Sunday, August 28, 2011

Kipling's Training Journal: Part Four

We're stuck inside today with the effects of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene. We're very lucky to have just rain so far - but as I understand it, the bulk of the storm is still 100+ miles south of here and the big winds and heavier rain will pick up this afternoon and evening. Perfect time to update Kipling's training journal!

Kipling is 19 weeks today, he measured 18" at the withers yesterday morning. I joked that he's now out of the 16" (AKC jump height) class. The cutoff for the 20" jump height is 22"
Kipling wearing Teller's Cool-Coat (Saratoga Horseworks).
Think he's got some growing to do!
at the wither. The breed standard for dogs is between 23" and 24" at the wither so Kipling has a lot more growing to do - and should not end up in the 20" class. If anyone is wondering, according to the breed standard bitches should stand between 21.5 and 22.5 inches. The breed standard is here: http://www.akc.org/breeds/golden_retriever/

Kipling watching Fisher the PWD and modeling his
ComfortFlex Harness (purple) size medium.
So the measurement means (to me) that he's grown 1/2" in the last two weeks and that even though he'll only need a single measurement for a permanent height card he's really not at all phased by judges getting close to him on the table (touching, moving feet, etc) while I'm several feet away.

Kipling's correctly sized ComfortFlex arrived on Monday - he's firmly a size medium - I tried to get ahead of myself with a size medium/large thinking we might be able to stretch two sizes into one by splitting the middle - not so much.

The boys and I went on a couple of pack walks this week - all three boys out for a walk at the same time, greeting people along the walk, ignoring other dogs and people who weren't interested in interacting with two BIG and one mini golden retrievers.

Continuing that theme I had them all out for potty walks together at the hotel this weekend - particularly handy when I got locked out of my room several times (stupid card-keys)! It saves me a lot of time in the morning to get them all pottied at the same time.
Patiently? waiting for dinner.

Kipling's wait is now sufficient to enforce in another part of hotel routine - while I'm making their dinner (or breakfast) the boys need to wait on the bed, in a down - silently - for the duration of the meal preparation. The also must maintain their stay while I put all three bowls down and then release the dogs (in order of seniority - Murphy then Teller and THEN Kipling).

Kipling slept in a pop-up crate Friday night at the hotel. If he's trustworthy in there (and he seems to be) that means one less heavy object that I need to pack for trial weekends. I think he'll still be in the heavier and sturdier Noz crates at trial sites - but it's very easy to pack one NOZ crate and five pop-up crates (two for the trial site for the BIG dogs and three for the hotel if we need to leave them in the room to go to dinner, etc).

Look, It SLEEPS!
This was an oncall week for me - which always means a little extra chaos - less sleep, weird hours of sleep, dropping what I'm doing at the chirp of a pager....On call weeks I generally don't have a lot of time for formal training sessions and this week was no exception. Despite the informal nature of our week, Kipling had a lot of really fantastic successes. He saw the plank for the first time on Sunday and a I introduced the teeter with what was supposed to be a bang session on Tuesday. We're still going with the 'let puppy be a puppy" theme so I'm more than happy with the successes we got this week.  In informal sessions worked some play/tug games, a couple of retrieving sessions and then worked house manners and daily routine stuff with the pack.

Kipling is getting (and has earned) a lot more freedom in the house. He's not teathered to me as much, he's learning to settle out with the BIG dogs. Being off the tether and out of the expen does not mean that you have to wrestle and play (with the BIG dogs, with the cat, etc) - this has been one of the hardest lessons I've had to impress upon Kipling, and it's FINALLY paying off.

One of the things that is mandatory in my house is that dogs don't get to be in the kitchen when I'm cooking or preparing the dog's meals. It's a safety issue for everyone involved - but mostly for the sake of my knees. I toss treats 'out' when the dogs set themselves up on the other side of the threshold. Dogs gravitate to where they're reinforced - Kippie watched the other dogs getting free cookies and assimilated the good behavior. Kipling got partial credit for this particular 'out' - half on each side of the step, but extra credit for offering a bi-level down without looking completely ridiculous (even with one flipped ear).


Friends are FUN!
I've been getting Kippie out a bit to meet and greet other dogs. He needs to learn that dogs come in colors other than yellow. We had a play date here on Tuesday with Gus (BC mix) and Kippie met and played with Ann's PWD puppy Foxxy.

This week - more focus on stays and waits - particularly out of sight stays in higher levels of distractions. Also, I'm hoping to find Kippie a CGC test :-)

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