Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Hurrah for training

I am going to admit to something shameful.

I haven't been bothered to train. Of course I am training our guys yet I had completely ran out of enthusiasm for training the podenco pups. Yes on a day to day basis they are learning and I do train as I go about my daily life with them but I have done no one to one training with them. It has been classic...you all know of vets who's dogs are falling apart at the seams, builders whose houses never get finished....now my guys are definitely walked but blah blah when it came to training.

Thankfully my enthusiasm is back. A couple things have made it happen. One was being at a loose end before a trip to do unmentionables to parts of my body that shall remain anonymous. Then the second was tormenting baggages. Tips hurt himself on Monday trying to shoulder barge his way into a game only the shoulder he chose was Izzo's and he crumpled instead with Izzo continuing on with his fun game with Flute. So restricted to lead exercise Tips is completely manic.

When Tips is manic Flute is more so. So we had flying legs, leaping sofas, baby gates rugby tackles and slightly demented play. Separating helped with Flute who preceded to persuade Tumble to play fight. That left Tips all fired up and no where to go. Oh goodie. There was nothing for it I was going to have to wear the little pointy nosed muppets out.

Out came the primula, the target stick, a cushion that is too small to be of any use and two willing pupils.

Flute has done some clicker training so we had a bit play...established what was happening and he was off. Walk backwards, down, sit, paws, bark, stare at me, prey and touch...no cues just letting him free offer and play. We established a sit and down on cue...a short back on cue and a stay cue is in the pipeline. We started our mat training with the cushion and he loved having to work out the touch command, moving away from the prize in order to get it. We finished on a really happy productive note and before Tips self combusted with frustration on the other side of the baby gate. Flute went off with his jackpot and watched quietly whilst I started with Tipsy.

Tips hadn't done any clicker so we started with something he already liked doing. When he wants something you have he lies his head on you arm or leg, looks up longingly and sighs. So everytime he did this for the magical primula I clucked at him ( I don't use a mechanical clicker I just cluck my tongue twice). Bingo with an intense look on his face he practically threw his head onto my leg stared and leapt on the offered primula as soon as that magical cluck came.

Soon I was able to cluck when he looked straight at me. In seconds he was still, unnaturally still...then he would look straight into my eyes and his tail starts slow wagging...knowing what was coming next! It is interesting to see him thinking and what he does in the lead up to the behaviour. Clicking ( cluck cluck hehe) teaches you to be patient and most of all to observe all that is around you something I have learnt few people have the ability to do.

After some targetting where he had to touch the end of a stick where ever it was places we moved on to sit. Soon he was sitting consistently though I have yet to attach a cue until he is reliable.

So why hurrah for training? Well instead of a good walk, a play and some tormenting they got ten minutes of training and both are completely out for the count, in true sighthound fashion, on the settee and dog bed. Listen...can you hear that wonderful thing? Silence or rather gentle snoring ( cat) the odd groan ( Shy) and slow rhythmical breathing ( the lads). Hurrah!

Guess that means I need to get sorted for the dreaded appointment...just so you know guys ( canine guys) I can genuinely sympathise with you for once it isn't me wearing the rubber gloves arghhhh.

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