Choc Charlie's new training log...

Discussion in 'Your Training Logs' started by JulieT, Aug 21, 2015.

  1. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Well. Back on the training boards….

    I haven’t looked back at where I was – I’m not sure I want to know.

    Over the last 3 weeks, I have been building Charlie’s exercise back up, with a mix of lead walking, trotting on an extendable lead, and bits of off lead.

    I’ve been keeping his off lead on tracks – high sided lanes that don’t allow him to hoolie around (the odd legging it up a badger track excepted… :rolleyes:).

    I have also been “training” with a young Labrador living next door. She is a delightful thing, but very much a 9 month old Labrador.

    So, today, Charlie did:

    40 minutes “cliff walk” this is on an extendable lead, trotting up a large hill, across a field, and back (my OH is the human that does the trotting, not me…).
    50 minutes on and off lead training with the young Labrador – mainly walking to heel off lead with the young dog as a distraction. Plus some sit/stays and a tiny bit of placeboard work.
    30 minutes on lead walk around town.
    30 minutes completely off lead across the cliffs.
    And then 15 minutes round the block before bed.
    Plus a bit of clicker training, tug and find it in the house.

    So, in total, he did 2hrs 45min of exercise, mainly on lead or walking at heel off lead but a fair bit of trotting and a small amount of flat out running. I'’d say he is tired, but not exhausted. He was ready for bedtime, for sure. I think this is fine…, and about what I’'d expect at this stage.

    So, in terms of his training…..

    Other dogs

    He was good around other dogs – very friendly in general, but if another dog was not well mannered, he just wanted to leave (he didn'’t growl or react, just wanted to avoid the other dog). That'’s fine, I think, although I think he has very high standards for “well mannered” - he definitely wants other dogs to be gentle, and do loads of play bows and so on, and he doesn'’t want to be bumped by other dogs. The young Labrador has jumped at his face for a few days, and he flatly refused to have anything to do with her until she quit. When she did, he was happy to interact. I think that'’s fine…
    .
    Today, he met a dog who once, a few months ago, attacked him. He was on lead today. He was on his toes, lunged towards the dog with his hackles up, and he barked. Just once. I think I’'d bark too if I met someone again who once rolled me on my back and put their teeth round my throat. So I think that’'s ok…. Although hope it doesn't happen again, as he hurt my shoulder.

    People

    The house has been quite busy, and we'’ve been out in the street with our neighbours (we are in a busy, small, seaside town during regatta week) and he has been pleased and excited to see all people, but not too mad (a bit Labrador normal happy mad) and hasn'’t really jumped up – just a couple of slips. So that’'s ok too…..

    Walking on lead

    He has been really, really good. He has managed in challenging circumstances of busy streets, packed with people, dogs, kids, dropped ice cream and chips, and on the whole kept his lead loose. Pleased with that. Not perfect at all, ok though -– and hey, he is a Labrador after all….

    Off lead

    He has been mixed off lead. He is very distracted by sniffs, and rolling on his back in wet grass….I sort of think this is ok – for now. After all, it’s been a long few months since he has been able to roll in wet grass….and sniffing on walks has been all he has been able to do for ages.

    He did 3 lovely blind retrieves, short but fast, straight and controlled, and was very steady in coming to heel and waiting to be sent. Happy with that.

    He legged it for short periods - twice. He caught the scent of something, put his nose down and ran….deaf to his stop and recall. He went out of my sight both times. But, he returned, fast, and galloped up to me, within 30 seconds. Not sure what to make of this. Perhaps just busting for a good run – dunno.

    His concentration when asked to sit/stay and so on, in a smelly field, was much reduced from what it once was. As was his ability to walk off lead without wandering…so lots of upbeat fast exercises required I think.

    He was very good with other dogs, balls and so on - he didn't run over or make a show of us. Good.

    Going forward

    I’m going to continue just asking him to interact in basic exercises, with just one dog as a distraction, for another few days. Then I’ll slowly up what I ask of him and try to return to more intensive training sessions.
     
  2. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Just so Fiona stays sane....I do not know what has happened with the apostrophes in my post....I wrote the thing in word and pasted it in. All the apostrophes have gone...can't be bothered to try correct this.

