sunnuntai 26. syyskuuta 2010

Kumma 6 months

Kumma is 6 months today! Yesterday he run around the garden with Neeo. Nepsu hurt his front leg and was limping today. Hoppu was not too eager to go for a walk, so I decided to take Kumma alone. As usual, we started our route in the woods. It was so lovely to see how Kumma enjoyed running here and there, everywhere. Pure joy, puppy power. He is extremely interested in birds, wondering why he can't climb a tree. Whenever there is a good moment, I try to hide somewhere and let Kumma to find me. It's lots of fun! There has been more people in the woods than usually, looking for mushrooms. I've been pleased to see how well Kumma has reacted on recalls.

Nice leash walking is difficult to train when having all three doggies with me. Kumma is doing ok, but could do better as there is often a light pull. Today was a good opportunity to focus on this, and not to allow any pulling. I also reinforced heeling on left and right, as well as focus whenever there were distractions (cars, bicycles, other dogs and people).

Contact training: I've started to do stair work with Kumma. He is holding 2on2off position really well, and now also starting to offer this position. I need to think when to add a cue, and what it will be. I've used "pinta" with Hoppu and Neeo, but taking into account their not so consistent contact performance, I think I'll choose something else. Just to have a new positive beginning :)

Kumma's tugging has improved a lot lately. There was a weaker period, and I think it was due to teething, there must have been some pain or unconfortable feeling. When his tugging became stronger, he hit my hands a couple of times. This is something I really hate, so I reacted very strongly even for the smallest hits, and within a couple of days he started thinking and got it.

Hoppu is thinking he doesn't need to go outside anymore if it's below 20 degrees. He is ready to spend the wintertime under the blankets, concentrating on sleeping, food and cuddles. Let's see if he will be an old grumpy grandpa ;)

Agility and balance training can be done differently:

tiistai 21. syyskuuta 2010

Autumn rain

It has been raining for the whole day. Real autumn feeling, walking the dogs in the darkening evening. Light rain. Streets were almost for us only, others stayed inside. Hoppu and Neeo had their coats on, and looked relatively happy and warm. Kumma was 100% happy, trying to go to all directions at the same time. A leash limited his path, and we had several silent moments of negotiation about what kind of speed was allowed.

At home a nice surprise was waiting for the doggies. We had lamb for dinner and guess who were the lucky ones getting meaty bones and other leftovers? Food is rarely wasted in our household, suppose it's the same for most families with dogs.

A week ago we had the 3rd and last day of Vappu's jumping seminar. Topic of the day was bending. I was really pleased to see how well Kumma focused on playing and jumping. It is such a joy to work (= have fun) with him! Bending exercises for advanced dogs were really challenging, and seeing the dogs thinking and trying was great. The more I learn about Susan Salo's jumping method, the more I like it and believe in it. It just makes sense. If only I could push myself to buy pipes and saw them into jump bumps. The thing is that I should emply all kinds of stuff from my car to fit it the pipes. Maybe tomorrow...

"Method" seems to be an important word in agility nowadays. Which handling method are you using? What kind of training method do you use for weave poles, contacts, this and that? I like methods. I like good consistent methods that help me to improve my handling, and allow me to choose a training method that I think best suits myself and my dog. But it's always good to think and check and double check that offered methods are really for you and for your dog. I remember when I got the first handling DVD of Greg Derrett, it felt like many loose ends tied together and I finally understood something what good consistent handling is about. On the other hand I've heard all kinds of advice that would have been a disaster with my IGs. IGs just wanna have fun :) Even if BCs have more built in motivation to work with their humans, I want to evaluate carefully any offered advice and method.

Our Say Yes Recallers e-course is finished. I have learned a lot, and we have plenty of new fun games in our toolbox, embedded in our training plan. We are still mainly training at home, but puppy agility classes will start soon offering good selection of distractions. I'm also planning to train once a week on my own, being able to have veteran agility fun with Hoppu and Neeo, and to start obstacle training with Kumma.

lauantai 18. syyskuuta 2010

Big puppy

My little puppy has disappeared, Kumma is a big puppy now. Looks like a dog, not a teddy bear anymore. 15kg of energy and action. These pics were take a couple of weeks ago.

torstai 9. syyskuuta 2010

Contact action

My next dog will have brilliant perfect 100% reliable contacts. Familiar thinking? With Hoppu and Neeo I used a target with a paw touch, kind of running contact with a target. It worked, sometimes, even pretty often. But not always. Micromanaging contact performance at trials is not motivating, not for a dog, not for a handler. But I do have to praise Neeo's teeter performance, it is fast and reliable. Well, as fast as it can be for a lightweight dog. Thinking - planning - action! I started contact training with Kumma today. My plan is to train 2-on-2-off starting with a simple flat board, without any target.

Very nice walk in the woods today, sunny and warm September day. Kumma was running and exploring, finding his own ways. Hoppu and Neeo usually stay on a path, that's better for their delicate paws. But if there are any real or imaginary signs of a bunny nearby, they become fearless (and deaf). Being sighthounds, they come back when they can't see the target anymore. This combination of delicate elegance and bursting power in a small package is something I particularly love in IGs.