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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
To keep it fair, I figured Heidi should have her own training journal. Don't want to create any sibling rivalry. :p

Heidi is now (at the time of writing this) two days away from 14 weeks. At this stage she is almost house trained (minimal accidents now, one or less per day, and I've noticed if she starts, she stops herself to run to the door, yay!), she also knows sit, down, touch, watch me (so far up to 16 seconds with distractions), teeth (lets me lift up her gums to check her teeth), ears (lets me look in her ears), and lets me handle all her paws.

We have enrolled in two puppy classes. One at PetSmart that I'm not super pumped about (Small space, lots of puppies, but no real interaction), and the second one starts next Saturday (Oct. 17th) which is run by an animal behaviourist so I'm super excited about that.

We've also just received the Foundation Fundamentals for agility, which has a lot of great skills for her to learn (Levi will be doing it as well).

So far she's fast and fearless, so I'm confident she'll be an agility dog. :)

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Oh boy, I am terrible at updating. I think I might just consolidate the two journals together so I don't have to maintain two (so Mods if you;re listening, you can safety delete Levi's).

We have fallen into a bit of a training slump lately. I'm sure it's partially because thinking about Christmas always stresses me out, I just hate how insane everyone gets, and all the stores just go berserk. The other part I'm sure is because I'm so worried about their poops that I've been using their kibble to train, and while they like it, they're not as crazy as when we were using cheese, or hot dogs, or Charlie Bears.

I've recently purchased and read both the Control Unleashed and Control Unleashed Puppy Program, and plan to start implementing the games right away. I think it will be good, because while neither of my guys are the "typical" (if you can really say that) type of reactive (in that they don't bark or get crazy aroused) they become unfocused if there is another dog in proximity. This only seems to happen on leash while walking. They are quite responsive in the dog park (except for Heidi's poop eating, but we're working on it), and make me look like a pro in class. I'm hoping through a combination of LAT, Whiplash Turn, and a rock solid leave it, we will be on our way to happy dogs.

So with that in mind, a little update on both:

LEVI:

Levi is my shining star. He's been doing amazing at the dog park, and everyone seems very impressed I can call him off a toy being thrown or another dog. (I guess people don't teach this one...). As far as obedience, his on-leash walking skills are becoming excellent. High excitement areas such as the dog park or trails surrounding it continue to be a problem, so we are avoiding those to prevent him practicing bad habits.

HEIDI

Oh Heidi. Where to begin. She is very enthusiastic about her sits and downs, and has turned into a fetching machine. It's like she turned 5 months and a switch flipped and she has decided that is the thing for her. She races to get it, brings it back, and presents it to your hand. Marvelous!

Current Issues:

-LLW continues to be a struggle in novel environments, plan to practice more in calm environments to really solidify that foundation.
-I know this probably makes me a real complainer, but when they are focused during the walks, they just like to "heel". Not quite perfect placement, but at my side, staring up at me, waiting for their reinforcer. I'd like them to just enjoy the walk. Currently they are either "heeling" or dragging. Work in progress.
-Sluggish responses. Levi is giving me so slow sits and downs (Heidi throws herself into each one), so I'm going to start a variable schedule of only rewarding for brilliant displays.
-Heidi's potty training. Heidi seems to have regressed a little, and had several accidents over the weekend. I don't know if this had to do with the in-laws mixing up our routine, or what. We will be going back to highly supervised time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
LLW is coming along, using the 300 peck method. Heidi can safety average 10 steps nicely (and I think I might be pretty strict in my criteria), and Levi is up to 50 steps! For the first time in a long time, I'm seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

Current update:

LEVI:

-Massive improvement in LLW while on the street, the walking park, or walking to the mailbox. Dog park continues to be a struggle.
-Is losing some of his desire to actually play with dogs at the dog park. Is highly interested in fetch with his ball/Frisbee.
-Slow responses to cues
-Old cues are no longer under stimulus control. He "sits" but will offer things like "wave".

