Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Where We Are Going and How We Are Getting There

It is no secret that one day I hope to have Rundle ready to compete at the Utility level in obedience.  It will still be a long time before we step into the obedience ring, even at the Novice level.  Some people have a specific goal in mind of when they want to take their dog in the ring, but I do not. Right now, I figure somewhere around when Rundle is 3 years old or so, but that will all depend on how he matures and how our training progresses. I do know that I will not take him into the ring until he is ready and that I want him to be fluent in all the exercises through the Utility level before we debut in Novice.

We have so much work to do but when I look at how much progress Rundle has made in the last 8.5 months since I brought him home, it really is amazing. He now has bits and pieces to make up all the exercises in all the obedience levels. Of course, we still need to learn much more and then put all those bits and pieces together and work on actual ring prep, but if we keep working steadily, we will get there.

For all the obedience levels, heeling is very important. In my mind it is also the most difficult exercise to teach and have your dog maintain enthusiasm for.  Right now, Rundle is learning about heeling - mainly, where exactly heel position is and how he can get there and stay there.

Novice level:
Rundle has the basics of fronts and finishes and stays (sit, down and stand) as well as the recall. I need to introduce the exam for the "stand for exam", but Rundle needs to be more solid on his stays before we add the excitement of someone trying to touch him. We have not combined any of these basics and I won't until each component is strong by itself.

Open Level:
Rundle is working hard on a formal retrieve.  So far we have split the components and have a hold, a carry, a pick up and the beginnings of a turn. Once each piece is solid, we will combine them into one full retrieve.
We have the beginnings of the drop on recall which are a fast response to the down cue and a down at a short distance.
Rundle has the basics of jumping.  We will introduce the broad jump this week.

Utility Level:
Rundle has the beginning of the retreiving he will need for the seek back. 
Rundle is loving the scent articles and we will continue to make them more challenging and then add in a retrieve once he is solid on that.
Signals - Rundle knows the position changes but we need distance and hand signals only. 
Moving Stand - we are making good progress on the moving stand. The exam by the judge will take a lot of prep - jumping on the judge is not scored well ;)
Directed Jumping - Rundle has the basics of a go out, both to a nose and foot target. We also have been working on the directed jumping and that is going well, although Rundle does have a side that is much stronger.

So, that is our progress up until now. Bits of this and bits of that. Someday all the bits should come together into the various exercises. Until then, we will keep working and having fun.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Moving Stand

I have started to teach Rundle a moving stand. His stands on command are fairly solid so now we are starting to add in some movement. Right now I am rewarding Rundle for still feet once I ask him to stand. Once he is stopping quickly with no foot movement I will start to add in some distance. Eventually, I should be able to cue the stand/halt and he will stay in place no matter where I move. 

The problem we are having right now with this exercise is that Rundle has been strongly rewarded for his fronts. So often, he tries to sit in front instead of halting. To stop this I am careful to stand at a slight angle in front of him.  I will also start tossing the cookie to him instead of handing it to him so that he doesn't think the position I want is always close in front of me. Once
We put everything together, he will be in heel position, not in front of me so it shouldn't be too much of an issue later on. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

More Scent Work

Rundle is still working on his scent articles and he is really loving this game. I have now started to make things harder for him by hiding the scented article and letting him find it. I also have added some distractions into his training. Here is a video from a couple days ago. Rundle is finding his article hidden among his toys. I started easy with just one scented article then added a couple more unscented articles to work around. His accuracy is nearly 100% right now so it is time to make it even more challenging :)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Just Photos

Continuing with my 52 Weeks project.

Rundle loves his toys but would rather run around with them than bring them back to me.  That is one of the things we are working on :)

5/52  Got It!!

It has been bitterly cold here this week so Rundle has been stuck in the house quite a bit.  He mostly just runs out for a pee and to chase the birds away and then it is back in to the warm house.
6/52  Wishful Thinking

Friday, February 7, 2014

Agility Update

I have mostly been posting about Rundle's progress in obedience but we are still working on some agility stuff as well.  Rundle thinks agility is a lot of fun and he is doing well with all the skills we have been working on.  Rundle is still learning all the foundation skills and has seen very little in the way of actual agility equipment.

There is so much for him to learn before we get to the "big dog" stuff. Rundle is learning to take a straight line of jumps without me cueing each individual jump.  He is learning the 180 jump pattern and can now do this with a fair distance between the jumps. Rundle also knows how to take the backside of the jump on cue.  We are working on running across planks on the ground and Rundle thinks this is very exciting. He has pretty good coordination for his age and can stay on the plank even running at full speed (I'm sure this will give me a heart attack when we move to full sized equipment). We have worked a bit on rear crosses but I need to do more of this outside of class so that he really understands.

The only full sized piece of equipment Rundle has been learning is the teeter. We started doing teeter bang games (Rundle jumping on the end of the teeter to make it "bang").  Now Rundle has started running up the teeter to the end with the teeter propped up so it can't fall. Rundle gets fed standing on the end up in the air and then I lift him off. He has no problem with this at all. Last week he mis-stepped and fell/jumped off and turned and got right back on again. So he is not at all worried about the teeter so far. Soon we will start moving the teeter up and down a bit and have Rundle "surf" on the end of the board.  He still has a long way to go before he is doing the teeter all on his own, which is fine with me as I am in no rush with him. He will probably be in the foundation class long after the puppies who started the same time as him move on to the more advanced classes. Rundle, being a large breed puppy, will not be able to physically (or mentally) move to more challenging training or full equipment until his growth plates are all closed, which will not be for quite a while still. So, there is no need to rush anything - we have lots of time to work on all the basic agility skills we will need.