I am really enjoying training Zeki and feel we are making progress on several fronts.
My main focus has been working on channelling her focus onto me and whatever we're doing rather than on whatever else is going on. The downside of this is that I do feel I've subdued her natural exuberance and drive but hopefully that will come back the more she gets to enjoy what we're doing together.
Alongside this we have progressed the weaves in a very short time. Less than three weeks ago Zeki was still on lead and running through splayed v-weaves. Now she is off lead and onto upright poles. I am quite amazed at how quickly she progressed. We worked on our entries whilst still on lead and that seems to have paid off. Now I am using my cone to work on entries with a bit of speed involved. I have removed the target pot from the end of the poles and am throwing her reward in which seems to be working. That said I am glad I got Andy to video me today because it illustrates that I'm not quite getting the timing of the reward right. Although she looks ahead for the reward (which is good) she isn't driving out of the poles as quickly as I'd like so I think need to throw the reward in earlier. Ideally I want to move to her toy as reward but am continuing with food for the time being whilst she really learns the job.
Today we worked on entries and independence but in other sessions I make sure to include varying my position whilst she weaves and putting in front and rear crosses on entry/exit. I am lucky that she really seems to love weaving.
On Sunday I took Zeki across to Bernadette to continue her work with distraction training. Overall she was very good and we managed to do things whilst Bernadette ran Zen. This is good because Zen is very exciting and Zeki would love to chase her. I actually managed to progress from just doing simple stays to working on some sequences whilst Zen was running. I think I mentioned in my Mid Downs post that Zeki actually tugged on her toy when Kizzy and Andy ran, well interestingly she did the same today and switched onto her toy when Zen was running. I think this is good news. We also had a play on the weaves and she was pretty good making only a couple of errors. This I am very happy with because now she has performed weaves in two new places without many mistakes at all.
We also made a start on our down dog walk training. I finally have decided that I am going to do a stop dog walk. I would love to be clever enough to train the running dog walk but just don't think I have the knowledge or patience to see it through. Zeki is very confident running across the dog walk and for the first time did a full height version at Bernadette's just running (well actually jumping) to her pot. I had some good advice from Bernadette and a good session to get me started on my new dog walk training. Zeki understands her target better than I had thought and so now we have to practise back chaining on-lead to her target making sure I vary my position and work on the release as well as the finished position. I am not very co-ordinated with this but hopefully I will improve! I cannot believe how much I forget between training each dog that I've had. That said I've been doing this for 21 years now and Zeki is the sixth dog I've trained of my own so I suppose that isn't many spread over that number of years. Well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!
I am very excited as Zeki has a 1-1 lesson booked with Nic Garrett tomorrow and then she is on her very first training day on Saturday, again with Nic. I am really looking forward to both sessions.
Meantime here is a little video of today's weave training. Apologies for my silly voice whilst we train ..... might be best to turn down your volume LOL!