlie (my 7 year old Shetland Sheepdog) and a new companion/family member/ agility dog for myself.
                                                 Miss Diva competing at Rocky Agility Trial (2008)

 A wonderful friend of mine Bernadette Lines (Kilcoy Kennels) offered one of her dogs from her breeding kennels who came and visited for 6 months. "Ferona Silver Phantom" better known as Winter, offered a wonderful companion and distraction for both Harlie and I. Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and Winter had to head home to finish off his Australian Champion title. I thank Bernadette for the opportunity to have Winter in our family and loved training him.

Unfortunately our little family didn't cope to well with having Winter head home. Harlie was getting sooky, Winters best friend (Bella the Cat) was walking around the house continuously looking for him, and my partner Rodney was worse than both Harlie and the cat!!

It was time to get a new puppy. I had been in contact with a couple of Shetland Sheepdog breeders with all intention at building my agility team of shetlies.... But Rodney had other ideas. It all came down to a game of Uno.... Whoever won the best out of 10 games got to choose the breed of the puppy. Guess what.... I lost. Thankfully I won the Uno game deciding who got to name the dog. If Rod had won this blog would be called.... "Mr Bananas".

So the next mission was finding a breeder with Tri colour female puppies who were suitable for obedience, dog sports, and to fit in perfectly with our little family. Coming up to Christmas (2010) a breeder in Brisbane advertised on Dogz online for a litter of tri puppies. I hadn't been having much luck with finding a female with previous breeders but thankfully Marion had the perfect girl for us.

We ventured out to meet Marion and the puppies when they were four weeks old. We played with them for a good hour and had the girls narrowed down to three puppies. The deciding factor came when this one perfectly marked puppy kept running between both Rod and I, than nailed the point home when all the other puppies were asleep and this one girl was wide awake tearing everything up and swimming in her water bowl.... It was meant to be!!

                                         Keeda and Rodney shortly after making our decision!