Friday, 24 October 2008

Zeki Training Update

Zeki's training is progressing pretty well. Some things I wish were better and others I'm very happy with.

I have put most effort into making sure that Zeki doesn't back off from me when I've called her in or just want to pick her up for a cuddle. She was very prone to this when I first had her (as are lots of shelties) and Bernadette advised me to work hard on this. I took this comment to heart and I'm glad I listened and worked on this area of her training. It definitely has paid off as she doesn't do this at all.

I have worked a lot on her recalls to front and both sides (still and with motion) and she's very good at these. I still tend to reward with food when out walking as I want these recalls to be the most solid for her own safety. She does a very fast and enthusiastic recall which never fails to make me smile. Yesterday it had its first real test when out walking she tore off after a squirrel in Eridge forest. I called and she turned straight round and ran full speed back to me. I was very impressed and very pleased about this as you can imagine.

At home I would think 75% of her recalls are now done for a toy reward and they are probably 90% positive. This is pretty good but I want them better!

I have also worked on her targeting but I still have much to do on this before I can start to use it for her contacts. This is fine as I don't plan on training those for a while yet. She'll be eight months old on 8th November so there's plenty of time.

I have just started working on her "stays". They're not brilliant to be honest, more work in progress! Her positions are good for toy reward and now we will go back to food to improve our stays.

The other thing I'm having to work on is stopping her from attacking brooms, vacuum hoses and the like (oh and the hose of the dog blaster!) We have stopped her attacking the upright vacuum but she still goes mad when I get the hose out. At the suggestion of Gran'Ma I am using the vacuum to proof her downs. We started this yesterday and I'm pleased to report that I can vacuum half the kitchen floor with her in a down stay. Next I have to try to get her to do a down stay whilst I use the vacuum hose but before I do this I actually want to stop her from attacking it PERIOD!

She has started to charge at Kizzy during walks and this I definitely will not tolerate. I don't allow any of my dogs to charge each other and this includes shelties! Kizzy doesn't much like it and it's starting to spoil her walks. So, we are now working on this and had some degree of success today. If that level of success continues then I'll be happy, if I think we're not making enough progress then Zeki will go back onto the extender lead in order to break the cycle of this behaviour.

Zeki's tugging has really strengthened and I'm delighted with this. It was put to the test last Friday when Karen came over for the day. We had a lovely time training our dogs and I had my first "agility" lesson with Zeki kindly facilitated by Karen. I was really surprised and pleased with how we did. Karen had us doing send aways through three sets of jump wings, Zeki would run ahead nicely to her ball and then we'd have a tug game.

I didn't use any food until we had a play with the tyre. We'd only done one little session on the tyre previously and so I wanted to carry on where we'd left off. Just basic clicker work with me gradually moving further back from the tyre. To finish this, Karen held Zeki and I recalled her through the tyre on each side.

Lastly we did a bit of target practise on the ground. I use the seesaw to make a channel between me and Zeki so that she stays nice and straight. She doesn't go on the plank, we're a long way off that!

After Zeki we did some work with Todd and then Jessie and Niamh. We did quite a bit of contact proofing and weave entries with these three and it was really good fun and we both felt we'd achieved something which is an added bonus!

After our training we took the dogs for a nice long walk over the fields and then Karen set off home. All in all, a very enjoyable day!


  1. I'm very impressed you can recall Zeki off a squirrel in mid run! I'm afraid I can't do that with either Jazz or Poppy.
    I am making some progress with Poppy though, as she recalled to me yesterday when we met 2 lots of horses, instead of bounding up to them to say hello!

  2. Nellie has never got over the mower and goes for the wheels if she can. So she has to do a down until she can accept that it doesn't need killing :) :) Then she's fine - usually she goes inside to sulk! Hx

  3. Zeki is going to be awsome she has loads of drive and definate bark factor :0)