Yesterday we took ourselves off to visit Bernadette and Dennis to do some training and have a general catch up and some lunch.
Bernadette set up a little speed course for Kizzy to run and she had a great time. She did some of the stuff really well and other bits need a little more proofing.
One of the things that Andy is having a bit of a challenge with is contact speed, reward and release.
Bernadette gave him some really useful pointers and this has really helped him to move forward. Basically he has to remove the food reward for each target position and replace with verbal praise; do run-bys and lateral distance work praising from a distance and then release from his final spot with verbal command only or ask for further target position, maybe go back and praise but then go back to distant position to release. It's important that the release isn't accompanied by body movement (very very hard for Andy to achieve!)
Kizzy really responds positively to the verbal encouragement and praise so this is now the area that Andy really needs to concentrate on. Another good tip was that each time she goes to a new venue or starts a new training session that the clear target is put back in place for maybe one attempt and then removed (put back only after a couple of failures.) If she fails by leaving the contact or by coming down too slowly then Andy simly picks her up (doesn't let her go back on to the down contact herself), takes her back to the beginning and has another attempt.
With regard to speed on the down planks then Bernadette suggested that Andy do a little back chaining to encourage the speed and confidence - this is working well also.
Andy and Kizzy had a good session in the garden today following these guidelines. Bernadette is an excellent trainer and gives us both lots to work on and think about.
Here is Kizzy on the dogwalk, in two of the photos her head is a little high (posing!) but the third photo shows a good finishing position on the down plank. I took a bit of video which I'll post in the next day or so.
We also did some work with Naughty Niamh, Poppy, Hex and Murphy. Poor little Niamh has cut her pad quite badly, it happened on her walk in the morning as it was very icy. I had completely forgotten about it and ran her round a couple of courses and only remembered when I spotted blood on Bernadette's new dog walk. Needless to say I felt really bad. Luckily it's on the back of one of her back pads and so no pressure was being put on the wound, she hasn't noticed it at all and that's good because Niamh is a real baby and if it was hurting her she wouldn't walk let alone get on a dog walk! Still, I'm still feeling bad. Between four of us we managed to flush the wound and stick it with new skin. So far it's looking good. The sad thing was that she was booked on a training day with Dawn Weaver today and we couldn't do that. More of that later.
After training we had a lovely late lunch prepared and served by Dennis and then we sat around and chatted, cuddled the very fat Zen and the lovely Griz who is staying with the Bays and then tootled off home. It was a really nice day, no chores!
Important note added to this post: The courgette soup was made by Bernadette, it was only heated up and served by Dennis.
Here are some pictures of Niamh on the dog walk. They are fantastic shots (well I think so!) In a couple of them she looks as though she's been rolled into the ground - a flat border collie!
Thanks to Dennis Bay for the great photos!