Baby steps

25 Mar


The training hiatus went well. The pack stopped with their pushy demands and we had a calm weekend overall. In between the pouring rain in Atlanta even managed to get a couple of decent walks/hikes in. I did break down yesterday though and didn’t make it until today with no training. 🙂

Ren’s NW2 trial is on Friday so I figured I had better get some practice in. Her Nosework enthusiam is at an all time high. If there is Birch or Anise in the room she is going to do her BEST to find it. Ivy and I also worked for just a few minutes on her pivot in heel position (pictured above) and she seemed more into just playing with me without treats or toys after the short break. We will see how things go this week and if I note anymore changes. Regardless, I am glad that my self-imposed break is over as it made me appreciate that I have 3 such awesome dogs to train! (plus one retired couch potato)

The break from training also made me think about my plan for the next few months.  Finding an instructor and class that is perfect for me is SO difficult.  I was just starting to take online private lessons with Denise Fenzi and had thought I Doberman puppy in heel positionhad finally found someone that spoke the exact same dog training language as me.  No sooner had I gotten started though, then learned she quit doing online privates in order to spend more time with her new online training academy 😦

I am have taken a CGC class and a beginning obedience class at a well-known popular training school in Atlanta.  So far it has gone pretty well, as we have been working on basic stuff, most of what I have already taught Ivy and we just end up proofing in class.  But then the unavoidable happens – I disagree with they way instructor wants to teach something, have to explain why, and do things differently.  So far it hasn’t been a HUGE issue, but as things get more complicated and advanced I think it could be. Recent example; the instructor had wanted us to put the dogs in a stay, walk behind them, and sit in a chair for 3 minutes.  I had explained to the instructor that Ivy wasn’t ready for that yet and instead I worked on short durations of standing away from her and sitting in the chair facing her, offering rewards every 45 seconds or so if she was succesful.   (Ivy isn’t ready for me to go behind her yet in that situation) The teacher was great about it and let me do  my own thing. I didn’t cause too much of a distraction.

But the next level of the class is going to start working on heeling…

I am currently taking the online class “Precision Heeling” online in Denise’s school.  Denise’s next heeling class is “Heeling Games” starting in June. EVERYTHING is broken down baby step-by-baby step, with the dog learning a great foundation in specific skills. (It really is amazing how many “steps/skills” are required to heel when they are broken down on paper!).  Pictured above is Ivy learning how to Pivot. It could be weeks or more before I am going to be able to wean her off the disc and quide hand, never mind starting to add steps and forward movement. At obedience class last week we started a figure 8 loose leash walking  pattern in between cones.  I just did the best I could to get her around the cones with some attention –  and for her not to think she was just doing a sloppy version of “fuss”. Ivy isn’t ready to “move” while she is officially heeling because of the upright head position and focus I want, and don’t have yet even in a static position for more than a few seconds. As much as I am enjoying the class, the feedback,  working Ivy around other dogs, and the social interaction – it’s an quickly starting to realize it’s not fair to take her back to the next level.  I really need to get my heeling where I want it at home, using the method I want to use and feel comfortable with, then take her back later for proofing, tweaking and refinements.


3 Responses to “Baby steps”

  1. Ximena March 25, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    Oh no! That is tragic about the Fenzi lessons! I never got to take any* with her because “I’ll get to it one day!” was so certain. Ugh.

    For the situation with Ivy, are there any clubs you could join that you feel good about their methods? You could get all the benefits you mentioned without having to take her down a level or push her further than she’s ready for. I don’t have a club or a class I agree with her but I’ve been working with a private trainer who often brings her own dogs as decoys/distractions. It’s not much, but it is something.

    • wyattjrt March 26, 2013 at 8:49 am #

      Yes – its tragic… We actually attended a new “puppy” agility class last night at Sirius (my club) A great group with friends I have known for 10+ years with new puppies. I think we are going to continue with this class for the next few months for the social aspect, and work on heeling at home until we are ready to go back to Obedience.

  2. Elizabeth March 29, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

    Hey! I couldn’t take precision heeling but I am planning on taking heeling games in June with an audit spot! I look forward to seeing you there!

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