Saturday, June 28, 2008

6/28 - Protection and Heeling

We didn't get to track this morning, since I was running a bit late. However, we had a very good obedience practice! Kane paid good attention during heeling and his left turns are getting really good. I make sure I step with my left foot and give an eye marker to the left before I do so. It's amazing how quickly they pick up on that.The walking sit is becoming much faster. I'm stepping down with my right when giving the command and off with my left. I also inhale a bit more before I give the command. I have to watch that with my breathing though. I've noticed that when we practice in the backyard during the week and it's hot, I tend to breathe deeper and harder and he sometimes thinks I'm about to give the SIT command during heeling. lol.

We had a good run at protection as well. We ran a blind about 3 times. I could tell that Kane thought about going around to the right instead of the left when reaching the blind with the helper. He didn't, but he was growling as well. He had good outs and pretty good grips today. We also heeled around in a small square pattern with Julie helping me with remote collar corrections (thanks Miss J!). When we had 5-6 steps of good heeling I gave him my bite command and pointed toward Richard - i.e. the bite was a reward for good heeling. It got better and better and the fourth and last time was really good.

Small crowd at practice today. A few people are on vacation, visiting family and so on. Had to leave early for my godson's birthday party, but we had a good practice. It was hot and humid today, about 97 F.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Where we are at with…..TRACKING!

Deep Nose.

We just started articles (3 tracks). I’m putting treats (hot dogs) in a small container under the article and tell him down when he gets there. So far he lays down correctly and enjoys the marked reward.
We have been doing corners for about 3 months now and he is getting pretty good, he still falters a little sometimes. I basically stop behind him and make sure the leash is tight so that he cannot move too far – keep saying “search” until he goes the right way, and calmly praise when he first starts to move in the right direction. I still mark the corners heavily with connected footsteps and give a reward about 1.5 doglengths (about 6 feet with my dog – he’s an extra-long GSD! lol) away from the corner.
All in all, Kane is a pretty consistent tracker. He is fast, but not overly so. Keeps his nose down even if he doesn’t smell every footprint. He gets tired on long tracks, and I still bait the track with about 10-15 steps at the most in between baits (hot dogs). More towards the end when I know he gets tired.
I enjoy tracking, although I find it difficult to "read" what my dog is doing. I’ve read a lot about it, a few good sites are (of course) the Leerburg web board and
this site. and I always walk with my team-mates on their tracks, when we track together, to try to learn as much as possible. Anyone selling stock in Oscar Maier? :-)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

An Introduction and How we got started

Greetings & Welcome to our blog. My name is Lena, and this is my canine friend Kane, 3.5 years old. We are involved in the dog sport of Schutzhund, and this blog is a digital way for us to keep track of our progress and at the same time keep a log of how our practices and trials go as we inch along on our Schutzhund Adventures.
I am a first-time dog owner, and Kane and I got together through a a set of circumstances involving a newspaper ad, an ex boyfriend and no intention at all of getting a dog. He’s been with me since he was 6 weeks old.
After frantically doing as much research as possible online for puppy-raising, obedience training, food issues, potty training, vaccinations, bath time, nail-clipping and so on, I finally ran into a site called, owned and operated by Ed Frawley and his staff. This site has an awesome discussion board where level-headed people give much valuable input on various dog raising and dog training issues. This is where I started reading about Schutzhund. Having a German Shepherd, I immediately was fascinated. The control and level of obedience these dogs showed seemed unattainable at first, not to mention the joy that both handler and dog seemed to get from the training and competing – that’s the bond I wanted with my dog.
My dog is not of any fantastic working dog lineage, he is what would be mainly considered American lines, with his great great grandparents being titled schutzhund dogs from some very reputable kennels in Belgium and Germany. I suppose I’ll post a link to his pedigree someday.
Working lines or not, I was really interested in Schutzhund, and after meeting up with my current training group, I brought Kane out to see if he might have the right drives. He sure did.
I’d like to point out again (in case you missed it below my blog title), that I don’t expect to win any championships. Of course, I may dream about it a little, lol, but the main thing is the incredible bond we have developed and how much fun we have practicing. Kane is my buddy, my best friend and I love him fiercely for all the joy he has brought me. We truly enjoy every track, every obedience practice, every bite. We have bad days and good days. Days when I cannot stop smiling because he finally figured out the walking sit. Days when I wonder if we will ever pass the BH.

I’m not sure that I’ll have many readers, but please feel free to drop me a comment if you have any questions or just want to say hi.
I’d like to also take this opportunity to give a huge thank you to our trainer, Richard Shook, and all my friends that I train with on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings. Thanks for all your excellent advice, for challenging us and helping us get to where we are today.