I have resolved to do a little bit of training every day with Zeki. Yesterday we did a bit of everything mainly so that we could capture on film in one hit. Most days I don't go quite so mad and just pick on a couple of different things to work on.
Today I decided to work purely on cross behinds. This is obviously something that requires drive and preferably a dog happy to chase a toy.
Zeki doesn't always want to tug but this is improving and my miracle toy is helping tremendously. She has a little furry bunny bag which you can put treats in and also throw and tug. It is a fantastic toy for dogs that don't always latch straight onto traditional tug toys. Zeki is so into it that I hardly ever feed her from it. Today, for example, she had two pieces of kibble after we'd finished our session as we walked back down to the house. The rest of the time she is just chasing and tugging on it. Yippee! Michael our next door neighbour is now making a version of this toy together with other lovely toys. Hopefully his website will be ready to launch very soon!
Because I am training by myself most of the time, I have to either run with Zeki or do a startline. She is very good at her startlines so I do use them frequently. I was very strict with myself today and didn't do a huge long lead out (one of my major faults with all of my dogs - see Olympia video with Niamh for proof of this!!) So once I released her I let her overtake me so she had to drive up the line by herself. To start with I stayed on the side I set off from and she took the natural end of the tunnel. Then I put a cross behind in before the last jump and this was enough to take her to the other end of the tunnel. This is the first time we've done this exercise using a tunnel. We did the exercise on both sides and she was fantastic. I threw her toy as she drove out of the tunnel each time. I was very happy with two aspects of this exercise: one was the drive that she had up to the tunnel regardless of whether I stayed on the original side or put in the cross behind and the other was the way she naturally stayed on line or turned depending on whether or not I put in the rear cross. I didn't have to use any verbal cues at all, she did it all on body language. This suits me!
That said, I think I will have to teach her a command to turn away from me on either side. I don't want to use left and right as those are her wing wrap commands so I will probably start to teach her "back" and "out" for this purpose.
To finish with I started building up lateral distance for the same exercises and yippee, she didn't run out of a single jump. I do use my arms to support (excellent Greg Derrett terminology) obstacles that I'm working wide of and I did so today. I experimented once by dropping my arm at one point and sure enough she reacted and shot inside the jump. I will continue to do this as it's how I work all my dogs and I don't want things to be too different with Zeki as my brain will explode or is that implode!!
So this is what we worked on:
When I came back in I decided to teach Naughty Niamh a new trick. More of that later when I do an update on Niamh. She hasn't featured much on the blog since Olympia but I have been working hard with her too.
That's it for now as the doglets want their dinner!