Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Dogwalk Training

At last, I've got round to putting this onto a film. It's still work in progress but I do feel we are making ground.

Much of the training is for me as well as Niamh. In training scenarios I have to stop watching her as she descends the down plank. This worries her and reinforces her tendency to creep down to her stop position.

I have changed the command for the obstacle; I give the verbal cue as she approaches and then I keep quiet (well try to). I have also changed her finished position on the obstacle, bringing her much further off than she was originally trained. The clicker was brilliant in achieving this.

I am schooling myself to accept a percentage of failures in terms of her coming right off the contact. It's hard because I want it to be perfect but then that's how I seem to have caused the problem with Niamh. She's very different from my other dogs and worries much more if she thinks she's got something slightly wrong. The others really didn't think like that so I got away with all sorts of bad habits!

Bernadette and Karen have helped me to keep on track with my new regime. I can reinforce my command once Niamh is in position, what I must not do is to use the command when she is descending the down plank otherwise I'll be back to square one. I 'broke' my last command by doing this and it basically became another phrase for her to lie down.

The first bit of film was taken on the Friday when Karen and Bernadette came over to do some training. The second on Sunday when I decided to do some positive reinforcement of her stop position. She accepts this happily when it's done away from her descent of the down plank. Bernadette also suggested I get her using her back legs to reinforce her position (when she's come of a little too far) for a reward so we've started that as well. Next I need to start tossing her food reward without her leaving the position to grab it. Still a bit of work to do on that score. Overall though, I'm pleased. It looks a lot better when compared with some of the dogwalks she was doing last season.


  1. She looks brill Nancy. It's deffinatly quicker! x

  2. looking fantastic, you now just need a little bit of blue fluff :0) xx

  3. That's looking really great Nancy - you should be pleased Hx