We started out our lesson by not having any hot dogs to use so use rolled roast beef slices (I didn’t have any complaints from Clancy). Once I arrived at Maggie’s, I realized that my good clicker wasn’t in my bag, my treat pouch was still in the fridge at home, so I had to take a breath and regroup so as not to get flustered about everything.
We started out our lesson last night with heeling work. Right now we are going slow with small steps, getting Clancy to really learn to drive with his rear. I am holding a whole hot dog in my left hand, letting him get small bites, while I take slow, very short steps. we are only working in lines with a left about turn and an about turn. Clancy is really getting the hang of it, but while he is driving with his rear it is also wobbling all over the place. So, this week Maggie lined up broad jump boards to create a lane for us to heel in and for him to feel something to help get his rear more steady and in line. Clancy is really doing well with his heeling and driving really strong.
I haven’t put a focus with Clancy on Heel Position, so we want to start to focus on getting him to know where the RZ’s are (re-enforcement zones) in location to my body, which are the front position, heel position, and the right side position (which is used more in agility, but we will use it and train it more later on). Maggie formed a three-sided square with the broad jump boards turned on their side. I stood behind the front board with a front box in front of me and one end propped up on the broad jump board. I started by leading Clancy into the front box and getting him used to sitting in it, which he did pretty readily. Then I stepped in front of him and then by placing food on his nose led him over the broad jump board and into heel position. Which I rewarded him with five treats while keeping my body standing up straight and not looking at him. This is to get him used to a side view of my body as Clancy wants to look at my eyes, so he needs to get used to other views. After we did this several times, Maggie held him about 10 feet behind the front box and I called him into it and had him sit and then rewarded. Again, my boy is pretty stinkin’ smart and catches on very quickly.
I didn’t bring my socks since there were no hot dogs, but Clancy is loving the two toy/sock game. He is grabbing the socks more and holding them longer when I tug on them, so he is getting the concept of tugging. I told Maggie that he is now stealing my socks, which made her happy that he is associating them with the game. So instead Maggie used sticks, which are probably better to Clancy than the socks even. Maggie sat in a chair and got Clancy to tug with a stick on her right side a little bit and then had him play and tug on a second stick on her left side. Then she had Clancy sit in front of her and take the stick, which he did readily. Next she had him hold the stick for several seconds and the gave him the “out” command. So, we are to do this several times a night while watching TV or whatever and get him used to the “hold” and “out” commands.
We have our homework laid out for us. I love working with this dog, he is so pliable in training about pretty much everything and relaxed when we are on break. Such a difference in temperament from the girls and starting a dog the right way from the beginning instead of having to re-train everything we did.