Thursday, November 27, 2008

Last Agility Training for the year

Well last night was the final SAODC Agility training night for the year. An evening of fun relay races and party food.

They had set up two parallel course side by side consisting of jumps set at 300 and a curved flexi tunnel at the end. Each team of 6 ran the course a couple of times and then we all sat down to have food.

Well while we were sitting around I thought I would take the opportunity to take Kenzie out for a bit of a play. She has already down flexi tunnels on a couple of occasions during our normal training session. Somebody else was running there little midget dog on the other course and Kenzie was just brilliant at remaining focused on me and wasn't even interested in the other dog when it ran over to where she was.

Started off sending her through the tunnel and rewarding with either tug or food. Quickly discovered she had a distinct preference for the tug and would snob the food. Any way she was doing really well. Nice confident sends into the tunnel (even better than her masters sister Ness's). I do have to be careful though as she has a tendency to spin and grab my jumper if she is frustrated. We got some quite good distance without me having to baby sit entries and she was zooming through the tunnel.

I tried unsuccessfully to get her to do the jump in front of the tunnel. She would try and run past it to go straight for the tunnel. She did however manage a few if she was centered over the jump but then she would spin before going into the tunnel.

Moved on to stringing two tunnels together. She was just brilliant. The entrance to the tunnel from the other tunnel wasn't nice and yet she did it as smooth as though she had been stringing obstacles together her entire life. Very impressed with my not yet 8 month old munchkin.

By this point I could see Ness was getting ancy at watching so I got her and worked them both. Funny thing is Kenzie was happily following Ness over the jump and through the tunnel and then back over the jump. Once she even offered the next jump.

I came home tickled pink with my baby girl and hold high expectations for her next year when we start getting serious about our agility training. Go Kenzie Panda Bear :).


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sue Ailsby's Training Levels

Well lets see I have been very lazy in training Kenzie as she is pretty easy to manage on a day to day basis with what little commands I have been bothered with. Her extreme obsession for retrieving and chasing her toys when we are out means that there is very rarely a time when she is more than a meter or so from me unless she is off fetching and then its straight out and straight back.

Having said that I made the decision on Monday night to enrol her in classes at the Canine Behavioral School (CBS) for next year. Not that either of us really need to attend to classes for a training perspective but I guess it means she is out and about and it looks to be a good place to train. Now we have signed up there is now the prospect of being "tested" to see if she can go straight into the Gold level class or whether she should start in Bronze.

Given that classes don't start until February I thought I better get cracking on actually working out what she knows and working on bits and pieces with her (other than having her set up at heel which she does without thinking).

The good thing about CBS is that they are manners type classes rather than strictly formal obedience. While there is no doubt I intend on trialling her in the future there is a lot to be said for having a well mannered, confident pet that is a loving and happy companion first and foremost. At the moment she does need to develop confidence if I have any hope of making it in the competition arena with her, especially confidence in people.

Well all that being said I thought I would have a go at Sue Ailsby's Training Levels with her over Christmas as a starting point.

As it says in the introduction to the levels:

"These Levels are written for those who want a coherent training plan. They aren't aimed at obedience competition, or agility, or tracking, or any other particular sport or job. They're aimed at producing a dog who is a willing partner, eager to learn, happy to work, and having the basic civilization necessary to allow her the access she needs to do her job and to allow you the confidence to enjoy being and working with her"

So with that in mind we are starting out at the very beginning.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Photos from the Herding Instinct Test

Well I finally chased up the photos of Kenzie on the sheep from the Herding Instinct Test that Karron took of her. Certainly looked to be showing interest from the photos and she is oh so serious about it.




Saturday, November 15, 2008

Southern Agility 15 November

Well tonight was our second to last agility trial for the year, Ness was entered in MA and OA with little success but I let Kenzie tag along for some socialisation.

She had a great time rumbling with Buddy and sucking up to the usual crowd. She seemed slightly more confident that usual and was approaching people for pats rather than trying to cower away. A lot less stress signals from her then I would usually see but then most agility people are great at ignoring her until she makes the approach.

While we were sitting around I took the opportunity to do some dumbbell and metal article work with her. She is now getting quite reliable at returning the dumbbell to hand (although not with a sit yet). Her metal is improving slowly. She is now at the point where she will confidently and reliably grab it from my hand as long as I am holding it. However when I place it on the ground she struggles.

I did some work on shaping her weaving as well. She will happily wrap 2 poles with correct entries. Need to work on getting independence to this behavior rather than me blocking so she is forced to make the correct choice. Interesting tonight I had food in one hand and her tuggy lead in the other and she would routinely chose the toy over food.

Sharon has kindly lent me her puppy see-saw so tomorrow I'll start working on shaping a 2o/2o behavior at the end of the flat board before introducing her to it moving.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kenzie Photo Session 11 November 08

Some 7 month old photos of her playing with her enduroball and posing in the yard.







Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Kenzie's Benchmark for Duration Heelwork

Well I set myself a task this afternoon to find a benchmark for Kenzie's duration heelwork. I will take the results of a few separate sessions and then use those as a basis for where we are at.