HEIDI

-Potty training issues have mostly resolved. One accident yesterday which was totally my fault. She's going back to the door and indicating she needs out.
- She needs some serious stimulus control work. If not rewarded within 2-3 seconds for a cue, she offers something else.
-She's started coming back to the door to come inside, but when i open it she back away. So I close it, and she jumps up. So I open it, and she runs away. I'm pretty sure this is her wanting to play, so I reward with a play session when she does come in, and it is slowly working.

And just for kicks, here she is working on some it's yer choice!

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Update:

We started working on the exercises in Control Unleashed. Specifically Whiplash Turn, Reorienting, Leave-it, and Look at That.

Heidi is unable to do the Reorienting exercises because she is still in the early stages of staying in the crate with the door open (we are getting close though!).

Both dogs do very well when it is there turn to "work". They are focused and catch on very quickly. We have run into a bit of a problem though. When they are on the mat (Levi) or in the crate (Heidi) waiting for their turn, they will not stop whining! In Heidi's case, she is also pawing/gnawing at the crate. I'm trying to just reward when they are in quiet, but it is rare. I think we will seriously focus on the mat/relaxation technique, and I might have to crate in a different room with a Kong while I work the other.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have some fun videos today! For basic obedience we are working on "Sit, Down, Come, Off, and Target". I'm using it for both dogs, because I figure Heidi is currently at this level and Levi could use a good refresher course.

Heidi Level One

Very pleased with her cues. Her "off" is very impressive (I think) for her age. Her latency is a little slow still, but she's a baby, so I'm alright with it. The only cue I didn't get to film was "Come", but we are currently still playing a game to get her to run back and forth, so I'm not super confident using her recall cue yet. With her, I think I'd like to reduce errors (she sometimes sits and then downs) before adding distractions.

Levi Level One Obedience

Levi is probably much too advanced for this level in terms of "knowing" the skills, but he sometimes gets quite sloppy/slow, so I think it is good to refresh (you'll notice he actually "fakes" one of the touches, but I clicked, so he beats me!) his memory, and start selecting only good responses. His off command has always been stellar, and he shows it here very well.

Loose leash walking is massively improving using the 300 peck method. In fact, we used it going to the dog park the other day (my husband had one) and they actually did very well. We were able to do 5-7 steps at a time until we got super close to the gate. This is unheard of, as we were generally dragged the whole time. I'm also pleased because the park is the number one most stimulating environment, so I'm very pleased.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Training Updates.


Heidi

Heidi had class last night. She was a terror. We haven't been going to the dog park recently because I'm not crazy about how a couple of the dogs interact with my guys (one dog grabs and holds their collar or harness). So, I'm not sure if she was missing the social interaction or what, but she was very interested in hanging out with the other dogs. I also think we were not using treats that were a high enough value for her, so lesson learned there.

Her LLW is arguably the best in the class (along with this ADORABLE Belgian Shepherd puppy), and her sit, down, mat, and off cues are really strong. We are struggling a bit with the sit-stay, but I'm not a huge fan of the way my trainer teaches it, so I think I'll just work on it my way. Outside of class, we are routinely hitting 15-20 steps before she pulls, so I'm feeling very pleased with her progress.

At home, she can comfortably do: Off, Sit, Down, Shake, Paw, Watch. Come, and stay are both still a work in progress.

Outside of the house (with minimal distractions), she can comfortably do: Sit, Down, Shake, Paw, Off (as long as it isn't poop). Stay, come, and watch are non-existent outside right now.


LEVI

Levi is doing very well. We are still only trying to reward fast responses, but it is a work in progress.

We are working on both Karen Pryor Dog Sports and the Agility Foundation Fundamentals (technically Heidi is working on it too, but not as intensely).He's doing well, and I'm hoping we will have a good time in January when we start classes. We also got the Susan Salo jumping DVDs for Christmas, so I can't WAIT to use those!

