Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Kipling's Training Journal: Part Five

It's been a while since I posted a training journal entry for Kipling (2 weeks), my goal was to step back and evaluate what we're working on and how we're doing on a weekly basis - I've already missed a couple of weeks!

Kipling is now 21 weeks - though not yet 'technically' five months old. AKC is very literal with dates for calculating age - 20 weeks should technically be five months old, and 24 weeks six months old - but for AKC (CKC too) a month is a calendar month - Officially Kipling will be five months on Saturday.

Kipling measured in at 19.25" by the wicket last weekend at the Old Colony trial. He stood beautifully while I had several people walk up and do the measurements with me several feet away from him. He held his wait and he never moved for the 'measurement officials'. This is pretty good training for holding still in the breed ring too - stand there while people touch you. We've done a few of those sessions as well where strangers go over him. Kipling is massively teething this week so I'm not messing with his mouth - he's definitely not keen on teeth exams this week and I'm respecting his discomfort.
Kipling continues to be pretty fearless. Here he
is sitting on the end table at the hotel two weeks
ago. On Facebook the caption for this image:
"Good Lord, he's part mountain goat". Alternate 
caption "Not your mother's table lamp"

I found a photo of Teller at 20 weeks (as a tourist at the Southern Berkshire Golden Club's Agility trial in 2008) which inspired me to take (or attempt to take) a similar picture of Kipling at 20 weeks to compare them. I didn't like the photos I lined Kipling up in front of the snow fencing at the Springer trial in Westfield and decided I didn't like the resulting positioning. So I took another set here last Monday - hard to take stacked shots of puppies using the timer feature on a cell phone camera. Never the less....

Kipling has been getting more freedom - and he's coming along way. He's now able to settle and chill with the BIG dogs and the cat. Kiping was awesome in the hotel room last weekend - really earning his stripes as a road warrior I only needed to kennel him (in his SportPet pop-up) at bedtime. At home he'd really like to chase Q when Q taunts him (mostly when Q is hungry and starts his attention-seeking behaviors), but is offering incompatible behaviors that I've added to his repertoire instead of chase - he looks at me and downs automatically instead of chasing...

Loose leash walking
I'm pleased to report that Kipling is just a peach to walk. He does not pull, he's working with me. I've had a couple instances where he gets behind me and that's when the comfortflex harness really doesn't work. I need to put some more value into leave it.
Dear Kipling, Ann is a super-nice lady and yes she has
meatballs in her pocket - but she's not the one who called you.

Leave it/Drop it.
Somehow I managed to teach a phenomenal 'drop it' and a not so great 'leave it'. As in he dropped the dried out flattened amphibian off-leash in the dog park last weekend while we were out for a play session, but he pulled up another chunk of my lawn this afternoon during a retrieve session (which he promptly dropped when asked).

Boy was this an eye-opener this weekend at the dog park with other dogs, his recall isn't so hot. I never used the word 'come' unless I was absolutely sure that he would come (from a wait for example, or with Murphy on a recall - Murphy came/Kippie came) - I had about an 80% success rate on his name alone. I would have expected better than that, but it was nice to see that puppies of comparable ages were in the same general percentage. The good news is that when one puppy came, they all came - so there was peer pressure there. Also interesting is that on a few of the recalls Kipling came on the first call - but went to someone else (the closest human) and sat there waiting for his cookie because he was of course such a brilliant lad. Too much generalization there Kippie-Doo! Note to self: bring meatballs to next playgroup...
I have not yet introduced a table behavior, but Kipling is
offering it a lot!

Foundation Skills
Kipling had one more session on the plank last week - which went really well. Some nice speed on the plank and some good mistakes too, which he recovered from easily and quickly and came back stronger (and faster). That post is here; Yesterday I showed Kipling a straight tunnel - no big whoop, just run through it. Kipling (clever little fellow) repeatedly offered a 2o2i (two out two in) at the end of the tunnel. Gallop, gallop, gallop, halt!

Dog Show Skills
Good stay boys!!!
With the eye and assistance of my dear friend Pam (thank you Pam!), I got a bit of homework with Kipling on stacking and gaiting. First I was doing too much movement of feet by moving his feet and needed to manipulate his position via the elbow, specifically reaching over the back for his left side and standing over him. Secondly as he was gaiting he was looking at me and throwing off his gait (he's also been working some puppy heel work) - he can learn both but I need to get a good history of reinforcement on the gaiting ahead of me. In two sessions he's come along way and I think we'll have some good improvement to show Pam next time we see her. He's also 'getting' the stop and stand/stack trick too - at one point offering a trot into stand last night - which was super cute actually.  I think he's also telling me he does not like the chain conformation choke that I used with Teller (fine hex chain) I ultimately bought Teller a parachute nylon setup that I have around here somewhere - I need to find it!

Coming along nicely and generalizing well into new locations. I'm reliably getting stays in new places and for increasing duration. He's holding his downstay for meals - even at hotels when dinner is late!

In General
I'm getting what I'm asking for and he's really ready to up the difficulty and distractions. He's walking around agility trial grounds confidently, he's greeting strangers appropriately, he's developed a few favorite people that he's a little over the top to see and it's funny the people he's deemed favorites. This week I hope to add some fieldtrips and some difficulty to his workload.

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