Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Food, Frogs and Cookies

Rugby's obedience match review brought about a discussion on the use of food in training. I thought that this discussion should not be left to hide in the comments to this blog since the questions and answers it will bring about is indeed a very interesting one.

For years trainers have been going back and forth on the correct way to train a dog, the pros and cons of the different methods. I will not address this topic here.

I would like to dedicate this post however to listing the experiences I have had training dogs that supports my decision to use the Koehler method (and the Bedrock Method developed by my trainer - Margot Woods) since it goes further than the few titles Rugby has earned.

Since I began working at Applewood's Dog Training in the summer of 2008, I have had the opportunity to work with a number of dogs.

  • I have trained and titled a Lab in obedience (a CD... I will be bringing him in the ring again this summer to get the CDX). Pete earned his CD in three straight trials in one weekend.

  • I am currently working with a Golden in obedience (for the CD and she will earn this title before the end of summer).

  • I have trained and titled Rugby who not only has qualified every single show he has entered, but has also never been in the ring without earning a first or second place. He will have his UD before the end of the year.

Beyond competitive obedience, board-and-train includes sit, down, stand, stay, place, come, heel, and miscellaneous manners work. It also requires that the dog be trained to a level of competency that they will work for multiple handlers and the training will be reliable once they are handed over to their green/novice owners. I have successfully completed board-and-trains on the following dogs.

  • Zed, an Australian Shepherd
  • Duke, a Doberman Pinscher
  • Rosie, a Jack Russel Terrier
  • Rosie (again), a Dobe Mix

ALL of the dogs listed above have been trained without the use of any food rewards. ALL of the dogs above are happy, enthusiastic workers.

I would also like to introduce to you some dogs past and present that have also been trained void of any food rewards.

First and most interesting is my trainers Chows. After much digging, we were able to find the above photos of Applewoods Ximena UD. The first picture was taken before she earned her UD, and was in The World of Chow Chow book. The third picture is of her, Margot and Bill Koehler himself. The last picture is her practicing fronts with Margot.

Second are some pretty famous hounds, owned by Paula McCollum. You may have seen Jeb in the AKC Gazette or Family Dog Magazines. If you didn't catch him there, he was also on the cover of Front and Finish with his podium NOI picture. Both he and Suzie have been featured in Front and Finish. These pictures are both of Jeb working. Very impressive alphabet soup he and Suzie have on their name's huh?!

OTCH UUD Smokin' Bullet Jebediah Blue UDX3 VER Bh (NAPWDA Cadaver/SAR Area/Obed)
OTCH UCDX Daugherty's Blazin Blue Suzie UDX4 OM2 Bh (NAPWDA Obed/Tracking/Area)

You can go see more at Paula's Blog or on Jeb's Facebook Page.

I mean, if this isn't a happy, steady, reliable working dog then I don't know what is!

I guess my point is that it is working for us... and for a bunch of other people too. The decision was not made on a whim to be cookie free.
PS- There is now a frog living in Margot's goldfish pond. :p

Monday, June 28, 2010

Obedience Match

Here is what didn't completely suck of our Utility run-through at the GSD obedience match this weekend. I suppose he did pretty well for it being something like 99* outside and only just seriously starting Utility work at the end of March.

I broke Rugby's heeling the other day. I was hoping it wasn't so, but he let me know Sunday that is indeed broken. I did this simply by drilling the figure 8 with him. I have never drilled any heeling exercises (at least since before novice) with him before simply because "if it aint broke.... don't fix it." However I was doing the exercise with a couple other dogs and figured it wouldn't hurt if Rugby joined it to. We worked the drill for only 4 minutes, and he did it perfectly. Since then however.... our heeling is slipping away from us. Maybe he has an attitude about being drilled? Maybe 4 minutes was too long for him to work one exercise? Maybe the exericise is irrelevant to the broken heeling? Maybe they aren't entirely broken and it was just too hot outside? Who knows. Doesn't matter since we still had to do our signals on lead.

Articles - We actually added two more to his pile but didn't work that many for the match since he was A) some place new and B) in a ring setting. He worked the 5 beautifully though, so he will start back up with the 7 again tomorrow. I can't tell you why he was doing that silly stuff on his fronts, my best guess is because we were in the sun since as soon as I released him he went into the shade.

Directed Retrieve - great! His actual directed retrieve isn't that great, but as far as AKC Utility directed retrieving is concerned I think he is ok. Of course we won't set our standards that low so we will keep working untill he has a directed retrieve that I consider good. Working pivots some more probably won't hurt us.

Moving Stand- He is standing when the judge says "stand your dog." Why he anticipates the moving stand and not the signals I have no idea. We need to work on this. Once we get through the actual stand when **I** say so , and not the judge it is fine (but not at full distance yet).

Directed Jumping
--Go Outs- I had to send him for a target the first time, after that our only problem was that he was wanting to stop a little short of the baby gate. I let him get away with it today since that will be a very simply thing to fix. It wasn't entirely bad.
--Directed Jumping- still lacking that practice since we haven't been doing them at full distance. I had to tap each jump before he would go.
I left this out of the video since it was just training in the ring and it is still in lots of pieces.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nice Long Walk

To better clarify the challenge rules - puppies don't count. :p More specifically, 12 months or older.
AND I have some really good prize ideas but still need a few more votes to pick which ones to use.

These pictures are from our trip to the lake last weekend. I thought for a second that those geese would try to eat Rugby especially since there were all those babies but they didn't mind him at all and just moved out of our way. More shocking is that Rugby didn't mind them either. I don't think he looked twice at them!!

I have no explanation for this. (??)

