Friday, May 6, 2011

Tangle, popcorn and the dog walk tour

The title almost sounds like a band, eh?

Let me start out by saying I don't normally feed my dogs popcorn, I go out of my way to make sure that they don't have corn in their diets at all as a matter of fact. But, popcorn really did make the PERFECT training treat in this case, really! It is kind of like letting your kids eat M&M's for breakfast, you know its not right but perhaps it serves a momentary purpose.

We, my family and I have on occasion been known to teach the dogs how to catch popcorn. Not real often. But, it totally entertains us:) So, Tangle really likes popcorn. This is how I got the idea.

It made the perfect training treat because:
*It is white, high contrast to the grass
*It is light and floats down instead of a fast drop, enabling me to see EXACTLY how well I am delivering the treat timing wise.
*Tangle finds it quickly, it stays on top of the grass
*Tangle can watch it on the way down too (and I wanted his head down).

I started Tangle out jumping, but he wasn't keeping his head down well. Also, the treat that I had been using was really hard to find in the grass. So, I needed a solution.

I think this one worked well!

Tangle jumping for popcorn

Tangle also got to start his dog walk tour this week. Earlier I mentioned that we were going to start a tour to help some training issues 1) he is showing a hesitancy to do a DW on unfamiliar equipment 2) his hit rate goes down dramatically. Friends were gracious enough to set up their dog walk for Tangle, thanks Don and Lori!! Since Tangle has been hesitant on his first run across a "strange" dog walk, I just trotted him across. Then we began our runs. Overall I would say that he did well. You can see that his speed increases the more runs he completes. This is encouraging! Also, his hit rate was right at 80 percent. Great for a unfamiliar place.

Tangle's DW Tour #1

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Current Successes

It isn't often that I have an opportunity to write about an awesome trail with one of my dogs. Tip and I had an awesome trial today! We have more and more great runs, but we don't often come together for an entire day!

I will just take a moment to reflect so that I can look back on this day!

Tip and I did a NADAC trial today. We had 6 runs, 5 Q's and all of the placements given were first with one second! But more importantly than statistics is how we felt. We were a team today! We both read each other well, where Tip was unclear she glanced at me for clarity, but most of the time I held up my end of the deal and gave her the information before she needed it. We trusted each other today!

Days like this are even sweeter because of the journey it took to arrive here. When you feel great like this, it feels good to reflect on the tears and frustrations along the way. We both learned from each other and arrived upon today!

Another success this weekend was training with Tangle. You know, really, I always enjoy training with Tangle and we haven't had too many frustrations and all of them have paled in comparison to Tip's and my learning curve.

My husband helped us do restrained recalls on the teeter this weekend. It was just the tool that I needed! I wanted to turn the teeter into a game and this was the ticket! Here is the video of our training. His speed and love for the teeter up until this practice session was equivalent to the first teeter on the film. Not bad at all, but he is thinking too much. Yes, I want a thinking dog, but I do not want a worrier. To my eye, the speed and drive for the toy only increased with each teeter. It is this love and drive that will keep Tangle from thinking too much on the teeter and get into the game.

Not to leave Split out of the mix today. He is doing great. Still in rehab for his hip flexor pull, but starting to return to activity. I currently have him doing 6 jumps at 12 inches, a few weaves, a few dog walks and really low A-Frames!