Disco General training Update

Ok so I have not been very good at keeping the blogs updated for the last few weeks. I have, however, continued training the dogs. It is only my computer time that has been compromised as that time has been spent working on courses for upcoming assignments, updating the web site, and creating my Face Book and My Space sites as well as uploading several videos. I have also cleaned out our rather messy basement so I have a place to do a little training if the weather turns really bad again.
When we last left you Disco was on his ninth day of weave training and had not gotten to do most of the advance work because of the conditions outside. We did get one more day of training outside before his January trial. Again we could only work on basic stuff as the yard was just too icy. As for the trial, I really was proud of the boy. He did a fairly good job over all getting several qualifying runs over the weekend and finishing his Beginner Standard and Intern Trigility titles. My proudest moment would be qualifying in the North America Challenge making him eligible to compete at the DOCNA championship’s this year. On that course there was a set of 12 weaves followed by a 90 degree turn to the right to a set of 6 poles. He completed both sets on his way to a very nice run.
I am not going to sit here and tell you there were not issue or that he did all of his weaves perfect all weekend. He did show a clear understanding of the weaves but also showed some very green dog issues dealing with the excitement of a trial. He has a tendency to forget about working and either race me or jump at me. I really think by the third day his mind was pretty fried. He still managed to get a couple of nice runs in even in that state.
We are not going to be able to complete his weave training and proofing until we can get back outside to train and the trial gave us several other things to work on until then. Issues that came up include, getting control at both the start and finish line and teaching a clear understanding of basic commands (out, here, left, right, and back). He did a really nice job on all of his contacts. I think he missed one dog walk but otherwise did a nice job. I am not going to mess with his frame at all right now. I would like to teach him to do a faster teeter and get him to stop sitting at the end. I have decided to do a modified “Four on the Floor” to get this done. I have not decided what I want to do for his dog walk but figure I can transfer the new teeter behavior there if I decide to.
My plan for the teeter which I am now pretty far into, was to free shape Disco to offer me a down on a mouse pad. I also free shaped him into going under the Zoner Honer Hoop. I then taught him to combine those two behaviors on the flat from his crate. This week I combined that with the actual teeter and got a very nice fast teeter. We will continue to train each part on its own and with the teeter until we have what we want. I will than fade the hoop and the pad.
Most of the other issues including control at the start and finish are just from his overall lack of training. I have already done several things to fix these. Disco has started working Crate Games to help him learn to behave at home, gain some self control and learn to settle and wait to be released to work. He really likes playing crate games. I am also taking him to class early on Monday nights and getting some basic control work done while Bev’s classes are working. It is really great for him to learn to focus on me with all that action going on. It is during Bev’s class that we put the teeter with the pad and hoop. I also enrolled him in a free shaping class that is held on Tuesday nights. This class has been awesome for Disco and us as a team. He really enjoys free shaping and offers me all sorts of stuff. Since starting that class he has, of course, learned to down on his mouse pad and do the hoop. He has also learned or is learning a bunch of silly things like riding a skate board, backing up in front of me, licking his chops, covering his eyes, sitting, doing a down, crawling backwards and forwards. He has learned to lay with a box or anything for that matter. We have homework every week to work toward some of our long term goals. Last week Disco’s homework was to learn to walk on a loose leash. We still have a long way to go he really improved and pulls much less since we started working on this last week. We are continuing to work on “loose leash” walking this week. During our daily walks he is also starting to learn to sit when I stop and to stay and let me step directly in front of him. This is only a six week class but I am hoping to continue working on trick stuff using free shaping well beyond that.
On Wednesdays Disco goes with me to our morning session in Barto. Most weeks now he spends his class time on the mats and not the turf. We have been working with the gates some to teach him out, here, tight and back. In the next couple of weeks we will go back out and start working on these new skills with the equipment.
We also go downstairs and work on all our tricks and behaviors almost daily now. Disco really likes to work and will let me know if I get lazy and don’t take him to work somewhere every day.
Well, that gives you an idea of what we have been up to in our training. I will try to do a better job at keeping at least Disco’s blog up to date but that is going to be hard for a while as I am really far behind on designing courses for upcoming assignments and classes. Disco’s next trial is about six weeks away so hopefully we will see a lot of improvement with him at the next trial. I really hope the yard stays clear for a while so I can get back to working on those weaves and maybe set up some box work for him to learn some crosses and verbal cues.
Now “Go Weave”