Did I mention Rugby is working 5 articles yet? He is doing better with more articles than he was with less. I am so happy. Now to convince him he can smell without his tongue, hmmmm

Go outs are much better. I didn't think we were actually make that much progress but we attempted a run through again last week and he pulled it off! Still needs work, but he is going 40ft now more or less straight, and that was without any target sticks for him to retrieve.

I have started doing just the signals for the directed jumping (minus go outs obvisously). Today was the first day that I moved the jumps apart and just used signals. I am wondering if we should also be working them at full distance with voice and signal while we work our way up to full distance with just signals. I just started thinking this because when we do our run throughs the jumping part is getting a little worse since we aren't practicing them in that way for now. ...Or maybe we should just stop doing them in run throughs untill they are actually ready!

Signals... sigh. They are better, much better actually but still seem sooo far away.

Monday, June 21, 2010

10 Dog Challenge

This is the 200th post to Rugby's blog. To acknowledge this benchmark we would like to issue a challenge to our readers.

In Thursday night class a few weeks ago we were discussing the sad state of affairs concerning the future of dogs. Depending on where you look for statistics 74-76% of all dogs in America are spayed/neutered. The viable breeding population that is left after that 74% is not a large enough gene pool to continue to meet the demand for dogs we have currently.

With this in mind we were all asked to find 5 intact dogs and 5 intact bitches that did not include our classmates, or any of the students at Applewoods.

Since none of us have succeeded so far so I am passing it on to you.

-Find 5 intact dogs and 5 intact bitches that do not include your own dogs (stanger's dogs).
-Take a picture of the dogs, and when you have found 10 dogs post the list of dogs on your blog with their pictures
-Send me an email at biscotti702ATyahooDOTcom with the link to your post.

The first person to find 10 will recieve a prize, that I have not decided on yet. :p
The next 5 after that will recieve a smaller prize.
I will pick the prizes and post them later this week.

GOOD LUCK! Happy Hunting!

"In fact, 28 percent of owned dogs and 16 percent of owned cats are not spayed or neutered, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association."
Rugby's regular readers are already aware of how I feel about H$U$....
even so, here are the statistics from the enemy-
"Seventy-five percent of owned dogs are spayed or neutered"

Here are some Applewoods Dogs that still have their reproductive organs -

Rugby, of course!

Eppy the English Shepherd -

Brandy, the Kerry Blue Terrier and Leo the Newfie -

Sugar, the Lab -

Bliss, the Golden-

Scout, Sugar's Brother -

Caruso, the Standard Poodle (although they are scheduled to come off soon. :( )

Cabot, the Brussels Griffon-

And lastly, Lillith the Doberman whose organs are set to come out soon as well. :(

Now if only the Applewoods Dogs could count towards the challenge! :p

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Directed Jumping

Here is a video of where Rugby is at right now. This is the full 40ft, with my exaggerated signal. I don't think he will need that for very long. He has started to anticipate a little bit, so I have been (from 40ft) dropping him, then sitting him again, THEN sending him for a jump. This is without the go outs still since we have only gotten those up to 20ft still.

Here is a quick video of him doing one of each. We only did it in the one directions since I was videoing myself and couldn't decide which way would come out better. I still managed to cut myself out when we set up for the bar jump though. Figures! :p

I changed the way we are working go outs slightly the other day. I was, if he passed a target stick, sitting him then calling him back and just before he got to the target giving him a fetch command to help him find it (which he does) and then sending again. The problem with this is that he has become tooo concerned about finding the stick, and that isn't really the purpose of this retrieve. I decided I don't want him to ever find a target between him and me since that defeats the purpose of getting him to run away from me in search of the stick. Two days ago we did them and I switch the correction to something similar to the glove "correction" (where I stop him, move closer, and send again).

Sooo, if he goes off track, I am still sitting him but on my way out I am picking up any missed targets, walking him back a bit and putting him on the same, correct track and and sending him again. If there isn't a target further than him, then I will sneakily put one out there. I decided to do this the other day when he was going out, decided he went too far (so in his mind he must have missed it) and turned back looking for the target. This is when I realized that he really wasn't getting the point of the exercise, and was just going to where it had been before to look for it. I was just talking with Margot about how likely Rugby is to become patterned trained, and that is what I had succeeded in doing!

Yesterday we did three sets of three starting at 20ft, and he got every-single-one perfectly. I took video of him the other day before the switch but I want to take another one and compare the two of them before I decide if we should continue with what I have been doing.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Tunnel - Revisited

First we must explain our header photo. A while back we had done the tunnel of legs and since we had a couple new dogs that were steady enough to add to the tunnel, Rugby suggested that we revisit the activity.

This was the new tunnel, which consisted of Leo the Newfie. You guys don't know him but he has his CH, his UD and a couple carting and water dog titles that I don't know. Caruso, Jasmine and Sugar have been introduced before already.
The finished product -

Since I slowed Utility back down I think we are making more "real" progress that requires him to learn the exercises on a higher level.

I have lots to say about Utility and not a lot of time to say it so this part will wait till tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Back to School

...well, kind of!

Rugby after he went to the run through class this morning (where he did very well - except the sit signal with I will take the blame for this time) went with me, Lily the golden, Cabot the brussels griffon along with his owner Pam to school. We were multitasking on the trip since I needed to buy books for my summer class but we also needed to train in a new place. I didn't train Rugby there, although I should have, simply because I was feeling particularly lazy. At least he got to work earlier in the morning. He also got a nice long walk to the book store and was able to hang out with Cabot for the trip.

I am not sure how I would have carried it, but I wish I would have brought my real camera with me - there was some good photos missed today. Here are all three dogs and Pam waiting directly infront of the "Please No Pets" sign - oops.