I've been training Gin for about 15 minutes twice per day, and also attending three seperate puppy obedience classes with her geared towards competition, what I eventually want is at least a CDX. . She's now just over 14 weeks old, and doing great, she has great attention and loves to 'Walk with mommy'. She's doing so well and I am excited about where she's headed...but I think if I start putting some harder commands on her I might lose some of the really fun zestful work she's doing now. She's a fantastic little heeler, does short marks (with three margarine lids on the floor, she ALWAYS goes to the one I point to with the kibble on it), will take and heel with the dumbell tail going a mile a minute, she sits reliably, she'll lay down and stay while I trim all of her nails, she'll do some short stands but we're not beating that horse to death like I did with Ruby, she's very friendly and extroverted and self confident! She also comes extremely reliably when called, even on a free for all with all the puppies in her socialization class piled on top of her, and of course she gets a treat everytime. She knows all the tricks Ruby knows, so is a smart little tart.
With Ruby, we did one puppy class, then took a break for about 7-8 months. She simply wasn't able to concentrate to accomplish the things the instructor wanted her to 'learn' when she was 4 months old. Ruby may not be the whitest sock in the drawer, but no one can deny that she LOVES to work. I just get chills when I watch a dog actually enjoying what they are doing, and she does it for me.
I am having a hard time finding an 'intermediate' class for Gin, a class that goes forward teaching the things that she'll need to know, yet doesn't abash and expect so much from them ie. by the end of the 10 week class, has a perfect 3 minute sit stay. I don't think this is a reasonable expectation for a 5 month old puppy. I also can't find a 'fun' class, and right now I am often the only one in 2/3 of my classes that is actually talking to, rewarding and praising my puppy!
So I'm stuck. I love love love Ruby's work ethic, and I really think that this is a direct result of our 'take a break' period, where she got to grow up a bit. (she also finished her CH then too, but I know Gin is going to be a late bloomer...so not really realistic)
I guess what I am asking is how you guys deal with puppies, I know its subjective to the puppy itself. But do you generally just train lightly often with them straight through? I don't want to throw a speedbump in when she's working so well, but I don't want to squash her either.
I have no expectations like some of the people in my class (one had a golden with a UD by 2, and she wants to try for 18 months with this pup...yikes, at 18 months Ruby could barely contain herself for the stand for exam!) I just want a willing and happy worker!
As soon as I got Micah I started with some privates. I then in August I got into a Super Puppy class with him, then an attention and maneuvering class and now Novice. Honestly, I don't work with him formally everyday. I want work to be fun and he want to do it. I do a couple fronts, a couple set ups, a couple finishes each direction, etc. At the age that Gin is I had Micah working a settle, but not a formal stay. I still want working to be fun! I don't do a lot of heeling with him but do drills to work on turns, abouts. Although now I am working a little more now, trying to find the right pace that I should go that will benefit him the most. I keep his class time to once a week. I just want hiim to have fun so we'll have a long competition life. Too, a lot of his "work" is incorprated into everyday life. He has to settle for his food, stand to get his feet wiped (which he hates mind you!). I've started fun stuff like the go-outs and marks. We just play. I personally think 15 minutes twice a day for a puppy that young is too much too soon. As I said, I just do a few things each day, keeping it fun, working on attitude and drive.
UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE
FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN
Dang Melissa it's too bad that you don't live closer, because Marie's Comp. puppy program would be PERFECT for what you're wanting! With Baloo I didn't even appreciate how great the program really was, because I just didn't know enough about competition obedience, but now that I do and now that I'm seeing where all that foundation work is sliding into place, I'm thrilled I stuck with it even though I didn't understand why we were doing what we were doing.
I can't even imagine a UD by 18 months! Sheesh Baloo did well in pre-novice at that age and I was over the moon!!
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
Thanks Susan, I appreciate your honesty. I know Gin is still having a TON of fun, which is why I am still 'working' her twice a day. When she starts picking on Rhys, I'll direct her my way and work with her a bit (it helps that I ALWAYS have kibble in my pockets).
