Thursday, January 22, 2009

Smackdown on the Long Down

The smackdown look. He does this sometimes now when another dog runs by.
If you're a faithful i-schutzhund blog reader, lol, you know that Kane and I are "this" close to being ready for the BH. Read more about what the BH entails on this fabulous site. By the way, BH is also called Traffic Steady Companion Dog Test.
A big part of the BH is the obedience routine, which I have no doubts that we will pass. During the obedience routing there is another handler and dog who are doing a long down at the side of the field. The handler walks their dog to a spot on the side, the dog sits when they halt, the leash is unsnapped after ok from the judge, the dog is told to lay down and the handler walks 30 paces forward away from the dog and remains standing with their back to the dog until the other dog has finished their routine. Being good, mom!

Kane's issue is dog aggression and wanting most of all to run for the other dog when it runs. We also have the possibility of the OTHER dog breaking and going for Kane, which would be just as awful. So, we've been giving Kane the smackdown on the long down. Love the headline. :-) This entails a long line being tied to a lightpost and then we do a controlled heel to where the clip on the line is, stop, attached the line, heel a few more steps. Then I unhook the leash (which is done in trial) and give the down command.
I then walk 20 paces or so away from him and stand with my side facing him so that I can still see.
He does, of course, still have the remote collar on.

This doesn't sound like fun, and it isn't. But I need him to be know that if he breaks from that long down, I will be VERY, VERY upset. The trick is to use the remote collar consistently and always in conjunction with a command. When he complies, he is always rewarded.

Interestingly he has done quite well the past few times, we've had 2 dogs that he's not used to (Thanks Nick and Sammy!) and also Nobi whom he does know. Nobi even likes to catch his ball or tug and run close to Kane during his "victory lap." Kane stayed down and I was very proud.Nobi catching a ball!

The idea is to continue this every time we have practice, and then continue some more with no line, but still the remote collar, and then without.

Wish us luck!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Protection Training Routine - Video!

Notice the drop of drool from Kane's mouth....lol.

Greeting Schutzhund Friends!
A Happy New Year to all of you and I hope everyone had a good holiday. Kane got a (ginormous) box of (extra-large) Milkbones for Christmas and I think he liked it because right now he is sitting outside the pantry hoping I'll walk in there and get him one. :-) Brat.
My wonderful friend Jackie has a fabulous new Nikon D90 SLR that also can do small movies. Below is a protection training routine from Jan 3 that she took of me and Kane. There are a bunch of clips together. Below that is a synopsis of what we are trying to accomplish and what I see as the things we still have to work on. Suggestions are always welcome.

video

Clip 1: The first run of the blinds. You can see that he thought about going to the right of the blind instead but changed his mind. Dogs are supposed to search the blind in the same fashion, so I think we would loose points for that. He is doing that less and less though. As always you can tell his level of engagement from the barking when he's quite a ways away from the blind. There is a marked change in position from almost center in front of the helper and then continuously moving to the right. I'd like to work on this, but I've yet to ask Richard what it's all about.
The down and out are so-so but they will improve in the next clip.
I've been working on the quiet command at home this week, because as you can tell, he's not minding it now (when we walk back to starting position.)
Clip 2: Second run of the blinds. This time he comes in even better center, but still moves to the right. He likes that elbow section of the sleeve. I think because it is less stressful to bite there, he doesn't have to look the helper in the eye that way.
Clip 3: Here we are heeling in a left-hand box around the helper. I'm having some issues with him not properly heeling in protection. He is very distracted (obviously) and keeps looking at the helper. We will continue to work and I'm positive we can get through it. The feedback from the team is that I need to reward him sooner for a few good steps and not wait so long. The reward for good heeling is, of course, a bite. :-)
Clip 4: Now Travis is in the blind. Brave man. We are heeling in front of the blind, working on the same issue as in the previous clip. You can tell Kane looks at the helper every time we walk by the blind. We then set up for the escape bite (for now I leave him in a sit).
Clip 5. Set up for another escape bite. Now Kane knows what is coming and I'm having some problems making him sit in heel position. Nice grip on this one, but then he will not out the sleeve without turning the remote collar up, way up.
Clip 6. Another escape bite. This time, instead of slipping the sleeve, the helper does a freeze (stand still and drop sleeve down) at which point Kane should respond to my Out command and go into a hold and bark. There is a little bit of growling, but he does out on one command both times.
Clip 7. Another escape bite. This time, he needs two commands (and a remote collar nick) to out the sleeve.
Clip 8. We set up for the side transport with some barking, which is not good. Kane's side transport is good, but it looks like he is bumping the sleeve with his nose (not allowed) and he is crowding the helper. He should heel to me, but look at the helper.
All in all, a good training session! Thanks for watching!