My Favorite Training

The value of planned training sessions can not be underestimated. But these are rarely my favorite training sessions.

My favorite sessions are the ones like tonight with Magnus. He went to my human class with me for an hour and half. Even that’s some good training. Tonight I used a piece of paper for him to park it on since I didn’t take a mat. He has to greet people without jumping. He has to be quiet and settle while I listen. He gets plenty of leave it practice since there are usually drinks and purses and what not on the floor by people’s chairs. All in all it’s good practice, but no fun for him at all.

Since he was such a good boy and it was too dark to be safe for a walk we went to our little park. We ducked into the park to play fetch and have a quick run, but it turned into a great training session!

We’ve been working on his stays. He’s doing really well, but we still don’t have much duration. We’ve worked more on distance since he needs to have a 20′ stay for the CGC. The stay was pretty much the last thing we needed to get solid and now I think we’re pretty much ready to test the CGC.

I keep getting off the subject. . . back to tonight. We were just playing fetch and goofing off, but I thought I’d see if I could proof his stay with a toy. He does a really good job of sitting and waiting before I throw his toy, so I started really easy with putting him on a sit-stay and set the toy right in front of him then released him with an “okay, get it!” He broke the first time, but after that we kept working the duration of how long he sat and how far and enthusiastically I tossed it. By the time we left he was doing really well.

It’s not like that’s all that impressive, but it reminded me how much I love our impromptu and real life lessons. I tend to get bogged down in the details and neither of us has as much fun. When I keep it light and playful he really does better. He’s always needed shorter sessions than Maizey and tonight reminded me of how much he needs to play to stay in the game.

Granted I’m not looking for obedience level precision, but I still think I have pretty high standards. I get a lot better work out of him when he doesn’t think we’re working. Plus we both just have a lot more fun!

So what about you? What kind of training do you find best for you and your 4legged friend? Do you use more formal sessions or do you enjoy informal training?

For me tonight’s 4legged lesson is: Keep it fun! Training happens all the time and for my boy the more fun the more learning he does. It’s a lesson I suspect applies to all of us!

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Week 1 Training Challenge: Practice Travel

We joined Ricky and all his 4legged friends for a training challenge.

The challenge is to train once a week outside of your or your pups comfort zone. For week one we did a ‘get ready for the big trip’ run through.

Although not very exciting as far as training challenges go it was helpful to me for we have a family vacation fast approaching that is definitely out of my comfort zone. Ten days camping in South Dakota with 17 members of my family. Try not to all be envious okay?

Really I am looking forward to it, but it is Maizey’s longest trip yet and I want to make sure she is prepared. Things I am looking at as a new experience for her include two Chinese Crested’s and my cousins baby. (I can’t think if she has ever seen a baby before so that should be interesting.) She has never camped before or traveled that far so I know there will be many new things.

Which brings us to our training challenge for this week. I tried to think of things she may need to brush up on and then took her running around with me as much as possible. Things we worked on include her riding in the booster part of her car seat without the crate, some LLW work, sit and down stays while mehusbandy washed the car. (Good new experience with loud noises and busy street) We also worked on her staying in the car alone. (Don’t worry it wasn’t too hot and just for a brief bit at a time.)

"I like this booster since I can see out the windows!"

So while not completely out of our comfort zone it was things she need to practice and it went really well. Thanks for getting us going Ricky!

"Okay I'll stay, but man is it hot out here!"

Next week we have a brand new experience for Maizey that involves milling people, that way she can be ready for the milling hordes when we are camping! But you’ll have to come back and see what it is next Sunday!

Meanwhile check out some really exciting challenges from Ricky or Marie.

"My crazymomlady worries too much, doesn't she know I'm a no fuss no muss traveler?"

Each week of the challenge will include a summary of what we did, feel free to peruse as you’d like, but as it is mostly for my benefit it will appear in my short hand.

TRAINING CHALLENGE WEEK 1
DATE and TIME: Tuesday August 3, 2010 evening
LOCATION: car, gas station, car wash, restaurant parking lot
SKILLS TRAINED: first time in booster without crate, LLW, sit-stays, down-stays, staying calm when crazymomlady is gone w/ mehusbandy and alone in car.
SUMMARY: Did good w/ booster, no complaining settled into down. LLW is miraculously still there. Only a couple back ups then worked fine, with treats. no clicker. L3 LLW 40′ w/ one distraction. Apx 50′ along curb w/ pink treat bag as distraction she paid no attention to it at all. Also worked sit-stays wants to settle into down. Don’t work downs for a while, pay for sits @ food with me working away form her. She stayed in car alone, I walked around corner she barked for apx 20 sec then quiet, I return jack pot through window. Then left again she barked for apx 25 sec but ry came back so got interrupted. Need to work alone time w/ out me.

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Both Our 4Legged Girls Went Traveling

“WELCOME TO OUR NEW HOME!”