    But, snowbunny , feel free....:D:D:D
     
  3. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

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    My Lab goes out of sight for 30 seconds or so, but is straight back without me asking. If you are in a safe place I don't think it matters. This is usually at the beginning of the walk.
     
  4. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I've spent a huge amount of time rewarding Charlie for staying close - as he used to have a dreadful habit of legging it across open spaces on any excuse.

    Thinking about what happened here, I think that I was asking him for a lot of calm off lead when he just wanted to hoolie. So he went for a bit of a run - he was on a track at the time, and ran up the track.

    Later, in an open space he was fine. So it was maybe nothing.
     
  5. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Hehe, they are showing up for me, so a snowbunny meltdown has been averted ;)

    It sounds like everything is normal for a dog that's been on such restrictions for a long time. I would say that it sounds better than you feared it might be during his convalescence?
     
  6. Pilatelover

    Pilatelover Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    You have made my day JulieT sounds to me Charlie is making brilliant progress. My OH does the trotting as well, I really don't do that sort of thing . Some days I think will this training malarkey ever work and I read a topic like this and think yes it will keep going.
    Well done both of you, Mabel is very jealous Charlie is in Cornwall
     
  7. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Yes, I'm actually rather pleased with some things - particularly pleased that he hasn't been too distracted by other dogs. This is the thing that I've struggled with the most in the past, and he was just unbelievably crazy to get to other dogs the last time he came off rest. And in London on lead he has pulled towards other dogs (and he still has here, a fair bit, but not too bad). But he has been really ok off lead. This is a big relief, as it took months and months of work to put right last time.

    Being distracted by sniffs is a big thing. I think I'll get over this though. For 4 months the only thing he has been able to do on walks is sniff, so I think I'll just have to remind him we've got more interesting things to do together now.
     
  8. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Exactly. You know how to train this, and, although it may take some time to break the habit that he's gotten into, he will work out again that you are the more interesting thing in the area - especially as you are able to do more and more together in the coming months.
     
  9. Beanwood

    Beanwood Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Sounds like brilliant progress, especially off lead, and being around other dogs. The slightly distracted by sniffing might just fade naturally as he gets used to being out and about. I love the way that HP allows Benson to run about, sniffing and exploring then waits for Benson to give clear signals that he wants to work now please! :) Along the same vein as Stacia comment I think?
    What a fabulous feeling though, just seeing Charlie running back to you...ears flapping with a big grin on his face! Was watching Benson sprinting today...playing with a lovely working lab called Tessa....he just turned on the speed and flew! Gotta love our chocolates! :)
     
  10. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    This is the method I've employed after my session with her. It seems to me that Willow (who is the far more distracted of the two) is going for longer and longer without wandering off as time goes on and she gets more and more absorbed by her training. In more stimulating environments, I make sure I give her regular "go play" releases for a little while in between exercises to get it out of her system. I've been thinking that this might be more rewarding and more beneficial than just waiting for her to get distracted by smells herself. Maybe - just maybe - knowing that I will let her go and investigate them anyway at some point will keep her focus for longer.
     
  11. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Tonight, he approached the yellow dog in the picture - who was a perfectly well mannered, waggy tailed pet. Charlie and the yellow dog both laid down, then approached each other in two perfect arcs to say hello. Then, as soon as the small dog caught up with the yellow dog (they were together), Charlie went all "don't touch the fur" on them....he normally only does this if he thinks a dog is going to try to mount him.

    It wore off very quickly, and he was soon back to his normal waggy tailed self and said hello nicely. But still, it is something that has changed very recently. Hmmm.....but then, he has long disliked small, yappy dogs. He tries to leave and they will chase him, yapping....

    I'll keep an eye on it.

    [​IMG]don't touch.. by Julie T, on Flickr
     
  12. Karen

    Karen Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Yes, that's definitely not a happy, relaxed stance. Not an aggressive posture, and he is looking away from the other two, but a bit defensive as though maybe he thought the GR was going tod try to mount him? Sounds like he's a bit more nervous since this second operation, as though his confidence has been dented a bit. I'm sure it'll come back, though!

    He's looking great, btw, lovely shiny coat, great muscles - and that tail...!
     
