Carol Collett

Life as I know it

Archive for the category “Dog Training”

Friday Favorites

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I love working with and training dogs. But the past year and a half I haven’t worked with ours much. It’s showing. Sometimes things in life require attention, and that’s been the case for me. But now that life is normal and okay and good, it’s time to get back to working with the dogs.

What I think I love most about working with dogs is the relationship, the teamwork. Just think about it-another species of intelligent animal wants to engage with humans in work and play. Blows me away!

I also love watching dogs figure things out. I particularly love scent detection work. Watching a dog find scent, then follow it to source, then tell his handler, “Hey, it’s here. It’s right here” fills me with wonder every time.

Below is a video of one of my favorites of Jack’s searches from Nose Work class from May 2013. This was a tough hide, but he worked hard, never gave up, and found source.

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Dog Training: Stop Door Rushing

The great “train the dogs not to rush the door when someone rings the doorbell” exercise starts in earnest.

I plan to use the clicker training techniques I learned in the Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Foundations course I took this spring.

My goal is that when the doorbell rings, all three will go to their “place” which will be a mat in the floor. It will probably take a little while to be reliable, but definitely worth it.

I think to start, I’ll train them separately. The once they gain some degree of consistency, I’ll train them all together.

Do you use a “place” type cue with your dogs? What situations do you use that cue?

Using Clicker to Train “Place”

One thing last night’s trick or treating brought home to me is that I must get back to training our dogs to go to a place on cue. The best way I’ve found to do that is by using the clicker. Damon, our little bully mix, is the most responsive of our three to the clicker. If he sees my with a clicker in my hand he immediately starts offering behaviors.

Last year I started training each of them to “place.” Such a helpful skill. I kind of slacked off on their training. So now we’re back to square one. Sigh.

Here’s Damon last fall with a nice response to “go to your mat.” We’ll get back here with all three soon.

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Do you have a place cue for your dogs? Have you ever tried clicker training? How do your dogs respond when the doorbell rings?

Let’s Go Sniff

Y’all know by now I’m enamored of all things canine scent detection. Nose Work, Barn Hunt, Tracking, Earth Dog-yep all of it.

So I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve let Jack’s Nose Work training slide over the winter. All kinds of excuses slithered across my brain. Too cold. Too tired. Too much trouble with all three dogs. Not fair to work with Jack, but not do something with the other two. Too hurried.

Yeah, you get what I’m saying.

I even used the excuse that I’m not going to trial him in Nose Work so why bother training. Yep, yessiree, I even used that gem.

And while that’s true-I will likely never trial in Nose Work-that’s no reason not to train. Especially not when Jack and I both love it. Well, maybe he enjoys it, and I love it.

So yesterday I broke out the birch, and we did a little work outside. Vehicles and exterior.

And, bonus! I used my GoPro with my new chest strap mount. Learned a lot from that exercise. But that’s a post for another day.

Anyhoo-here are two very, very short clips from yesterday’s work. These are the “source/alert” moments from two of the searches.

Two things I learned from yesterday’s video are: 1) you can learn A LOT from videoing your training sessions, and 2) Jack’s tail is part of his tell.

Tunnel Training

Really want to train Jack and Damon to participate in Barn Hunt. Part of the Barn Hunt course includes a tunnel made from the straw bales. Since neither of them has any agility training I was a little stumped on how I could train tunnels short of buying an agility tunnel or a bunch of straw bales.

But a friend and fellow dog enthusiast came to my rescue. She suggested a blanket tunnel using a dark blanket and chairs. Kind of like a blanket fort from childhood.

Perfect!

So while it’s quite different from straw bales, it will work for now.

Here are a couple videos from earlier in the week. The lighting is bad, and the editing app is a little odd. But I think you can get the idea.

Jack Practicing Blanket Tunnel

Damon Practicing Blanket Tunnel

We’ve got a ways to go. But it sure is fun to play!

Looking forward to another Barn Hunt practice.

Clicker Work With Damon

Damon’s my little clicker training rock star. He just gets it and enjoys it. He picks out the behavior I’m clicking within 2-3 repetitions. Amazing. I have to say I thought Jack would take to it better than Jade or Damon. Was I ever wrong. Jack gets it, but for some reason doesn’t seem to enjoy figuring it out as much as Damon. But I’m still working on it with him.

Here’s a short video of Damon’s work today. Most of the time we were working on the mat. What I want is for him to lay on the mat. Didn’t take long. Eventually I’ll add a cue to the mat and send all three to the mat when the doorbell rings.

Toward the end of the video I’m reinforcing some targeting we worked on a few days ago. In that sequence my hand is the target where he is to place his paw. Eventually I want to be able to hold his paw and clip his nails.

Looking forward to eventually getting a chest harness and head harness for my GoPro camera. I think that will make watching the dogs work much easier. More dogs. Less me. 🙂

You can watch the video here.

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