His LLW is improving quite a bit, as we are actually able to take a few steps towards the dog park without him dragging me/hurting my arm, which is HUGE progress for us. Continued practice will show huge results I think. I am also starting to focus heavily on focused heeling, again using the 300 peck method.


We are going to Toronto this weekend to visit my parents (technically mom and I are going to see Phantom of the Opera and the rest are going to see a hockey game) so the dogs are being boarded for the weekend, so hopefully they'll be alright. And then a week after that and we'll be home for Christmas!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Oh I am bad, bad, bad.

Here are some updates:

Levi:
-Excellent LLW everywhere except Dog park (but we're continuing to work and I'm optimistic)
-Starting to work on a proper competition "heel"
-Really currently focused on Rally-O (just by myself) and Agility (H360/Agility Nation and a local club)
-In terms of Agility:

  • High level of confidence on all pieces of equipment
  • Working on getting both RC and 2o2o because I'm undecided on which I want
  • Working through 2x2 weave training. Currently just using the first set and working the arc to get all possible entries.
  • Working on focus forward, wrapping tightly, and jump grids
  • Also lots of focus on body awareness and body awareness "tricks" (Sit pretty, back up etc.)
Heidi:
-LLW continues to be a struggle everywhere but on our street (I think my hubby might be letting her pull a little, which I think is hindering us)

-Lots of focus still on basic obedience and recalls

-Has received brief introduction to agility (Flatwork only)
-Puppy jump grids with bumps




 
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Quick Update:

Levi is progressing fairly well through 2x2 weave training. He's currently up to 4 poles!


There could be more speed, but this was his very first attempt, so I'm super pumped with how well he is doing!
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So, on Tuesdays I work at a local training school, and my husband comes and works Heidi in the intermediate class. She's usually pretty good, but is quite distracted. Levi is there, I'm there, and there's lots of other dogs. (Unfortunately, she has not had as much training exposure as Levi, so she's a little rusty).
Well, last night, she killed it! She was hyper focused on my husband, and was nailing on her cues (easily the most responsive, and dare I say, best in the class). We worked on:
  • Heeling with distractions (bouncing balls/squeaky toys - her nemesis!)
  • Down at heel
  • Swing and Finish (she's still the only one doing it without a lure)
  • Go to mat with distance/distractions (going from about 15 feet with other dogs working)
  • Sit and Wait and Recall (Only one that could actually hold the sit and wait)
  • Stand stay
  • Position changes (Only one in the class that didn't need a lure to down, we told everyone to get working on it....)

There is also one dog/owner that I lovingly refer to as a Space Cadet. She's a very, very, nice lady, but is so clueless about her dog. Her husband is very heavy handed with him, and she is very soft, so the dog is always confused. She lets him interact with all the dogs, even though we have told everyone not to let your dogs interact on leash. She had him on the very end of his leash, and he was licking Heidi's face like crazy. Heidi was in a down stay, and tolerated it for about 20 seconds before snapping. Then the lady looked so surprised.

Sigh. Dog owners.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Oh dear, guess I should also talk about Levi. He's just my little super-star. I think people are surprised by how well he listens in class, and I never know how to respond, because I guess I'm just used to it?

Anyway, in the beginner class he stayed in his crate with the door closed (soft sided, so the mesh obscures him a little bit) because only two people showed up and they were both the reactive dogs. I also heeled around with him because there were so few people. He was very good.

In the intermediate class, I keep him out on his mat. It's great work for him (having hubby and Heidi in the class is very tough for him), and it's a great distraction for the other dogs.

Other than that, agility training continues to be good with him, he really is getting it, although we've uncovered something about him. In agility...he barks. But it isn't like a bark, he does like this, super-aroused scream. It is hilarious, but also annoying, so I'm in a battle of keeping drive up while trying to lose the barking.
 
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