  13. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    He definitely does not want to be bumped by another dog and got cross with the young Labrador the other day, when she jumped on him. So I do wonder if any rough housing might hurt him or has hurt him in the past. His aversion to being mounted might very well be because it hurt him (it shouldn't now, but could have done pre op).

    But even so, he has definitely changed this time, yes, for sure. He is not as confident as he once was and I'm rapidly reassessing the situations I put him in to take this into account.

    It's a bit odd, as I would have thought he was more likely to develop issues the first time round when he was younger (and on rest for longer).

    In terms of other things, he has pretty much returned to normal. A bit more "jumpy" than he once was, perhaps, slightly more easily startled.
     
  14. bbrown

    bbrown Moderator

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    Im sure his cruciate and the ops are the biggest factor but his age might also play a part. Riley definitely got less keen on playing with everyone as he got older. Perhaps I should have worked more on his social skills as he aged (almost certainly), he definitely changed though.
    The amount of exercise he can do is great! And he sounds like he's barely taken a step back in training. Certainly nothing you can't fix :)
     
  15. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Yes, he is getting older and perhaps slightly calmer - those will be famous last words!
     
  16. drjs@5

    drjs@5 Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Enjoying more photos of your handsome boy. Sounds like he is doing really really well.
     
  17. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Tonight I started again on my placeboards, and had a funny thing.

    So, in my garden at home in London I have been sending him to his placeboard using my blind retrieve cue. This was working well, and I did it quite a lot (we had nothing much else to do....). I wanted to get him going out nice and straight on his blind retrieve cue, so I wanted to use my placeboards to get that nice straight line.

    He is also steady to balls and dummies in the garden now (well.....so long as I'm careful what I'm doing, I can't fling them around....). So we had a bit of fun picking up a dummy from the placeboard. It was fun, and made it all nice and lively. Like I say, we didn't have much else to do....

    But today, I started again sending him to the placeboard with my blind retrieve cue, in a field. He ran right over the placeboard, and hunted the entire field for a dummy. Doh......

    Could I get him to go to the placeboard? No. He was off, hunting for a dummy. Drat. Back to square one with that then....:rolleyes:
     
  18. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    So, I sort of know where I am with Charlie now.....

    A really good thing is that he is a lot less distracted by other dogs these days. That's relief, because it took ABSOLUTELY FOREVER to sort this out last time he came off rest. He will still leg it over to other dogs to say "hi" if I don't watch him, but nothing too bad. He is still a bit nervous around more than one dog, say if a couple of big dogs run up to him, but it seems to be getting better each day. So that's good.

    Off lead, he is pretty much perfect on the beach, on the training field and in more enclosed areas (eg lanes etc). Well, when I say "perfect" I don't mean he is well trained, I just mean he is completely focussed on me and the cues he knows well are followed perfectly.

    In open smelly fields though, it's a different story. Given half a chance, he is off, following scent trails, nose down like a dog possessed. He has always had a bit of a tendency to do this, but it's definitely a big "thing" now - to the extent that I have been avoiding places like this unless I have a harness and a long line on him (not even a thrown dummy can get him back - unbelievable for Charlie). He doesn't seem to associate these trails with animals or birds really, although his control around wildlife is not quite what it was (it is still very good though). A pheasant was trotting up a long straight path in front of us this morning, and he was definitely on his toes. He didn't chase it, but I had to call him to me - there was a time when I wouldn't have had to do that.

    So, a bit of a mixed picture, but far from doom and gloom!
     
  19. Lisa

    Lisa Moderator Forum Supporter

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    He sounds like he is doing fine, Julie. Some things to work on here and there, but nothing too drastic! I echo Barb's comments about Charlie's age being a factor in the interaction with other dogs. I have noticed this with Simba too over the last couple months. He's not nearly so interested in crazy play with other dogs and will get a bit grumpy with dogs that are too enthusiastic. So maybe your boy is growing up?
    Great pics - he looks the picture of health!
     
  20. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Yes, he might be growing up a bit, that's true. He is still interested in playing with puppies and young dogs though. He is wary of male dogs, and nervous of more than one male dog but this is definitely getting better the more he gets out and about. He is not a brave dog, he never has been, and has always legged it at the first sign of trouble and another dog only has to twitch a lip and he's off. Which I'm glad about in a way - I never want him to get into a fight of course.
     

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