Before their crazymomlady spent 2 days sitting dazed and confused in front of the computer screen Maizey and Meeka and their crazy-biped-friends went traveling.

It was a short but fun trip to go visit Dare, Zoe and all of their 4legged and biped-friends.

This was a special treat for me since we got to go as a family. It’s a rare treat that all 4 of us get to take time off at the same time so that made the trip perfect from the start.

It is crazy to me how taking one more pup and one mehusbandy results in so much more packing and so much more stuff! I wish I was one of those people who could travel hundreds of miles with a backpack and hoody, alas I am not. Especially with the dogs I seem to take more than 10 dogs would ever need!

We did some fun training with both girls. I decided to jump on the Susan Garrett recall wagon and try what she has been teaching us all on her blog. More of that to come after the video is edited.

Maizey passed her L2 sit-stay, down-stay and watch tests. Video to come with that too. The thing I was the most proud of was how well she handled herself with the kennel dogs. Sorry to be a broken record but, video in process there too.

While we did plenty of training we also just relaxed and took an awesome hike.

"Look crazymomlady! I can climb a tree!"

This time on our hike Lucy and Penny joined us. They may be the old girls in their house but nothing slows them down!

Lucy

Penny

And the best part of the hike? Having our big girl with us. She did get stiff and sore, but I think it was worth it to her!

"This is as deep as I go!"

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Mugged By A Herd Of Small Children

We went for a walk this evening. In 25 minutes we made it four houses away.

Not an auspicious start to our “walk X number of miles in 30 days plan.” It’s X number of miles because I haven’t got that far in the plan yet to decide how many miles we’ll do.lol Apparently our walking log will look like: Day 1: 400′

Oh well, it was all for a good 4 legged lesson.

So what happened four houses down? We were mugged by herd of children! No, don’t be alarmed no one was injured or too permanently traumatized, they were a very nice herd of children. It started with two, then another little girl came out with her mom. That was interesting because the mom says to me, “Can she pet your dog with out getting her face chewed off?” By that point the first two kids were giving the girls treats and pets so I ‘m thinking, “I hope so or these two little kids are in some serious trouble!”

Slowly three more little kids trickled out and joined the party. So here is me, Meeka, Maizey and FIVE kids all kneeling down on the side walk. Did I mention I don’t have any kids? Yeah, me:no kids. I find when I’m by myself kids really aren’t interested in me, apparently I’m pretty boring. But me and my girls? Now that’s quality kid entertainment!

It went like this: us walking, Meeka perfect loose leash, Maizey on her new harness being a maniac because we are walking toward a scruffy black dog in a fence. Here comes two little kids, running, of course! I see them, I stop, put Meeka in a sit-stay and the kids of course run right up into the girls space, waving their hands and shouting, “Can we pet your dogs? Can we pet your dogs?”

Now here’s is where it get’s interesting. Maizey is still boinging  around and shouting at the scruffy black dog, the scruffy black dog is boinging around and shouting back, the kids are boinging around and shouting at me, Meeka is sitting, but wiggling, a lot. Cute girl.

I answer the kids, “You can pet them, but you all have to be nice.” I don’t think they realized I meant them and the dogs.lol So I told them to ball up their fists, hold them out and put them under the girls noses, then they could pet under their chins. I had to keep reminding Meeka to sit, but she would. Meanwhile. . . Maizey continues her crazy act.(sigh)

So I told the kids to back up two big steps, think “Mother-May-I-” in reverse. It worked! The kids backed up and then I told them to stand still (is that a stand-stay for kids?) and I backed up until Maizey was under threshold and could sit and do a glance “watch”. Then I told the kids to come forward very slowly. I kept cuing the girls to sit and marking it w/ a yes/treat. Soon enough the kids were giving the girls the treats and, thank goodness, everyone was a LOT calmer.

By this time the other kids had trickled in so I asked every one to squat down and we played a crazy game of “hand zen”. Picture the girls in a sit, and 5 little hands held out palm up just out reach above their heads. I place one treat in each little palm and tell them to immediately close their hand. Then I had them sit still with hands closed and when the girls sat and were calm, not nosing towards the treats, one of the little kids would open their hand and the girls could take the treat. If things started getting too wild (of course they were wild! Five kids, two dogs and a me is not a recipe for calm!lol) but if they started getting too wild I just told every one to close their hand and cued a “leave it” to my girls. They did so good! And they had a blast.

Then the kids wanted to see some tricks so I put Maizey on a sit in the grass and showed them Meeka’s wave, and hand shake. That really got them going because then they all wanted to “shake her hand.” So I told them to all get in a single-file line and one at a time they came up and put out their hand for a Meeka hand shake and gave her a treat. It was adorable. Meanwhile I was able to keep working Maizey on being calm and maintaining her sit-stay. The kids kept saying, “Can Maizey do tricks?” Little did they know she was learning the hardest trick of all-self control!

All in all we didn’t get our walk, but their truly was too many great 4 legged lessons to list. For the pups and kids!

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