Raising Ragnar 11th Instalment

Raising Ragnar 10th Instalment
11th December 2018
Raising Ragnar 12th Instalment
11th December 2018
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I think I may have over done it with lie down for a ball as Ragnar can no longer sit for a ball!!!  Need to do some more sit work.  Hand touch is still going well.

Nothing major to report, just keeping on maintaining what we have.

Ragnar has lost all his canine baby teeth so is struggling to hold a ball at the moment, it keeps popping out of his mouth which is very frustrating when he is swimming and it keeps running away from him!!

Have put hand delivery training on hold for a bit until his mouth is less sore.


I have had a head slap/Doh! /Aha! moment the other day whilst out training Erik and then Ragnar with some hunting.  As some of you who have read the diary of a squeaky gundog will know Erik has a problem with squeaking and shouting when asked to wait during hunting or for anything exciting to start.  I have been trying to build in some stillness between finding one article and starting to hunt on, it is improving but as always with varying degrees of success.  So after training Erik I got Ragnar out and suddenly realised that I am building the same problem in with Ragnar!

Ragnar initially was reluctant to let go of a toy and so I spent time playing two toys with him so that he now understands that letting go of his toy means that the game will start again.  Two toys involves throwing a second toy the instant that the dog lets go of the one that is in his mouth.  We have now progressed to being able to play with one ball and so I have been throwing the ball as soon as Ragnar lets go of his ball to reinforce the letting go.  All working well so I then progress to getting him to sometimes do a cued behaviour before immediately throwing the ball.

All of this is very fast paced to engage him with the game and reinforce the letting go which was the initial problem.  Big learning point for me – I need to move on from this before I create a pattern of expectation that movement is what gets me to throw the ball.  What I need to do is teach that stillness gets me to throw the ball.

Erik has taught me that dogs can create patterns a lot quicker than I think they can and so I need to use this learning with Ragnar.  My ultimate goal is trialing and working tests which involve a lot of stillness in exciting circumstances, so therefore I need to find a way to make stillness very reinforcing for a puppy that loves to run and be busy.  As my trainer often tells me I am my dog’s worst enemy as I am basically a spaniel in a human body!  I get so focused on doing the stuff that I tend to forget to teach the ‘not doing stuff’.  Also stillness is a great concept to teach so that is what I will be trying to do alongside the other behaviours.

Ragnar had his first puppy class and we both had so much fun.  Looking forward to continuing this over the next 5 weeks.  He did his focus work, play and recall really well and had some fun trying out walking on new and interesting surfaces.


We all went out for a walk at Tarr steps, lots of fun for the boys, swimming and pottering about investigating a new place.  There are a huge number of Pheasant on the way from the car park.  Ragnar was interested but not over the top 🙂  Need to do more work just chilling out near to pheasants.

We went to another puppy class.  Ragnar worked really well, stayed focused and happy to work and play.  We did some crate work and I progressed his crate games to sending in from about 3m away and he was very enthusiastic.  We also worked on distractions with the door open.  All this with other puppies and people training in the room.

I am continuing to add stillness into the ball game so Ragnar will now sit still for between 3 and 5 seconds before I throw the ball.  Which apparently is a lifetime if you are a spaniel!!!


I am continuing with the stillness get me to throw a ball.  Need to do some more work on recognition of sit cue.  Ragnar can’t respond to that  cue when lots going on in his head.

I did a bit more work today on lead work.  I started off throwing a ball and walking on a loose lead towards it but the session had to change to not jumping up at me when I put the ball away or getting it back out again.  Some good progress on both the lead work and the not jumping.


We have been to another puppy class, Ragnar was very good again.  We did some more crate games and progressed to food on the floor and toys dropped outside the open crate door.  All good.

Ragnar slipped and has hurt his shoulder so is on restricted exercise at the moment.  So I am focusing more on controlled exercise and training.  So we have been working on sit at heel and retrieve.  Starting on stay this morning.

Sit at heel is progressing well he can now follow a hand gesture with no food lure and get into position and stay there for a short time whilst being fed.

The retrieve has been a slow process, partly I feel due to teething over the last few weeks but this week we seem to be making some good progress.  Ragnar will now pick up the article and drop it when I click.  I have had a few ‘accidental’ deliveries to hand so I don’t think it will be long now before we have the pickup and give to me.

Ragnar had his debut as a demo dog for crate games when I started another beginners group.  He did a really good job and was flying back into the crate for the collar grab game 🙂  He was also nice and steady with the distractions with the door open even though one of my friends who he loves was there standing not too far from the crate.

Ragnar is also learning to wait quietly in the crate at home whilst I clicker train Erik.  He struggled the first time and was a bit noisy so I covered the crate and he was quiet.  Uncovered him and went back to rewarding quiet behaviour.  Subsequent training sessions he has coped better.  I am then working on training Ragnar to retrieve with Erik on a raised bed watching.  Ultimately I would like to be able to train Erik whilst Ragnar is on the raised bed and then I will be able to, long term, train one dog whilst the other one just watches anywhere. Well that is the plan !