25 March 2009

Catch-up with my training plans

March:
* Physical activity every day (at least a 30 minute walk) to get him in better shape and lose the last bit of overwheight.
* Heel position, both sides
* Sitting rear crosses
* Loose leash walking (I'm sooo tired of not having that settled, so now it's time to grab the monster by it's tail!)
* Jumping technique: distance, bend work and jump height.
* One jump: proofing and distance

Ok. So today I and Orkan had a check-up with how we're doing with the loose leash walking. Pretty well, actually! Walked with a short leash to the mailbox and back (which is approx a 1 km walk) and I had to stop only a few times. Yes! This feels great! I've never succeeded with that training with any dog before, so it's been one of those I wasn't sure I was ever going to find the courage to really pull through in case it didn't work anyway. Ok, so we need to work on it with dogs ahead and other motivations to pull, but at least he knows what to do, and that's the best foundation I could ever ask for :-)

As you know, the jumping technique isn't really our best card right now. We've started the distance work, but no bend work or height, so I guess I'm going to have to work on that even though succeeding feels like a million years away...

Heel position: at least the left side is getting somewhere. I've worked mostly on the left side to make it easier (less frustration). As soon as that is done, we'll transfer it to the right side, and I think that transition isn't going to be too much of a deal, since he has all the foundation on both sides, and the command is slapping my hand at my thigh, which transfers nicely to the other side (as in the foundation with the box). We're working on a sit now, but I still reward a lot of just getting into position, to remind him that I want him to be straight in line with me. Low carb tuna treats are cooking in my oven as I type, I think treats will make this training a bit easier (faster reinforcement = more repetitions a day).

Physical activity and food change: I've _almost_ stuck to the at least 30 minutes rule, and together with the raw, low carb food, Orkan has lost wheight! Finally, he's 6,5 kg's, and with some muscle building I'll be really happy with his shape! It feels extremely good to finally have found a solution to his overwheight problems....

Sitting rear crosses: needs more work. Will also be easier with treats (maybe that's just a lousy excuse?)... We're still needing some proofing of not moving his paws while I move around him in a sit, which is a crucial foundation to do the sitting cross work. Good thing march isn't over yet, we have some work to do!

One jump: lateral distance needs some work. As Karine reminded me some days ago, working on the distance isn't neccecarily more important than just reinforcing the exercises over and over again. Susan Garrett wrote something interesting on that a while ago, she had divided students into two groups, both working on the dog staying on the table. One group was to reinforce a lot from less distance, the other group was to work on distance and speed towards the table. It turned out the first group got the best results even distance- and speed-wise, probably because they had done more repetitions, more rewards etc due to less distance and less difficulty. Correct me if I referred to this wrong (it's a while since I read it). Anyway - I need to work on the one jump exercises, and some finding the lines between several jumps (speed circle, or arch, as I prefer) too.

Turns out I have a lot to work on those last days of march! Haha... Guess I'm not going to finish it all :-)