Maze and Crate Games!

20150709_165912I don’t usually train formal crate games… I mean the Susan Garret Formal DVD type Crate Games. I do encourage my dogs to love the crate, lots of treats in there, lots of good times, and relaxing too when they hang out there at trials most of the day.

When I was at the agilty barn yesterday, one of the things Maze kept doing was going back into his crate. So a light bulb came on over my head… and I said to myself, “Train Crate Games!”

Maze seems to really enjoy these. He got four short training sessions today. The last one incorporated the mat. I know that Susan Garret says you shouldn’t run with the dogs… but Maze loves it when I run with him, and so I tried to run in my little front room.

Here is a video of Maze’s first and second trainings. I put these together into one video. The first bit I had the crate turned sideways which wasn’t good, he couldn’t run in. So I moved it so it was length-wise:

Second bit:

And then with the mat. I love his happy tail. Eventually I let him go to the crate on his own. Also, I won’t train this every day… maybe once or twice a week. Maze gets bored when he does things over and over again. Been there done that!

This is How I Train

So here are some of my other dogs’ training videos. I will probably put Maze’s training videos in posts dedicated to him. The rest of the dogs I may lump into the same posts. Either that or I’ll have just too many posts. I’ve been training almost every day. I’m retired now, and so I love to train with the dogs first thing in the morning. I clicker train. I do tell my dogs no when they do something I don’t want them to do (more in life than in training, but sometimes in training too).

Here are Connor’s training videos from today. Connor is a Danish-Swedish Farmdog and he loves to learn and train. He’s a bit less confident than my other Farmdog, Jet, but Connor is sweet and loving and very soft:

Perch Box:

Begging on Cue:

Settle, the precursor to roll over:

Connor’s back up is good!:

Jet is learning how to roll himself up in a blanket. I can do a post just on his progress, as I’ve uploaded quite of few videos of him learning. He’s awesome. He knows all the little doodles that I am training the other dogs, so I had to train something with him that would challenge him and myself. He does awesome! Jet is also a Danish-Swedish Farmdog:

Cuddle Up!:

Rear Up:

Quinn is my smooth blue collie boy. He’s learning some obedience doodles like signals. In this first video I’m trying to get him to wait before he throws another behavior at me. I’m trying to teach him signals and a stand and a little back too. I don’t know if we’ll every compete in obedience… I love to train obedience. I just get so nervous in the obedience ring. But the training is really fun:

Signals and Wait for Cue:


Training Multiple Performance Dogs

IMG_20150129_170627 Now I have four performance dogs that are either competing or in training. Actually, Chase, our BC mix, is still doing flyball, but he will be 12 years old this year and is mostly retired. Tatum, our 11ish year old smooth collie girl is also retired. Thank goodness for husbands who take them on lots of walks. 🙂

Working with multiple performance dogs is a challenge! I am starting to realize that not all of them are going to all the lessons that we are taking. Unfortunately this is due to a shortage of money. Not really a shortage of time. I love all these dogs and I want to see them do as much as they possibly can. Maze, being a Kromfohrlander, will not do herding lessons as he is a companion (non-sporting) breed. I will probably see if he has any instinct, though, just for fun.

IMG_20150128_120504 But due to money constraints, only Jet and Quinn are currently taking herding lessons. Connor and Quinn are taking agility lessons. I’ve been tracking with all four, but I may concentrate on Jet mostly, and see how the rest of them do. Time is, actually, a bit of a factor too. Even being retired!

IMG_0230 Jet is still my all-around amazing boy. He will be six years old this year… ugh. I keep telling him he has to stop aging now. He is my most versatile, smart, wonderful boy. I do want to get his TD so that he can have his AKC Versatility title. I am working on that. I need to post more about tracking and our issues. I think Jet waits for my cues… which he can’t, he needs to tell me where to go when we track!

IMG_0083 I’m also helping to organize Utah Barn Hunts. I created the Barn Hunt Club of Northern Utah, LLC., opened a bank account, and am helping organize the trials here in Utah. Quinn will be entered. He’s a collie, so not sure how much instinct he will have. But he can definitely be trained to find the rat in the tube!

I am doing so much now, between agility, herding, tracking, barn hunt, trying out some nosework. Obedience has gone on the way-side, just not enough time for it. Oh and Flyball too, back into Flyball again. It’s all fun. Though I never have enough time to clean my house.

I love all the dogs I have, and I’m so lucky to be able to do all the fun things with them that we do!

Splitting Attention

So now that little Quinn has joined our family I have more dogs to train. Yesterday I said to my husband, I need to put together a list of everything Quinn needs to learn. Of course my husband says he just needs to have fun and learn how to be an eleven week old puppy. Well thats fine and good, but what they learn young sticks with them their whole lives. Just like in agility, the things they learn first are the things they resort back to under stress or high drive. So it’s very important to get it right the first time.

