Monday, 26 January 2009

Zeki Training

I have been very bad at posting on the blog just lately so thought it about time I did a little update on Zeki's training progress.

She will be eleven months next week and she continues to make me smile and laugh. She is the most adorable dog and our bond is really strengthening.

I haven't done very much agility type training as I'm in no rush and I've been really undecided about how to train contacts. The running type or the stop type being the dilemma. Part of my dilemma has been around the fact that I felt our target training wasn't really coming together as I'd hoped. She does understand the target but I've had problems getting her to stay straight and not flip round to look at me.

Rather than get it totally wrong I've just left it and instead concentrated on other elements of our training together. We have done lots of foundation work and two weeks ago we started a new agility foundation course at club.

We are lucky enough to have Leah taking this class for us so there is plenty to do and lots of enthusiasm plus of course lots of good advice and ideas. Andy will also be helping out with the class so we are going to be kept busy as we progress.

We do lots of different things: wobble boards, ladder work, balance games, shadowing and the usual recalls, sending to a toy and control work within our group of five. It's really good for me to get training with other people and dogs as Zeki is very capable when by herself but has a rather strong eye when other dogs and people are around. This course is perfect to get her used to working with lots of activity around her. So far we've had just one incidence of her breaking out to chase another dog. That was a collie called Indie and she led him astray well and truly. Hopefully this will get better. Her only other naughty little habit is to go and join other dogs when it's their turn on the wobble boards. She seems to think they belong to her (which they kind of do I suppose) and joins the other puppies on the wobble boards. None of this happens if I have food in my hand but I'm trying hard to get her attention for toys and slowly but surely it is getting better!

I love this sort of thing because it not only teaches the dogs lots of new things but it also teaches them to learn in their new environment with other dogs around. This means when we come to train actual agility exercises it should be much easier as the young dogs will already be used to coming to school!

Her puppy obedience is going well. I really enjoy the weekly class and last week Zeki passed the final elements of her Kennel Club Good Citizen Puppy Foundation Course. She will get a rosette and certificate so I'm very proud. For the puppy foundation course she passed the following exercises: attentive response to name; play with handler and give up toy on command; handling and inspection; puppy recall; sit; down; stand; walking in a controlled manner; 10 second stay; food manners and socialisation with an unknown dog and handler. We have started training for our bronze test.

I also went for a lesson with Lesley last week. Bernadette came along with the puppies to socialise them. This was also good for Zeki as she had to concentrate on her lesson whilst Bernadette played with one puppy at a time at the other end of Lesley's school. The lesson was great. We worked on play motivation (I now have a new and very expensive toy - look out for this in a future post!) and targetting. As usual Lesley simplified things for me and made me realise that I wasn't doing so badly after all. She also came up with a good idea for keeping Zeki's focus ahead when targetting. This seems to be working for us so I'll post more on this as we improve. I'm also working on improving Zeki's nose to hand target. She's good at it but I'm working on duration now with more help from Lesley. Lastly we're working on getting Zeki to play with a toy after being clicked for doing a task. So far so good. I would love for this to work out. It already seems to be strengthening her tug. We also worked on some little jumping sequences with poles on the floor. Lesley had me working on cross behinds using a toy thrown ahead. Zeki was focused and did well at this considering it was at the end of the lesson and after food training. Seems I really can switch from food to toys now!

I have lots more to post on other things but will do that in a separate post. Must catch up as I've been a bad blogger of late! Meanwhile, here's a little video of Zeki at her foundation class last week.


  1. How cool is that !! what fun and she is really motivated and happy, Im putting my name down now !!! lol lol xx

  2. Love Zeki's training video! That looks like a wonderful class to do foundation for puppies.