Thursday, October 31, 2013

We have indoor training!

End of October in Canada and winter is on the horizon. We've already had our first snowfall. Windshields have to be scraped and defrosted. Dogs need to wear coats when going out for walks. And the dark! We walk in the dark in the morning and at night. The only chance we have for training now is at lunch.

In light of the colder, shorter days arriving I have started getting the dogs accustomed to working at our new indoor location. A friend works at a barn and they've been nice enough to allow me to use their indoor arena several times a week so we can work inside. It will still be cold in there when the dead of winter sets in, but at least there are lights and shelter from the wind.

The dogs have been there twice now. As most of you know, Kili has major issues with environmental distraction. You will notice this immediately in the video. That said, I was really pleased with her. I worked each dog individually for 3-5 minutes each and then rotated and each dog received about 3 or 4 turns to work. The video of Kili is from her third session. Although not the level of attention and tugging that I get at home in our backyard the quickness of her improvement impressed me. The first turn she had she did not engage with me in tug and had a lot of focus issues (horse poop! yay!). The second she was much more focused with food and was able to engage in tug just a little bit. Then the third time, as you can see, she did really well and had a pretty decent tug session.

Kili is learning some "goofy" behaviours to be used for revving her up to work. In the video I'm only working with her on "turn" (circle clockwise) but we are also working on "spin" (circle counter clockwise) and "through" (go between my legs).

I am thinking that I might try doing some heelwork to music (dog dancing) with Summit. It's lighthearted and fun and that's all I really want for him. He'll be 9 in May and he's not getting any younger. Heelwork is easy on his joints, works his brain, and is great fun! He already knows "spin" so here we're working on "turn" and "through".

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