Merla's training log

Discussion in 'Your Training Logs' started by Merla, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. Merla

    Merla Registered Users

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    Well, new year, new training resolutions and new training club plans.:)

    My obedience club is closing down :( - big shame as the people were great, although Merla wasn't a fan of indoor training. I liked helping with the puppies though..... Not sure if I'll find another place for obedience/agility- we might just do other things.

    I have a short beginners course booked in April with the local volunteer Search and Rescue people - hugely excited about that, not least because I believe they're pros at using play as a reward (on of my targets to learn about). For Gundog stuff I have a course booked at a new place - a bit of a drive away (hour and a half each way ::) ). This will be the third I've tried, well fourth if you count the one who didn't answer any of my messages, but I'm fairly optimistic as we've done a 1-to-1 with the lead trainer, and came away hopeful. Such a relief to speak to someone who actually ENCOURAGES using treats during training and could talk sensibly about clickers and back-chaining a retrieve. So we'll see how that goes.

    One of the reasons I'm excited about the gundog course as I already have written targets and assessment criteria for the course including diagrams, equipment list etc! The educator in me gets hugely excited about things like that- my pet peeve is 'trainers' who can train dogs but not a clue about teaching people ;D

    So obviously I'm working on them already! Actually, I've purposely signed up for the level where no skill will be new to Merla, but I want to work on doing things round other dogs and watching other dogs doing things. We start in a few weeks, a bit into Feb, and will need to work on: neat on-lead heelwork, 1 min plus sit stay, neat recall, stay while handler drops and collects dummies, steady retrieve of placed dummies, steady retrieve of thrown dummies.

    I'm revisiting the clicker for neat heelwork- very pleased with this. We practice on a small 'green' that we cross on the way back from our normal heathland walk- she's getting very good at twigging that when the clicker comes out we're in 'serious' heelwork mode. I'm particularly pleased with some very nice left turns.

    Stays seem to have gone a bit awry recently. But I caught OH today telling her to stay and then forgetting all about her ::) so I need to establish MY criteria again. Doesn't help that we're practicing in the dark Mon-Fri at the moment, but that will get better soon :)

    Retrieves are normally super, and steadiness good with no other dogs on the green, but if I'm chaining them on the end of other stuff, with no 'play break' she sometimes gets overexcited and does a mini-flypast ;D so will work on building up concentration also.

    Oh, and the final thing- I want to clicker train a bark on command! She has a huge, deep, single WOOF that we normally only hear if someone's at the door, but I don't think she knows she does it! Want to channel it into a cued behaviour. Only problem is.....she never barks at me ;D .....so watch this space for antics to trigger the bark ;D ;D
     
  2. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Re: Merla's training log

    Oh fab, going to so enjoy Merla's log.

    Shame about the obedience club...but fab about SAR! Can't wait to hear about that.

    I'm on my 4th gundog trainer too....she says she is not sure whether that's a good or a bad thing! ;D ;D ;D

    Will love hearing about your gundog stuff, lots relevant to Charlie there...

    Charlie very rarely barks either. But he's got a lovely woof! No chance of getting it on cue...been about 9months now since the last bark...
     
  3. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Re: Merla's training log

    This is going to be fun to read!

    Willow has started to get a bit barky recently, so I'm trying to teach her a "quiet" cue (I'm using the word "Chaplin" because "quiet" and "shush" are too common :) ). It's hard because she doesn't bark on cue and it's not something I can control to make her bark, so I have a plan of downloading some doggy barking noises to see if that will stimulate her to bark. Maybe it would make Merla bark, too?

    I found this overview which makes sense - I'm going to use his hand gestures, too, because my dogs respond better to visual cues, so teaching both visual and vocal cues will be useful, I think. I've not watched the video (because it contains barking and I'm not ready to do any training at this second!) but the script sounds good: http://www.treatpouch.com/stop-your-dogs-barking-teach-bark-and-quiet/
     
  4. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    Re: Merla's training log

    I wish you luck with all your training Kath, great you are giving SAR a go :) Have to say we gave up on trainers, 2 wanted to use very unpleasant methods and the other just dithered and didn't explain things clearly and kept changing her mind about what she wanted us to do, money down the drain :( Look forward to your updates xx :)
     
  5. Incastinker

    Incastinker Registered Users

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    Re: Merla's training log

    Really interested in the bark progress. I can count the number of times I have heard Inca bark on one hand so far (although she did use it to alert us that she needed the toilet the other day, particularly useful) but I think it's something I would like to develop on cue also. Hope it all goes well :)
     
  6. Merla

    Merla Registered Users

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    Re: Merla's training log

    Much to report about barking on cue!

