TEAM 1 including the Fenzi course – I am incredibly pleased with the detailed feedback and assistance. Our main focus has been the nose-work so far. We have shaped an alert; a chin-target to the item, and got an actual nose-wiggle at at yoghurt-smeared target (I suspect only dog trainers will understand my squeals of glee).
Combining the alert and the sniff is proving very difficult, however. We are working almost daily on that particular behaviour. It has taken me a little time to get my mechanics on point, and sometimes Fenris throws himself at the work, instead of waiting on his mat for the go ahead signal. Sometimes he offers alerts at random targets, sometimes he actually sniffs out yoghurt and alerts correctly. The teacher recommended we go up to 6 different lids, so it looks more like a choice situation.
We can only keep going, I guess, and hope we get there in the end.
For our other exercises, like position changes, go around a cone, and go out to a target, we are mostly working on stimulus control – i.e. do what I say, when I say so, otherwise wait patiently. (And get rapid-fire cookies to encourage the waiting.) His down<->stand is mostly gorgeous, with all four paws locked. His go-out is on point, almost no matter the distance – and we are getting a wait at the target area, and great position changes ‘over there’. His tucked sit<->kick-back stand needs a little better stimulus control (he prefers to sit), but we are getting a pretty decent duration/distraction proofing of the stand itself.
The backup had some drift but the last attempt was beautiful. (Although a little sluggish occasionally – but he’d been sedated less than 5 hours earlier…)
Recallers – we are doing daily off-leash play in the woods, and his recall is decent up to a distraction level of 4-5/10. Unfortunately his Bring Me is starting to suck more and more with at BEST dropping the stick vaguely within a meter or so of me. Unless I actually have a treat in hand. The collar grab is ok – but it’s never more than that, never enthusiastic, and occasionally dancing an arms length away, especially if he has a toy/stick in his mouth.
Behavioural issues – To the vet for anxiety medication. At least the blood test showed that he’s physically a picture of health. We have been told it can take up to a month to show real effects, but there are some odd things we’ve noticed already. Like – he is more willing to roll around in the grass even on shorter walks, more likely to nap belly up, less likely to wake up late in the evenings (instead he sleeps 8 to 8 in his kennel!) for cuddles. Hopefully it will translate to easier temperament around people – so that training manners will actually work.
Group obedience work – is mostly environmentally focused this time (with all the dogs having issues w other dogs, and F having serious thoughts about people approaching). Mat work was great, focus was great, toys were a bust, but Fenris succeeded at working even for off-body treats. (I.e. I put the treat bag aside, and he could still focus on me, before getting the reward.) He did so well in fact, that one of the other participants approached us (well, her car, but we were next to it), because she’d forgotten what I said about him. F lunged when she was at around 5-10 meters, but I stopped her and we got it under control again.
The second meeting F was a bit more alert to others but we did finalise on sitting beside me (and being rapid fed cookies) while the humans stood in a (social distance appropriate) ring to chat at the end. So that was good.
TEAM 1 course runs for the first couple of weeks in November. We’ll continue working scent, and a little fronts, as well as gather ourselves for a complete run through to get feedback.
All homework videos can be found on my youtube channel: Such as this one which is the final run through.
Recallers; The work continues. One game ca per day – although from October it looks like we’re more averaging one game per three days.
Group Obedience; I will probably still drag my mat and team work out there, but with the medication starting to kick in, we’ll work on dealing with passing and approaching people too.