I am working with Cheri Berger on Mondays, and let me tell ya, Cheri has a few choice words for Gin (she bites still LOL), Cheri thinks that Gin was born to live at her house! I know all labs have that 'here I am' attitude, but Gin is way over the top, and you can't help but watch her work, which Cheri tries to do everytime we see her so that she doesn't have the same mommy issue that Roo has...I've had a lot of people comment that they haven't seen the smart look in Gin's eyes in a long time, she's a very good problem solver. She's very eager still, even with 15 minute sessions twice a day. You know I keep them fun, and her repretoir of tricks is amazing for a 14 week old. (she mastered the belly dance at birth!) Adele thinks she has a lot of potential, but I should be a bit harder on her...which I won't do, and so she's backed off that train.
I think after this set of classes we'll take a short winter break, honestly I don't want to drive so much when its crappy out.
And kate, you are doing well with Baloo, I couldn't trust Rhys in the pre novice class at 7.5! LOL
We had a very similar problem..The puppy classes around here are focused on socialization and puppy manners. However, the "over 6 month" classes tend to be people that wake up and realize fluffy is still biting, pulling on the leash, etc. No real continuity of skills.
We tried a couple of them- they all sucked (most were commercially offered- very rarely do kennel clubs around here do puppy classes). So we just did a lot of privates until ready for competition work (when we could get into kennel club classes) and repeated puppy class a couple of times for socialization.
Sounds like you have a nice foundation on your pup. Be prepared, however, for most of it to go right out the window when she hits those horrible puppy "teen" years. Remington's earlier work ethic simply vanished and left me with a really strong, willful dog who likes to make up his own rules along the way We have a LOT of work ahead of us. By his age (almost two) both my other dogs were competing pretty solidily in the ring. Both got their CD's when they were two years. I'm fearful of doing Rally Advanced with Remington as he's going to have a lot of fun making up rules along the way
Oh well, they sure keep things interesting for us!!
I don't know how I do it...we're in uncharted territory with our pups right now.
There are classes where I live, but nothing really coincides with my work schedule based on where I live and the communte time, not to mention the tight budget we have (Spending $120 on a 6 week course is not in the cards). So I am trying my hand at training on my own right now. I went to private lessons for years with Hudler and Maddy, so I have a foundation of what I need to do, and I read about how to train certain things.
The boys are being training independently on different things. Jack's my show dog (hopefully) so his training is basically free-bait 100% of the time. His job is to stand and look pretty and not eat my fingers off. Jed is learning basic OB and rally moves. We probably aren't spending as much time on foundational things but he understand heel, around, front, stand, stay, and we should be able to compete in Rally Novice in the spring. I'd love to get through CDX and even have a dog that would do well in UD or could obtain a JH, but we'll just work on what we can when we can.
Hud's over 7, I don't know if I'll push him any further. He could manage an RA though. Maddy might be able to do her CDX if we train more, but she loves Rally so much that I might retire her after her RAE. Plus we have 1 more UCD leg, and I'll get her Grad Novice title once that becomes a real titling class. Grace will most likely make it through RE and we're close to ready for her CD, and then we'll see what we want to do with her. I guess with so many dogs at all these different lower levels, I still can keep myself very busy with the level of training I understand.
Once we get to UD though, I'll have to go to class as I have no idea where to begin the training for that.
I wonder if you could start with some rally classes or even very basic/puppy agility classes? All a bit quicker-paced (not any of this "sit here and wait for a minute/lay here and wait for 3 minutes" stuff), on-leash for rally, upbeat with the ability to talk to them and lots of fun doodling/heeling work?
Heck, at that rate, you could have an RN on her just after 6 months and use the exercises as a good start for the obedience stuff, minus the "boring" stuff for a puppy?
~Julie, Rogue, Monty, and Eddy~
"The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue." -Anon
The one place we train has a Rally judge and we do run novice courses and she does just fine. I'll probably do rally with her just for fun, but I've discussed my situation with 2/3 of my trainers and we're going to do a little work over the summer, but not much. I simply don't have the room to train inside (wee little house...) and the cul de sac at the end of my street where we train in the nice weather is where the snow plow dumps our snow. Driving 2+ hours in the winter to class is not a good idea for us.Originally Posted by CaliforniaLabLover
She's been doing some light field retrieves so we'll continue with that over the winter, we can do that in our backyard.
What about basic puppy agility? Or tracking? A small tunnel would be fun, she could learn to work away from you, she could trot over poles on the ground for "jumps," and can play with mini contact obstacles. Even if you don't compete with her ever, it really is fun for them and inadventently works on off-leash obedience as well!
Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. - Cree prophecy