Quinn has only been with us for three days but I’m already seeing what he will need training wise. I think he is going to be higher drive than jet. Which may be a weird concept since Quinn is a collie and they are not known for high drive. However he comes from performance lines. Lots of agility and herding Collies behind him. Where Jet comes from conformation lines. And Danish-Swedish Farmdogs are a very new breed and their temperaments can vary significantly.

Me, I will admit it, I prefer a little lower drive. However that is more difficult in obedience where a higher drive can carry a dog through the routine better than lower drive. And I believe I have enough experience, and instinct, now to train any drive type. And maybe I am wrong and Quinn will end up lower drive than I think. But I don’t think I’m wrong.

So now I need to split my brain and figure out different training methods for Jet and Quinn. I am still training Chase too, but we already havea well working established pattern. Plus I’m just not as crazy about Chase so he’s kinda a side line and I apologize to everyone who really likes him, and I know there are quite a few people who do, but border collies are just not really my breed.

I think I have a fairly good handle on what Jet needs, and I’m seeing good progress. Now I have to split my attention for Quinn, too. And splitting is not my strength. It’s not at my job either. So I will news to find a happy in between place for both of these boys. But I have confidence in myself that I’ll be able to do this well and do what needs to be done for these boys.

And as I adjust to Quinn, he adusts to us, and the other dogs adjust to him, things will settle back down
There’s always a big dynamics change when a new dog joins the family!

I typed this all on my phone so I apologize for typos!

How Much In Life Should Be Free?

Plenty In Life Is Free by Kathy Sdao
My Review

So I’ve been reading this book the last couple of days. And my review is not, yet, totally complete, as I haven’t read the whole book yet. I bought it from Dog Wise, the Kindle version, and I’m about 32% finished now. So far I’m really enjoying it.

Any dog behavior books I read anymore, I read from an obedience perspective. Since obedience is my joy and my nemesis at the same time. I love training for obedience, and it’s been difficult to figure out how to motivate the dogs to work for extended periods without treats.

Anyway, in this book, Kathy Sdao basically analyzes the Nothing In Life Is Free (NILIF) dog training program that so many dog trainers promote today. I have never followed the NILIF plan. One reason is because I’m lazy, and it would take a strong consistency I lack in my home environment. But mostly I don’t follow NILIF because really I just enjoy being with my dogs and doling out random treats and loves just to make them happy. And to make me happy. I have heard, time and again, that perhaps my daily behavior with my dogs affects my obedience training negatively. But really, I don’t care enough to change. While I do want Jet to qualify someday in obedience, I still want a fun happy relationship with him in my every day life. And our agility is going really well, so I’m glad we have success in agility. Agility is my favorite anyway.

Of course I really like to read books that support my training perspective style, or lack thereof, since Kathy is arguing against the NILIF training method.

Kathy Sdao argues against NILIF because, at the beginning of the book, she basically says that an emotional bond between two creatures should be free with love and interaction, and not dependent upon one of them doing something for attention. As the NILIF program does say that for the dog to get any attention, food, or anything at all, he has to do something first. No hugs without a sit. And if no sit, then the person walks away and there are no hugs or attention. Kathy says this can really break down a relationship, both in humans with humans, and humans with dogs. She states that such a relationship is actually rather passive aggressive on the human’s part. She also says that one point of positive dog training is so the dog feels like he is in control of his environment, as that builds confidence and trust. His actions matter, and get him things he wants and needs. But with NILIF, if the dog asks for attention, and you don’t give it (or only with conditions), then that could be telling the dog that he, actually, has no control over his environment after all.

She gives lots of examples in the book, and she talks about having a good genuine bond with our dogs, which I enjoy very much. That is why I have dogs in the first place. I want the bond, the companionship. The training is secondary. Hopefully I’ll be able to get those obedience legs with the relationship I already have with my dogs. Hopefully, the relationship I have with my dogs actually will increase the probability of qualifying legs. I guess I’ll find out over the years.

Kathy Sdao also talks about how sometimes people hear ideas and just automatically adopt them, without really giving them much thought. She talks about ‘sticky’ ideas and why the permeate society more than others. I think it’s always good to think about what we are doing and why, instead of just subscribing to the training program of someone else automatically. I think, in the dog training world, there are a ton of practices that people follow ‘just because,’ and they do need to be examined by each person to see how they really fit our own training and our own lives.

So perhaps Plenty in Life Is Free, or should be free, to both dogs and humans. I sure hope so. I get way too much enjoyment out of seeing my dogs get excited and happy Just Because of things that are Free.