    Had a short session earlier in the week. It largely involved me doing a ridiculous attempt at coordinating banging in the front door and then clicking and treating each 'woof' ;D ;D. With varying degrees of success ;D ;D ;D Attempts to illicit a woof without the aid of a door knock were initially unsuccessful, but there was a dawning realisation that a woof got a click.

    She still had trouble believing that woofing was the required behaviour though especially when I tried weaning her off the door knock. We had quite a bit of looking at me and alternately sitting, lying down and fetching toys with a quizical expression ;D

    Session three and the penny started to drop. Very exciting. Started to introduce a cue (er, 'Woof'! Hmmm, I think I might have to change that later!) Also started to change the location to different rooms in the house and out into the garden. Very good fun ;D

    In other news, stays are doing well. I've been very strict with myself, sandwiching stays between short stretches of on-lead heel work, and not actually treating/playing directly at the end of the 'stay', but rather when the heework ends as I was starting to get wriggling and bouncing when I return to her side. Seems to be helping, particularly when I'm brave enough not to look at her when I go and stand back next to her!

    Hoping for some more dry days this week so we can keep going :)
     
  7. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Re: Merla's training log

    Good progress!

    We'll want a video of that lovely deep woof!
     
  8. Merla

    Merla Registered Users

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    Re: Merla's training log

    [quote author=JulieT link=topic=9558.msg139589#msg139589 date=1422221178]
    We'll want a video of that lovely deep woof!
    [/quote]

    Yes, I thought that too, but I'll have to draft in reinforcements to video- clicker, treats and phone all at once are too much ;D
     
  9. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Re: Merla's training log

    Gotta get a gopro.... :)
     
  10. Lisa

    Lisa Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Re: Merla's training log

    Have to say I cringe when I hear people training their dogs to bark. My previous dog would bark at literally anything..all the time....I tried to train the" bark on cue" so I could train the "quiet"....limited success. He just loved to bark. Simba, by contrast, is a Very Quiet Dog - he will bark to warn of strangers, etc, but nothing over the top. I am very happy for that NOT to change... ;)
     
  11. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Re: Merla's training log

    I've heard that by teaching a dog to bark to a cue, they're less likely to do it uncued? I'm not sure how true that is, though! Willow is still barking on occasion, but I've not had the opportunity to train a bark cue yet, however "shush" for a quiet does seem to be going quite well, for both of them. Shadow was just getting very bouncy and barky with Willow, trying to initiate play, but when I said "shush", he'd look at me and I'd praise him for stopping.
     
  12. Merla

    Merla Registered Users

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    Re: Merla's training log

    Yes, well my aim with Merla was for her to be more aware of what a bark was, if you see what I mean. She only really does single woofs, but sometimes does a couple in succession. But it was quite hard to tell her to stop (not that it was ever really excessive, just made us jump occasionally) because I'm not sure she knew she was doing it. So we're trying to get some 'bark awareness'. Want to teach a 'touch' cue too (never really got round to it) as I figure that might be a good 'stopper'.
     
  13. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Re: Merla's training log

    I think it would be fun to train bark.

    Charlie barked yesterday! Two dogs had a fight in front of him, which was super scary and he barked. But then we found out they were mother and daughter settling an argument and there was absolutely no harm done. But Charlie barked at them! 4 times! Woof woof woof woof!
     
  14. sunsetpines

    sunsetpines Registered Users

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    Re: Merla's training log

    My Bella barks frequently... ::) usually to get my attention....from the wrong side of the door for instance. ::)

    We do like to teach a "speak" command to our dogs...and hubby is dying to teach Bella to sneeze...good party trick that one! ;D ;D
     
  15. Merla

    Merla Registered Users

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    Re: Merla's training log

    Well, busy times! The inside stuff is going well - woof is good, and I'm going for a 'touch' as a kind of 'stop woof', although we only ever get single woofs anyway. The touch is proving useful out on walks also.

    Clicker heelwork I'm really pleased with- she's now tuning in whenever she sees the clicker in my hand and falling into a really nice heelwork position. I still have more work to do though as our huge weakness is the very difficult roadwork on the way to the Heath in the mornings, so going to go all out in the clicker to try to get that respectable.

