Last weekend I met Jen and Donna for a training session. We worked the adult dogs for 2 hours and then got the puppies out to play. Jen filmed Soleil doing a couple of restrained recalls and some flatwork.
I have the planks ready to begin Soleils running contact training. I can't believe she is going to be 7 months old this weekend!!!
I've begun proofing her stays with distractions and so far she has done very well. This morning we went to Mary's house and Soleil had good solid sit and down stays while Mary was working and playing tug with Tangle (6 month old BC puppy) about 20 feet away.
We have a month off from competition. After week three I am starting to go through trialing withdrawal. However, we've been fairly busy doing lot's of trail runs in the morning, hiking on weekends, and some training. Summit hasn't actually gotten a lot of training except for a couple of drop-ins we did to proof contacts. Soleil though has been working hard on foundation and her recalls while off leash on a hike.
Her training is coming along SO WELL that I want to share a video of her weaving 12 poles! She is just so amazing for only 6 1/2 months old!
Ok, so the real story is Jen and I had just finished a training session with Summit and Bode and I asked Jen if she wanted to see Soleil's weaves (it was a joke). Of course Jen fell for it (I think) and said, "Wait, I must get this amazing act on film!"
Does Soleil look small for 6 1/2 months? She still seems so tiny but then I'm used to Border Collies.
So what Soleil and I have really been working on....
Proofing sit and down stays - increasing duration and adding distraction
Table games! The table is now at 16" and I am withholding reward until she offers a down. I need to move the table from the sunroom to outdoors because when its dinnertime and I'm gathering up the dog bowls from the crates, she immediately runs to the pause table, jumps up and lays down... waiting .... too cute!
Lot's of handling on the flat. I'm using two traffic cones (and if you've watch MEB's DVD, you'll know what we're doing). Also using jump wings for turns on the flat. She is getting MUCH better at recognizing which side to come to and has pretty much stopped crossing behind me.
Recalls to heel and circle work
Restrained recalls (on the flat and through a straight tunnel)
I ordered a Ready Treat from Clean Run and will start plank work this weekend. I'll start with a plywood plank about 24" wide and 8' long. I'll use this until we've worked up to 16" and then will transfer to the full dogwalk (lowered to 16"). But that will be several months from now.
One thing I've noticed different about Soleil (vs. the BC's at this age) is she can be easily distracted by her environment. When we train in a building or the house, she is 100 percent focused. When training outside in the back field, she can be distracted by strange noises (car door slamming for example) or movement (squirrel running across the fence). Many times she'll alarm bark at a strange sound. Most of the time, I can get her back but sometimes it's too much and we'll simply call it good and go back in the house. What is interesting is she can be ringside at a busy agility trial with hundreds of distractions going on around her (movement and noise) and stay 100 percent focused. Possibly a fear period she may be going through?
Summit hasn't been getting as much training but I have been working on some specific skills with him. Convergence has been our main goal. Not just on a serpentine but lot's of recalls followed by pushes. He is doing so well considering how difficult this skill used to be for him.
Also working on recalls over jumps at depressed angles.
After not having worked contacts in 8 months (other than those he saw at a trial), we are proofing the release again. After Nationals, I pretty much broke his 20/20. We did a drop-in at the Jeffco Fairgrounds last week specifically to train contacts. It was a fun course and we got to work lot's of different skills. Here is a video.
The course ended at the tire and after that I was making it up as we went; wanting to get in lot's of contact reps.
Our next trial is the 31st-2nd in Windsor at an indoor soccer field. Until then, we'll be training and hiking and taking advantage of the strange 60 degree weather in December.
Saturday Summit, Bode (Summit's younger brother), and Soleil went for a hike at Coot Lake. The boys were crazy and running through mud, weeds, and the edge of the lake. Guess who kept up? I brought home a muddy and burr infested very happy Sheltie girl (who promptly got a bath and blowdry). The biggest surprise was when she followed the boys into the lake. She got the zoomies and ran back and forth into and out of the water (along the edges). She seemed to think it was all grand fun! Later we posed the three dogs on a park bench. Soleil decided her sit stay was long enough and jumped off the bench in the first picture.
"Ok, fine.... I'm a very busy Sheltie girl but I'll stay for a picture!"
I've been slowly working through the stuff from the MEB Foundation videos. The list is getting long... we certainly don't lack for training ideas. Soleil is doing well with the teeter bang game, she offers to jump up on the pause table for a game of tug. Now I'm waiting for her to offer the down to begin the tug game. We are proofing sit and down stays. She will let me circle her and jog away while she holds position. Also spending time building lots of value for her release cue.
I purchased the Ready-Treat device from Clean Run yesterday. I will train her to drive to the RT on the flat and then start plank work. I will need to purchase a video camera so I can document our running contact sessions and watch them in slow motion. I've been carefully observing her running stride on the flat while she's out running with the other dogs in the back field and on hikes.
Here is a video that Mary took of restrained recalls through a straight tunnel. We decided to end the puppy training session with something fun. Mary cut it out of the video, but I am playing a game of tug with Soleil after each recall through the tunnel. I am not training tunnels yet, we just thought the dogs would like a variance on the restrained recalls on the flat.