So this afternoon we headed to the local school oval to try for session 1 and I was totally blown away with my little munchkins performance. No visible rewards. No nothing just me and on the first attempt. I did choose to ignore a bit of pogo bouncing in the middle as it was only 1-2 steps before she would get back into proper pace again but she managed 29 seconds until she decided she had had enough and hanging off my sleeve and not letting go was more exciting. During that entire time she didn't drop her head, she was prancing along, pushing me the entire way. To think she is only just a day short of 7 months and to give me that. The most complete, picture perfect, attentive focus. Compared with her sisters 4 seconds on the first attempt and 11 seconds on a second attempt you can bet your bottom dollar which dog I would rather have entered in the ring on Sat night.

Hell Kenzie is going to be an absolute star when it comes to obedience I just know it. In the mean time she is enjoying being a happy go lucky Kenzie Panda Bear.

Little by little LOL

I was just looking over some of my old DOL posts/emails and thought I would tabulate her growth so I could have it all in the one place:

2.4 kg - 11 weeks
4.7 kg - 13 weeks
7.1 kg - 4.5 months (13 August 08) (34cm)
10.3 kg - 5.5 months (19 September 08)
12 kg - ~ 7 months (28 October 08)(42/43cm)
12.1 kg - (17 November 08)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Training Session with Tash

Took the liberty of an extra person to play restrained recalls with Kenzie. She did really well would come flying in to me after the tuggy. I also started her on a stand for exam having her stand and me feeding while Tash approached and circled her. She did some lovely skip sits in front. I also did some change of positions type stuff with having her drop and sit on signal only.

I got Tash do some heelwork with her and the videos of the heelwork are posted below. Her circle heelwork is coming along a treat and her level of focussed attention is just lovely. She is an absolute delight to train :).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Where we are at ....

Well I thought I would make this post a review post of where Kenzie with her training so I can start formulating training plans and making forward progress rather than continually stagnate. I will divide it up into General Household Manners, Formal Obedience Behaviors and finally Agility related behaviors.

First up general household manners
  • Her recall is a work in progress, she likes to stick around so losing her is hardwork. I haven't really pushed her recall to any great distraction level but have made hanging with me and interacting the best thing since slice bread. She is quite happy off-lead and I don't have any concerns about her running away. I will continue to call her when she is playing ball and already coming to me.
  • Crating - well I have fallen into the bad habit of having her sleep on the bed with me. She is pretty content to spend the night on the bed without going anywhere or getting into trouble. I should go back to crating her a few nights a week as she is starting to become noisy in her crate at trials/training unless she has been worked first and is tired.
  • Grooming manners - was something I was meaning to work on and just has slipped by the way. She is ok but not flash at being groomed and having things like nails clipped so I need to continue working at that.
  • Her response to ordinary commands like sit, drop in an informal sense is really quite reliable however she does still need to develop some self control with respect to mouthing and launching herself at me.
  • Socialisation is a continued work in progress. She is lacking confidence in certain situations, especially having to interact with strangers/people patting her. She is fine if they ignore her and she is allowed to approach on her terms but if they make an approach to her then she isn't happy and will try and shy away.
Formal Obedience
  • Her heelwork is starting to come along nicely. She has a lovely setting up at heel behavior and a reasonably strong hand touch. I need to work at increasing her duration heelwork and introducing different paces into the equation. Slow and normal seem fine but she gets a bit to excited at fast pace. She will happily work whether there are rewards (toys/food) visible or just because I ask her to. She will work comfortably under situations of fairly heavy distraction - like the meadows country fair and respond to known behaviors reliably.
  • Her drops and sits at heel are nice although I need to work some more on automatic sits as I have broken them by introducing drop. Stand is the only command that is causing as hassles at the moment and the one she doesn't quite understand yet.
  • Her distance positions are really good and pretty reliable at a distance. She will drop and sit although sit isn't as reliable as drop. I have been using both verbal and hand signal and she will drop on hand signal alone.
  • Formal recall - I have really only introduced this in terms of skip sits in front and finding front rather than from a wait/stay.
  • Retrieve/Articles - she will happily pick up her dumbbell and place in my hand but again there is no formality yet. I have no stay and she won't sit in front on the return. I also am working at having her sit in front and hold it without mouthing. In relation to articles she still isn't super happy about picking up the metal but she did pick it up a few times today off the ground. She will hold it if I hand it to her so the problem area is getting it up off the ground.
  • Stays - Not really started on those yet. Need to start I guess but she will hold position for a while if alongside Ness or when she isn't full of beans.
  • Sendaways - she has been learning to go to her hoop and I can put it out on the front lawn and send her from varying distances pretty reliably. I also introduced her to a box a few weeks ago and within 1 session she was happily offering a dog in box behavior when she had never done a box before.
Agility Behaviors
  • Foundation flatwork/circle work - I need to do more of this. I have done limited amounts and the same problem I experience with fast pace for obedience she starts jumping up when she gets excited.
  • Targetting - she happily targets my hand and I have also introduced her to targeting a disc. The problem I encountered with my last disc session is that she thought picking up the target was more exciting then the treat I had to offer. I haven't tried another session yet so will put that on the list of things to do.
  • Puppy equipment - she has been through the flexi tunnels at training and is a happy camper. She will follow Ness through a dark curved flexi and was then happily running through a different tunnel for her tuggy reward whether she was following Ness through or not. Hoping to borrow my friends puppy see-saw so I can get her use to that as well as finishing off my contact trainer so I can introduce her to a 2o/2o behavior.
  • She has a lovely tug drive and is also an avid retriever.
Well thats enough for my list of where we are at tonight. I am sure I will add to it in the coming days as I think of things that I have left out.