a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Class Activites This Week

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Class Activites This Week

SUMMARY: What we worked on in class yesterday.

Raw notes primarily for myself and a classmate. Gives just a flavor of what we've been working on since June.

  1. Loose leash walking in a circle, both directions, dogs on both sides for each direction.
    Keep dog's attention on you--if attention wanders, your rate of reward is too low.  If dog moves away from you, turn 180 from direction he's going and walk.  Remember to release and play pretty often.
  2. Always always maintain criteria for exiting the crate. 
    (I've been 99.5% consistent with Zorro.  Lately he seems to have decided that sitting to wait for exit isn't as good as lying down to exit. I think he's just experimenting. We'll get through this.)  (Oh, realized that he doesn't send to his crate very well from more than a couple of feet away--confused because we haven't worked on it. I'll work on it. Maybe.)
  3. Periodically stop and ask for a sit or a down. Work on getting fast responses.
    (Zorro is pretty good on the down almost all the time, but for some reason is confused about sitting and turns it into a down.)  Keep working on gradually introducing distractions (food descending in your hand slowly, etc.).  (Oops. I haven't been.) This week Penni walked closer and closer to the dogs, giving us warning so that we could up the rate of reward.  (Zorro did pretty darned good at paying attention to me after a quick glance away.)
  4. SIDE NOTE: Watch for your dog's brain frying.
    If looks like he's had too much, work loose-leash walking back to the crate for him to get a little rest. (Zorro survived until just about the end of class.  My brain, however...) Per Moe, young dogs are still forming pathways and being shaped by all of their experiences. SHORT training sessions. Can easily do 3 or 5 or 7 sessions through the day of 2-5 minutes depending on your dog.
  5. Step-behinds.  Dog in sit. Stand next to him. Feed treats in front of him. Step back beside his thigh. Keep feeding in front of him. Step quickly across to his other side, keep feeding in front of him, but not if feet move or stands up. Fine if dog's head swings to follow you, but you want dog to always be focusing forward (and it's easier for them to keep their balance).
  6. Line-ups--dog standing, sitting parallel to you, not at an angle or in front or off to the side.
    Moe just demonstrated this, didn't assign or have us do. Goal is to have dog move rear end back towards you.  Hand in collar, keep head in position close to you just as a pivot point, step across (into) muzzle so has to turn head, which should swing butt. Keep stepping across until he moves butt and then reward.
  7. Restrained recalls, 2 each acceleration, deceleration, shoulder turn, front cross into dog, one of each on each side.
    Agility is about fun and fast. You don't want dog walking or trotting to you, but running full out. So quickly get to position and quickly release the dog. If dog won't let you go very far, work on those durations for sit and meanwhile release ASAP just before they're ready to break on their own.  When you throw toy on accels, don't just watch, run to meet dog.  (Zorro is now at least chasing a "lotus" toy with cheese in it. Still won't play with it or anything, but that's progress, and he didn't take off on his own to go exploring.)
  8. Contact trainer board; wobble board or bang game.
    Trainer board: Try to get dog to hop on right up at the end, not in the middle and step/walk to the end.  The instant that all 4 feet are on the board, feet quickly on the end of the board, before the dog has a chance to look up at you; want him focusing on the end of the board.  Ditto bang game.  (Zorro was doing fine then started skewing his back feet away from me off the board. Waited for him to fix it, which he eventually started doing again.)
  9. HOMEWORK: Work on strong touch to target held in your hand.
No class next week. It's USDAA Western Regionals Championship Weekend hosted by The Bay Team, as it is every year.  I have signed up to work just one day.  


  1. Interesting to read and visualize and then compare to the way we (Katie and I) went through puppy training, then obedience training. Some of it was similar. :)

    1. There sure is a base set of things that all dogs (and their Humans) really need to know. I've found that that set applies to just about anything that I'd want to do, including just having a manageable pet. ;-) I enjoyed doing training last year with a nonagility trainer who was excellent and pretty much everything we learned we also worked on in agility foundations. Methods vary from trainer to trainer, but it's all good, and it was good for me to refresh just a "pet dog" mentality as well.