Remember these nights

I didn’t bring my camera, but I don’t suppose it would have mattered as it couldn’t have caught what was so special about tonight.

Ranger and I went over to the school for a long line run and since there was some kibble in my pocket I threw in some training exercises in between. Ranger worked fantastic dragging the leash with sit and down stays – without and without recalls. He was happy and focused the entire time.

I think for the next little while I will just make his walks a little bit longer and insert a few mini training session within them. He really seemed to appreciate the break to run, smell, roll on the ground like he’s having a seizure, and generally act goofy.

Although he didn’t want to have anything to do with retrieving tonight…but I’ll take what I can get.

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Training

Over the last couple days Ranger has been enjoying only dog status. We’ve walked each morning on the trail; however he’s sticking a little closer than normal on account of the deer. You’d swear he thinks he’s 15lbs sometimes. We always stop at the far end to give him a chance to sniff around (and cover himself in dead grass from last year).

running up the hill after chasing a pheasant

We’ve done training session each day working on our known commands. He loves working and gets so excited when the treat pouch comes out. Will even told me today that he had Ranger weaving through his legs for a treat the other night which makes me smile. It’s nice seeing his tricks transfer to other people.

It still seems to be hit or miss with his front leg placement in the down. If he lays down incorrectly a couple time he gets frustrated at not being right so we move onto something else, return, and jackpot if he gets it right. Hoping it sticks a bit more for this weekend’s class.

We started working on the first step towards him learning LIMP. He will offer his front leg while in the standing heel position, but sometimes tries offering the closer leg. Something more to work on.

dog and cat cuddling on couch

The evenings are spent relaxing on the couch and watching TV. Usually with one or two cats cuddled in too. Today was awful rain, but hoping for a better day tomorrow.

 

 

Day of Ranger

As I promised him, today was about Ranger. Woke up early to let him out and have breakfast before snuggling back under the covers from cuddles.

When we finally decided to venture out, we took the trial behind the house. Even though Ranger was on his long line, he stuck closure than normal which I think was due to the previous deer sightings.

Later on we started working on Crate Games. Ranger has a good CRATE command, but I want him to be more comfortable in it and Susan Garrett really shows how fun you can make it and the drive it can build. I used cheese and slowly built up to him leaving the crate and going back in. He seemed stressed though, and I think before moving on we will work on good association with the crate before trying again.

He won’t be crated here again, but if I am going to trial him with agility or take part in other sports, I’d like him comfortable in the crate.

Afterwards Ranger got a huge reward, RMB time!

dog eating bone

Even though it was cold out, the sun was warm.  Ranger was extremely happy to settle down and spend an hour outside chewing down his bone. Sometimes I’m not sure how his teeth handle it, but he enjoys them so much that until that time comes he can enjoy.

(Until it’s been cleaned enough it will stay outside. Even now as I type Ranger’s potty time has turned into another chewing session)

After dinner we took a walk down to the school to use their tennis courts. I walked him on the right on the way down and he tried ducking behind to cross over quite a few times. It seems if he gets behind in the heel at all he gets confused and tried to get where he feels more comfortable.

When we got to the tennis courts we did some stays/waits, and recalls. For the most part he was good, but he was definitely distracted and broke. When he did, I put him back into position and this time made a shorter distance so he could succeed. Then he played.

dog on bed

Ranger also got all his meals from his food dispenser and it seems that even without dog-dog tiring, we’ve managed to tire him out mentally and physically.

Back to training

With Sophie the foster dog away on a week trial (and hopefully there to stay) I finally have time again to work with Ranger. Took him out to Gauge’s house to have some off leash steam release and apparently it was due. He tends to look loose and clumsy at slower speeds, but when he run flat out he is so seamless. Every part of him moves in perfect motion and he looks like a completely different dog. Until he gets close enough and you can see his runner’s high glazed eyes and flapping tongue.

dogs running

There’s that tongue I was talking about

Tonight we did a run through of what we already know. He had forgotten OTHER PAW when we tried last month so I want to try at least running through them all every week or two. He remembered everything we went through and he’s now happy with four leg weaves with me stationary. Hard to work on them with movement in the living room, but will try when I’m at agility next weekend.

Upping the requirements on passing me things now. Ranger now needs to put it into my hand. No more trying to catch before it hits the ground. A couple times he dropped the Kickaroo (Shady was NOT impressed we were using HER cat toy) at my feet and looked at me expectantly for his reward. I didn’t make eye contact and he quickly picked it up and shoved it into my hand forcefully. We’ll keep going with this for a bit before upping it again to holding it in my hand until I ask him to release.

BETWEEN is working better and he will now take position from a WAIT. A couple times he tried ducking in when I wasn’t expecting it. I barely kept my footing.

Also worked on proper front leg DOWNs. He still doesn’t quite get it I don’t think as he’ll do a bunch correctly and then a bunch incorrectly. Still rewarding for only proper downs and putting his leg how it should be on ones that aren’t.

