Thursday, May 10, 2012

Rip's Training Diary #2: We love J & J dog supplies!!

Training a new dog new things is an excuse for me to visit one of my favorite online stores, J&J Dog.  They sell many, many fun things for  "performance" people.  The best thing (for me) about J&J is that they're located in a city about 45 minutes from my house, and they pack and ship quickly so my UPS ground orders sometimes arrive the next day!

My order this time consisted of 2 ring gates with stantions,  2 REAL fleece octopus tug toys, and one stuffing-less beaver toy whose belly can be loaded with treats.

So what have I done with all of this?  We've played much tug as a reward for working, and Rip has become a stantion-pawing fool.

The past week we've been working on:
  • Touching the stantion with our paw.  Rip is an over-achiever here, and sometimes when I say "hit it" he'll paw the stantion with both paws, nearly knocking it over.  I've had to start clicking for less rather than more, which is a bit odd for me after years of encouraging more effort in Ziggy.
  • Retrieving the dumbbell.  I'm using the clicker here, too, making him hold it for longer each time.  I've even started to throw the dumbbell (I have to hold his collar, as the dumbbell is FUN and Rip still has little self-control) - then I call him back to me and have him climb on my lap to deliver it.
  • We've also been working on holding the leather and metal articles.  I'm using the clicker here again.  We're just beginning so I'm rewarding for the pick-up and a very short hold.
  • Heeling games - he's getting better/quicker at circling by my side and goes between my legs when walking with only a very slight hand cue now.
  • Down, and backing up while in down.  I'm trying a new training technique here, as the way I had been working on it was not really producing great results.  Now I'm using a target stick instead of my hand to get him to back up, and throwing the treat behind him when he's correct, to encourage him to move away from me.  Even though his backing while down isn't great yet, his already fast down has become even faster!
  • We've also been playing a bit at finishes, but not as much work here.  He offered an around finish the other day when he wanted my attention, though, which I found encouraging.
Next week I'll continue to work on our current list of obedience games, and hope to add in a bit of agility training a couple of days.   I'll let you know how it goes!

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