Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hoot's Running Dog Walk

Hoot will be the second dog that I have trained on a running dog walk.  It is interesting to me how it is still a huge learning experience, but in different ways.

It seems the first time around you don't really know the process, but you have to have patience and faith in that process as it is revealed.  This second time, I know the process, but there are different twists and turns in the journey because of a different dog.

Split was my first dog that I trained.  He was 7 when I re-trained him from a 4 on.  Some things were easy for him because of his experiences and some things were hard because of his experiences.  For instance, proofing with motion was really easy.  He already knew to stay on task when I am running crazy next to him.  He understood that the yellow zone was really important already.  Getting him into a full stride was hard, really hard.  He wants to take one more stride than he needs on the dog walk.  But, that means that his turns off the dog walk are easier for him.

Hoot is my second walk down this path.  She is a puppy with no prior experience.

Hoot has been very easy to get her to adjust her stride, she totally loves the process (actually Split does too), and if she has epic failures it is really easy to take her back a step and get her back on track.  But she doesn't take to changes as easily as Split.

Last week I tried to see if I could get her to run to a dead toy.  This would allow me a bit more freedom to begin to introduce motion.  She runs to the dead toy like a champ, but she gives me 3.5 strides on the dog walk (4 being ideal).  3.5 strides leaves less time to adjust strides to hit the yellow.  So, back to tossing the toy I go.  I will just try to throw it earlier and earlier to see if I can ease into it.

Also, she can tolerate some faster starts (like from a tunnel), but I can't do a whole session of them.  She begins to give me less strides again.

The absolute nicest thing about doing a running dog walk with Hoot is she resets herself.  That is, after she has been rewarded she knows we will be doing it again.  She runs to the start, places herself where I have been starting her and she is ready to run again!

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