Emilu and I are training for Open, and also trying to keep up with stuff for RAE. Lately, it just seems like I have the hardest time finding time and energy for training (I'm also training Skippy, so that takes up time) Emilu has been very draggy while training, and tonight I found myself dragging her around by her collar to "make her heel" (oh bad Pat! Bad! Bad!) Like THAT'S going to make her want to heel. I knew this wasn't going anywhere, and I was frustrated and I'm sure she was frustrated and confused, so I went and sat on the steps with her, and we talked and giggled and kissed and made-up, and then when we went back to training I relied heavily on treats and got some sparkle back in her. I realized that I was just expecting her to do the stuff she already knew, and we are training hard on a lot of new things, and I think it's just too much. Emilu has always been very heavily treat oriented, and I guess I'm going to have to go back to that, although I had hoped that we had gone beyond that. I was hoping to be ready for Open in May for the MVLRC specialty, but I don't think we will. We'll do our second RAE leg (hopefully our second) and give ouselves more time to train for open. I was going to ask how you kept your dog interested in training, but I realize that I have to make training more interesting and fun for us (translated into better treats for Emilu)
I do lots of play things with Caleb. In heeling, I'll do one step, two step, three step and release let him jump up and I'll get his butt then I set him up again. We'll do some of that. On about turns I'll release him to get speed. With Tobie I use to throw the tennis ball for him. I am finding that I get his tennis ball out a lot and play inbetween what I am doing. I will work some drills and then we'll play ball for a little bit and then back to work. I leave the tennis ball laying around while we work, too. I also have trained Caleb that he doesn't always get the treat on the floor but he will get a jackpot in his x-pen. I decide when he gets to go in there to get his treat, not him. I do running away games. I'll race him to his dumbbell and who ever gets if first wins. Lots of play that translates into the exercises. As I have always said, I want to be more fun for my dog than anything else. These are just a few things that I do. I'm sure I do more, but this is what comes to me at the moment.
Oh, I do stuff like leave him on a recall and run right away, call while running and drop while running. Also on the retrieves and articles I will turn or move locations for him to front to so he does not go on auto-pilot all the time. It was a hoot one of the first times I did this I turned my back on a flat retrieve and he "fronted" to my rear! I could feel the bell pressing into me. Then this little yellow face peeped around with the funniest look on it! He kind of scooted into the correct position.
First, I don't train every exercise every time we train. It's kind of like when you work out your body. You don't do arms 3 days in a row. You do them every 2-3 days so there is a day or so in between to heal.
Next, when I'm training something new I warm up with something the dog knows well. Then I train the new thing. Then I finish with something the dog knows and LOVES. For Murray that is always retrieves.
Be creative in your training methods. Anything goes. I do a lot of heeling like Susan does (heel a couple of steps throw a ball, I will heel entirely at a run including turns, halts, and starts and if Murray messes up I say "oh, you weren't watching. He thinks it's a big game. Running really pumps up Murray.) I use a ball a lot in training. I use it for signals...down - toss the ball, sit - toss the ball, finish - toss the ball (talk about quick finishes ). I use it for jumps (over - toss the ball instead of fronting). For recalls I toss the ball between my legs. When training glove retrives I put out 10-12 gloves in a huge circle around us and practice pivoting to each of the gloves. We'll never see that in the ring but it still gets the point across to pivot correctly and retrieve the glove I mark, not the glove Murray sees first. When we do articles I'll put them in all sorts of patterns - | + X or spread them way far apart. If you have someone else you can train with try facing each other, tossing the dumbbells at the same time, then send the dogs one at a time (unless you are sure they won't get upset with one another) to get their dumbbell. My training group (6 of us) stands in a circle and does this all at the same time.
That's all the come to mind immediately. Let me think about this some more.HAHA! I could just picture his confused face.Originally Posted by Yellow Boys Mom
I do short short sweet bits of work
I'll work something familiar
I'll work something new
I'll work stretching and body
I'll work new again
I break it up and chunk it
lots of play but lots of breaks too
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” H. Keller
I think part of the key is to keep it short and always leave them wanting more. That said, I have a MUCH harder time keeping Simon interested than I do Angus.
Angus wants to train ALL the time. He would never be ready to quit - he's been this way since day one. He is highly, highly food motivated, so if there is even a chance of a treat, he is ON. Here is the issue we are having lately: I have been going on walks with Kevin and the boys. Angus will not stop heeling. If Kevin has his leash, he tries to heel with me. If I have the leash, and release him (we have a word and a gesture), he will briefly stop heeling, then return to heel. ??? I just want to tell him, HEY! BUDDY! RELAX! He's just kissing up, trying to get a treat. :
Simon, OTOH, has a tendency to get VERY bored very quickly, especially with heeling. I recently had to start treating him more, while we were heeling. This seems to have brought his head back up. I started off just asking for a few steps of attention, big reward and release. I think I need to start training with the ball with Simon. I've never trained with toys, but I think Simon is more ball-motivated than food-motivated.
I also started teaching Simon new, just-for-fun tricks when he was acting really bored.
And sometimes, I give Simon a break for a few days and just play ball with him, or play "FIND IT!" Do you ever play that game? Both boys love it. Put them in a stay, hide a treat in another room, come back and release them by saying "Find it!"
Connie and "The Boys":
Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD
Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever
Thanks for all the ideas. I realize that we have to have a little more FUN in our training, and also in general. This is a really stupid question, but when you play with the ball, what does the dog DO with the ball when they get it (boy, does that sound lame), I mean, do they have to return it to you like in a retrieve, or do you just go get it, or take it from them when you're 'done" with it for the moment. Emilu has never played with balls much, but she has a squeaky tennis ball that she likes. I just don't want to turn it into something else she has "to do", but don't know if it is "oK' to let her just drop it and I go get it.
Caleb brings the ball back to me. When I play with my dog, he plays with me, not by himself. Dogs that are more self suffiecient must learn to play with you. I don't want to send my dog away and then allow them to be self sustained. I want to continue to interact with my dog. Most Labs are great and continuing to interact, because of what they were bred to do.
I always imagine that my dogs think I am crazy, but they don't complain. I Keep things fun by doing a 'Gonna getcha' while heeling, and we do race for the dumbell. But the biggest thing I do with Ruby is leaving a random treat (I use hot dogs...) somewhere, and I know she knows where it is. When she does something really well, I'll tell her to 'Find it' and she gets all giddy.
She does a lot of tricks, and that is fun for her, so again, when she does something really right, I'll have her weave through my legs or touch my hand, which keeps her focused, she also does a crazy spin move, so I know when she's giddy because she spins herself.
I usually go through a whole pack of 12 chicken dogs when I train. If that is going to keep her happy, then so be it!
I think one thing is becoming clear--we all have the goal of being the most fun thing for our dogs. I want my dog(s) to want to play with me more than anything.
I can just see Ruby, Melissa! I do have a game with Caleb--I get that little yellow butt! Even at 5 it will still get him into a butt tuck and coming back for more!