14 weeks

August 28, 2009

Well I am back from Sweden ad even though I had a good time I really missed my dogs!!  After 10 days away from Summit we had some training to do.  I am still extremely happy with him and I can’t believe how focussed he is, I still have not found anything he would choose over food and toys, kids come close but he will always choose to work with me which is great.

Our major focus is still on building great attitude and drive for each and every behavior and skill he learns.  It is just so easy to go through the motions teaching and playing all the foundation games while building on mediocre desire.  Susan Garrett has a great Acronym DASH which stands for Desire, Accuracy, Speed, Habitat.  The acronym stresses the important of building desire before accuracy and accuracy before expecting speed then changing your environment.  DASH is a great thing to keep in mind during any training session and throughout the upbringing of your puppy.  The tricky part is defining “desire” .  Does desire mean that the dog likes to work with you, take food and take toys?  Or does it mean that the dog will do anything to work with you and is crazy about taking toy and treats.  I am keeping my “D” criteria as high as possible before building any accuracy.  Where I have seen dogs lacking in the “speed” department it is due to weak desire from the start.

Everything I do with Summit and each training session we have I am re-evaluating his “D” and asking myself if it could be better….of course it can always be better.  So a lot of our sessions are soley to build more desire for work and playing with me.

Of course we have learned many other things along the way 🙂 We can do perch work, hand targets, roll over, puppy yoga, box games, balance discs, yoga balls, puppy grids, playing on planks and tippy boards and our control positions are really good.  Our major focus this past week has been recalls with distractions and retrieving.  I will post some retrieving video up as soon as I can.

Likely due to working so much on his desire our recalls have been so impressive.  We can now recall off other dogs, other puppies, visiting people and children and even food and toys.  Yesterday I accidentally called him while he was peeing and he came running at me forgetting all about what he was doing 🙂  We have been working on throwing cookies then telling him to “get it” then when he is a couple feet from the food I will recall him and reward with a tug toy.  I have yet to call him without that perfect puppy running as fast as he can to get to me.

All the border collie people keep saying “just wait…” but I really will be surprised if he becomes a terror.  Even at agility practise he watches the fast dogs for a second or two then offers me his perfect attention and is ready to work.  The only problem we need to work on is his startline behavior.  We have been building so much desire and drive while holding position that he has made it a habit to vulture and he practically has his chin on the ground 🙂

We are off to the mountains this weekend and will bring the camera to get some good photos.  Just two more weeks until we leave for world championships so we have ben hard at work polishing up Riots skills!


3 Responses to “14 weeks”

  1. Good post…keep good work

  2. L said

    Love the blog Justine! My only complaint is that it’s not updated enough 😉

  3. Dog Kong said

    I completely agree with everything in this post. keep up the good work

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