Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rip's Training Diary #1: Rip meets Bridget

I realize that my blog has been very Ziggy-focused lately.  Mainly, that's because my dog life has been very Ziggy-focused lately.  But Z isn't the only dog in the house, and I realized a few weeks ago that Rip will be 2 years old at the end of May.  Hmm, maybe I need to get more serious about his training?

While I train Rip a decent amount, our training thus far has been a little haphazard.  We've done a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  He knows a few things all the way, and lots of things half-way.  I am finding it hard to chart a path for Rip, so I just work on things as the feeling strikes me.  I need help.  I need structure.  Rip has the potential to be a GREAT performance dog, and I don't want to mess it up!

A few weeks ago, I went to another training seminar by Bridget Carlsen.  I went to one of her seminars 2 years ago, and used some of her training ideas on Ziggy.  This latest seminar was even better than the first (and I really liked the first) - I learned a lot, and I really like her motivational training style.

Then it occurred to me.  Bridget only lives two hours away.  Why not have her help Rip and I?  No reason why not to, other than the inertia of my own laziness and lack of planning.  So I did it - I contacted Bridget and set up a lesson time.

On Friday morning, I loaded Rip into the car for the trip to the Chicago exurbs.

The lesson was great!  We worked on a little bit of everything we know so Bridget could get a feel for who are and what we can do.  I say "we" because this is absolutely about training me, too - Rip just does what I ask (most of the time).

So what did I learn?  
Rip has some nice heeling, but he gets bored easily, so I need to keep fun with lots of tricks & games.  Rip really toned down during the lesson - most likely because he was unsure in a new place.  This means I need to work on ways to quickly re-engage him and put him into drive when things are new.  Rip only has 1/2 hour of on task work in him -- meaning next time we'll  split the lesson in 2 parts with an hour rest in between, or we'll just do 1/2 hour.  Oh, and Bridget thought Rip was really cute -- especially when he started to offer random "how about this one" behaviors while clicker training the stantion touch.

And what's our homework?
We left with a long list of tins to work on, including:  dumbbell hold, getting Rip to move his whole body laterally, twist & spin, building value in a target, heeling with tricks, touching a stantion with with his paw, going out to and sitting in a box, driving more in our finish right, and a more reliable kick-back stand.  Oh, and I also want to teach him to bark on command.

Do you think we have enough to work on?

My plan is to keep a weekly or bi-weekly training diary on this blog to help keep me on task...

This is what happens when Rip really has to think and work.
He slept the whole way home.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you have TONS to work on!

    Jimmy is like Rip...a 30 minute lesson is about his limit.


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