    First time at the new Gundog training class today- very promising. I got through a heap of treats, which was encouraged, and could use my clicker although that's not their main technique. Lots of really well planned activities and we were kept on the go the whole time except for a scheduled break half-time, which suited Merla well. NO STANDING IN LINES waiting for other dogs to do stuff while she wound herself up. (Yes, I know this would be important if she ever got into the field, but it's really hard for her, and doing it lots at the previous class was making the situation worse.) Did some good little retrieves, some ACE heelwork (some off-lead) and stays, in our own time with other dogs working around but not too close. A few deviations on the return of retrieves, veering off towards other dogs, but she thought better of it before getting too far and always delivered neatly.

    We're both happy (and tired!) :)
     
  16. JulieT

    JulieT Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Re: Merla's training log

    Sounds great! Nothing beats the deep sleep of a dog after gundog training. Charlie is always flat out apart from needing a poo (he often needs "an emergency trip" for a poo after all the treats! ;D ;D ;D ).
     
  17. bbrown

    bbrown Moderator

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    Re: Merla's training log

    That sounds brilliant :D and like you both did really, really well. Other dog distractions are the toughest!

    I see quite a few noisy labs because they can't handle their frustration at waiting and I suspect that the traditional type training expects the dogs to just man up (if my experiences are anything to go by) Positive reinforcement trainers seem to understand dogs thresholds better and that you should work within them and stretch them a bit at a time which will obviously resulted in working at different paces depending on the dog.
     
  18. Merla

    Merla Registered Users

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    Re: Merla's training log

    Yes, it's a much happier situation as an owner to be working with your dog rather than battling against it, quite apart from the impact on the dog.

    Merla has 3 specific behaviours that she starts doing when she's overstimulated or anxious about other dogs. One is bouncing. The second is grabbing her own lead and trying to tug, and the third, which I find hardest to cope with, is backing away from me and standing at the end of her lead. When she first started doing this I thought she wanted to get away from me, which was a horrid thought, but after some experimentation I've found she's actually kind of saying 'mum, I need some quiet time, can we go?'

    In all cases though, she does it when she's looking out at what other dogs are doing and feeling uncomfortable. Locking her back into me with some heelwork circles etc seems to calm her down again.

    She's such an interesting personality - she gives the first impression of being sociable and outgoing but it's all a bit 'overcompensating' if you know what I mean! She's a sweetie though - I've never known her growl or be grumpy with any dog or human, so of all the behaviour problems I could be dealing with I don't mind this too much :)
     
  19. Karen

    Karen Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Re: Merla's training log

    She sounds lovely, Kath. I hope you continue to enjoy your Gundog training - it sounds like a good match for you and Merla. :)

    I taught my old dogs to bark on command - a polite woof, not an unleashed volley of barks. ;) It wasn't the most useful thing I ever taught them, except as a party trick. But children loved it - I got them to the stage where I only had to put my head slightly on one side and raise my eyebrows. So I could ask a question, such as "shall we go for a walk?", and they would answer with a polite yet enthusiastic "woof" 8)
     
  20. Merla

    Merla Registered Users

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    Re: Merla's training log

    Well, hello again! Sorry for the long 'radio silence', work has been a bit of a nightmare this last term, but the fog is beginning to lift now we've hit the Easter holidays and some decent brain-space. I've still been training, and reading Forum stuff, but haven't quite managed to post. So...... where were we....?

    We completed a gundog course at our new centre, and passed an assessment with Merit- very pleased. It was only really the heelwork which let us down on the assessment day. I underestimated how tricky it would be to flip straight in to 'test' mode as soon as we hit the training ground, and should have ramped up the treat value to suit.

    Lots of fabulous walks in the lighter mornings, and my gorgeous girl still loving her retrieves. I'm not sure we've exactly done anything new on that front, but we have worked hard in steadiness with thrown retrieves, which is coming on a treat.

    An unexpected and unplanned bonus has been signs of growing up (she'll be 2 in May). Suddenly, recalling from other dogs has got a whole lot more reliable. I mean, it's not like I'm strolling along on walks looking at the birdlife yet, because she'll still try to take off at the faintest sight of something interesting ::) but now she'll loop round before getting there when recalled and heel past off lead. :) :) Suddenly, after 18 months of feeling like my dog is the Worst Behaved Pooch I ever meet, I'm finding that other people have no recall, and we're looking mildly competent ;D Even when at the beach (which is always busy) or, today, at a packed holiday Sunday country park. Of course, I'm going to have to remortgage my house at the rate I'm getting through Sea Wraps, put you can't have everything ;D ;D ;D

    Looking forward to lots of holiday fun in the next two weeks.

    Here's a lovely pic taken by OH on a recent beach walk. The sand was blasting horizontal that day, but Merla was unperturbed ;D

    [​IMG]
     

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