Also this week I must work on right sided LLW….otherwise I’m gonna get it on Sunday (and rightfully so)

And now, snuggles.

dog sleeping

Ranger’s first foster dog

Kind of like getting a pet for a kid, right? The kid does what they can to help, but in the end the majority of the work falls on you.

two dogs sitting looking at the camera

Today our very first foster dog from Home To Stay Dog Rescue came. Sophie is an owner surrender as they weren’t able to meet her exercise needs. She is under a year old and a mixture of what they believe is border collie and german shepherd. So far she’s been extremely well behaved with Ranger and the cats. Ranger seems to like having a dog mate to play with and it’s nice to help out the rescue community in the area.

dog sticking its tongue out at another dog

Ok, maybe nor always well behaved.

Having Sophie here will allow Ranger to burn off some physical energy and allow a new avenue of training: working him with another dog in the area, AND working another dog while he maintains position waiting for his turn. It will be interesting to see what hurdles we find.

Mini Lessons of the Day

Today for the first time in ages I have nothing to do. No classes. No doctor’s appointments. No picking up the lil’ man from school, or visiting dogs to wrangle. I might head out later to see if I can catch a glimpse of the snowy owl that has been hanging around one of our local beaches, but days like today give the perfect opportunity to hold multiple mini training sessions with Ranger. 

Lesson 1: 

After a short warm up, we worked on non-verbal CCW TWIRL. I would say that 95% of the time he is working well turning in that direction, but occasionally he is still getting himself too excited and offering a bunch of different behaviours. Today it was going to his mat and then trying to climb the rubbermaid container in the living room. We had some solid twirls before we moved on. 

The next task was having him stand between my legs (entering from behind) and hold the position. I started by putting myself in a door way which really cut down on his ability to bypass me. After a few tries from both directions we moved slightly into the room and had some success, but I think it was pushing him too fast as he got too excitable. Move back into the doorway to end on success.

Finished with a quick game of It’s Yer Choice until we ran out of treats and he figured dog food wasn’t worth working for.  

Lesson 2: 

We started with some more work on twirl. He’s willing to complete the behaviour with hand signal, but perhaps will look at only asking for three repetitions before moving onto something else. 

Also worked on him standing between my legs and the command will be BETWEEN.  We started in the doorway again, but moved out to the middle of the room halfway through. He continued to find the mark, but started to almost overshoot the behaviour (too much dog in front of me). Started feeding the treat lower and it made it better. Even started walking with him keeping position around the living room.

Brushed up a bit on our ‘back in heel’. He remembered it quick with four really solid backs without swinging his bum around.

…………………………..

Ranger also got a run out with Poppy to burn some energy. About an hour with lots of zooming through the slushy snow and fighting over a chuck-it ball. He still tends to bark a lot, but worked on interrupting the barking fits and taking him out of play.  

Agility in five sleeps!

Today I got the call I have been waiting for; agility class starts on Sunday which means Ranger and I will have our weekly training session, homework, and an outlet for his energy. The six week course will work on creating drive and focus, tricks, advanced targeting work, tunnels, jumping skills, controlled walking, introduction to heeling, retrieving, recalls with distractions, sphinx downs, and advanced stays.

To say I am excited would be an understatement. While Ranger does have great drive for food reward (sometimes toooo much), being able to increase his focus and impulse control will not only help at class, but at home and in public as well. Plus, recalls with distraction AND advanced stays are two things that I wanted to learn.

It will be interesting to see what our weaknesses are in this class as the only issue we’ve had in previous classes was his enthusiasm (smashing the ladder for foot awareness exercises and knocking the stool into next week). To be fair, he makes me look a lot better than I am and we had a previous beginner obedience and beginner agility class to work from.

Image

In other news, Ranger had a visit last Wednesday from Labnado and they spent the entire day playing hard, and sleeping hard. By the time his friend left both dogs were ready to crash and both spent the night curled up in their dog beds at home. It’s nice to see the effect exercise and stimulation (both his brain AND his body gets a work out from another dog) has on him. I can take him for a run at the baseball field, but I can’t run all over with him and really tire him out.

Sat down with BF and explained all the positives having another dog in the house would bring, and finally got the approval to apply as a foster home! This makes me over the moon excited. Before we got together I used to adopt senior (and I mean senior) cats to give them a hospice type environment. It meant a warm place to stay, good food, clean litter, and somewhere to relax in their final years.

By adopting older cats I was able to help more animals (in the last 4 years I have adopted three seniors who were aged 17, 17, and 16 at adoption and were 18.5, 18, and currently have the last at 18 and still going slowly but strong). It was hard on me, but BF had a really hard time when he was around for the final vet visit. I had agreed to stop taking in older pets, but that the compromise was fostering dogs. This way I could help multiple animals throughout the year, but he wouldn’t have to say a final goodbye.

We’ve chosen a specific rescue who provides all required items (food, vet care, clothing, etc) and only requests that you give the dog love, security, and a family environment. We’re waiting to have the home visit before we are approved…the suspense!

ImageGimme all the treats

Tonight we pulled out the bait bag and had a refresher course on basic commands. There is a competition on www.dogforums.com each week to train your dog a different trick/command. If the trick is already known, then you must add something to it. This week is BOW so I wanted to make sure he remembered before we start jazzing it up.

I also started Ranger foot targeting my boot so we can learn to have him walk with his front feet on mine. I saw it HERE We got the targeting down pretty good within the session and I am going to review the video some more before we trying again tomorrow. We also started lure training the CW TWIRL since SPIN  is CCW. We started with food lure and phased it out with the treat at the end after click.

Eeeeee, so excited about taking classes again!