Sunday, 19 June 2011
On June 17, 2011 Reese passed the Working Certificate Test at the Saskatoon Retriever Club. Reese ran in the lucky 13th spot in a field of 18 Retrievers.
Neither mark seemed too difficult and the throwers gave every dog a good throw. The only factor that made the long mark difficult was that the dogs were swimming into a very strong wind. The wind caused white caps on the water and when the dogs swam low to fight the wind they seemd to loose sight of the bird. You could see many of the dogs push themselves high up from the water and stretch their necks to see the bird. When they did this it made swimming into the wind difficult.
When the ribbons were handed out 11 of the 18 came away with a pass.
Tuesday, 7 June 2011
I’ve found that, sometimes I’m so caught up in getting Reese doing marks or drills that I forget about the importance of line manners. If I allow her to drag me to the line, whine in the blind, cruise the duck pail in training, why would I expect anything different come test day.
It only stands to reason that training sessions aren’t the only place that manners come into play. Poor field or line manners can be traced to poor manners at home. Rushing the door, jumping on people, charging the food bowl or barging out of the crate the minute the door opens, are all signs of little or no self control. If the dog shows little self control in the home environment, how can they be expected to exercise control in the stimulating environment of birds, duck calls and gun shots?
At home I’ve taken a look at the little things that I’ve let slip and have decided to pay closer attention to them. At feeding time Reese is now waiting in a sit for her food bowl to be put down. She is asked to go to her designated spot to lie down when company comes or when I get home, rather then spinning in a frenzy. If she charges the gate or the crate door, I close it. We have gone back to working one of the 1st exercises she learned as a puppy called “Puppy Zen” Puppy zen is puppy self control. In the beginning we just worked at leaving a treat in my hand until invited to take it. It has all kinds of implications for everyday living. So now we are extending it to highly stimulating situations and things of high value, like the duck pail and bumper bag.
We often forget about the basics or the foundation things our dogs learned. When things go wrong in the field, it is a great time to reflect on what’s happening at home.
This is actually step 2 of us getting Reese used to the bike. In these video clips I am going it alone, while my accomplice (Bonnie) video tapes. Reese is doing remarkably well considering the first time out, she barked at the tire pretty much non-stop and has a love affair with barking at moving things.
Reese is wearing a practise harness, the real one will be longer in the back and distribute any pressure more evenly. The D ring that the Walky Dog attaches to will be back further towards Reese's hind end.
The real harness is ready to be picked up and with a few more practises, I think Reese and I will be on the road.
Sunday, 5 June 2011
I had a opportunity to try the Walky Dog, a bike accessory that can make riding with a dog safe and enjoyable. My first dog biking experience was biking with a friends Irish Setters, who are comfortable with the bike and know basic commands like Load up (get the harness on ) Whoa , Left and Right. It was a blast to say the least.
After trying it with the two Setters, we got Reese out, harnessed her up and spent a few minutes walking her beside the bike. Just walking beside the bike was going to be a test, as Reese has always been one to bark at moving objects. Weather it was the vacuum cleaner rolling down the hallway, garage door closing , teeter tipping or anything on wheels, she was sure it needed a talking to. We started by putting the harness on Reese and then attaching her to the bike and we just walked the bike. She barked a little bit, and pulled sideways a bit, but in no time she was keeping a steady distance and pace with the occasional bark. So I decided to get on the bike and ride. Once I got on the bike and started to ride Reese barked the whole time. She only let up when I picked up my speed and she had to concentrate more on keeping up then barking. Surprising though she did not try to pull forward or sideways and did understand when to slow down and turn. I gave the transitions names like “easy” and “left” and “right” but she was really cueing from the bike itself. Heaven knows she couldn’t hear me for the barking.
So I went out and got a Walky Dog attachment for my bike. My friend Monica gave me a harness to use, that belongs to one of her setters. It needs some repair, so while I am waiting for it to get fixed I will work on getting Reese comfortable around the moving bike. Tonight we harnessed Reese in an old tracking harness of Kate’s. Bonnie pushed the bike and I followed along with Reese on leash. I clicked and treated her everytime she made a choice not to bark at the tire. It went remarkably well, she did not bark once, although she did look like she was gearing up to bark, she didn’t. We ended this lesson here and will continue doing this until the biking harness is ready. As always more to come.