Sunday, July 26, 2009

and by the way...

...guess who didn't get to go...

Lure Coursing Champion of the World!

This Saturday, CBARRC hosted an open Lure Coursing event. For those of you not familiar with lure coursing (this weekend was my first time!), it's a wired course with two plastic flags attached. There is an operator who controls the pace of the flags depending on the age and athletic ability of the dog. This sport is ideal for sight-hounds...hence, the strong presence of the Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

CBARRC opened the course to anyone who wanted to try. J and I just wanted to check it out - we knew this isn't an event for B since the dog chasing the lure is off-leash and other dogs are waiting on deck for their go. We figured S would be too lazy to take part and figured if anything, this would be a great socialization experience for S.

We were pleasantly surprised. At first, S watched the other dogs chasing the lure with an inquisitive turn to her head. The third time she saw the lures, she was crying like a banchee! I would have been embarrassed had I not been at an event where this kind of behavior is expected - the whole point is for the dog to get so excited that they'll chase the lure. After about 5 minutes of crying her head off, I looked to J and said, " I guess we better sign her up!"

The first video is S's first run ever. I had never handled a dog for luring so I let Carri show me how it's done. The second video is S's second run and my first as handler...what an awesome experience!!

I couldn't be more proud!


PS - Listen to S in the second video - she's crying the whole time!!

Closing and Opening

J set up a cool little "obstacle" course for S. I take no credit for this particular obstacle - it's all him!

If you recall, we'd been working on teaching her Open It, Close It, and Get a Towel. We've got some fine tuning to do but it's coming along nicely.

The funniest thing is that we haven't properly indicated what we want her to do with the towel (we ultimately want her bringing it to us). So you'll see in the video she comes up with some ideas of her own.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Training When Guests Come Over

***Posted on our facebook page!! Come visit us:***

Yesterday was the celebration of our country's independence and with that comes the ceremonial...BBQ!

We had some guests over and, as predicted, the girls weren't necessarily the most perfect dogs at the door. In their defense, they've never been fully trained in that situation. If you don't train a dog in the situation where they'll need to behave the most, you can't expect perfect behavior!

So what did I do instead? I kept an eagle eye on what they did right while greeting the guests and I rewarded it. Also, if they started to get scared/uneasy/unsure, I encouraged them by reinforcing their courage. B hates being pet from above her sketches her out and makes her duck under the weight of someone's petting hand. So when someone pet her from above her head, I showered her with her favorite treats.

If you keep experiences positive by associating treats with everything, you're more likely to have a well-adjusted dog with excellent bounce back. If you haven't trained something yet and you know that situation is coming up (hello! Fireworks anyone!!??) then be prepared with YUMMY, high-value treats and you can turn any potential disaster in to a training session!

Happy Training!