The rest of Nov was a bit of a washout as I was spending all my spare time sorting out the move to my new training venue and doing various jobs that need to be done. Ragnar has been learning to just hang out with me and Erik whilst not a lot is happening.
I have been maintaining all of Ragnar’s basics and his lead work around where we live is improving. For a while he needed to be on a head collar for most of it but now he can manage a lot of the time just on a flat collar even though I am having to walk both the dogs together on a brace lead.
It has been interesting with bringing Ragnar into the family at this busy time as it has meant that I have worked more on being able to have both dogs with me and find out how to do bits of training with them together and also with one dog watching. This is still a learning curve for me as previously I have done most of my puppies training one on one, but needs must at the moment and so we are getting on with it 🙂
I am starting to have a bit more time to be able to spend with the dogs and so I have managed at least a little bit of training with them both each day. Yesterday I worked on going through crate games at the new venue especially on getting a strong send to the crate. I had got to the point where I was using a toy to reward the ‘Change your mind’ game where the dog is sent to the crate and released immediately they arrive there to come back out to play with you with a toy; and I found that Ragnar couldn’t send back to the crate when I had a toy under my arm. So lots of proofing required for that!
Ragnar is progressing well with both his retrieve and stop whistle training.
Something which I have noticed since walking both dogs together more is that Ragnar is very possessive of his toys when Erik is near. He is fine when we are on our own playing but he struggles and can start to bark if I play with both dogs together.
I am working on doing short session and lots of rewards for Ragnar being able to sit once I have his toy and whilst I take Erik’s toy and then finish the game. This is making small steps in the right direction but it needs a lot of management at the moment and so it is very much a work in progress.
I have been working some more on how to target the barking and increased possessiveness that Ragnar has when playing with a ball on a rope when Erik is around. I tried taking an extra ball so that I could do two toys again and go back to having a toy to swap. This worked very well and Ragnar didn’t bark or try to interact with Erik whilst holding the ball and barking, so success with playing the game. Stopping still caused a frustration bark, I have had some success previously with feeding him after I stopped but it needs to be high value food. In an ideal world I would scatter some high value food on the floor for him to find and eat to settle down post play, however, as Erik has dietary issues which means he cannot eat anything but his special dried food this becomes problematic. So I will have to go with hand feeding him and try to transition that way. Note to self must go shopping!!!
Ragnar is also starting to show some odd behaviours which I think are related to his increase in testosterone. He has started to cock his leg occasionally now (not an odd behaviour!) which shows that his testosterone levels are increasing. He has started not to want to go outside first thing in the morning even though when he does go out he needs to go to the toilet. He has also started not to want to go through the front door. I am pretty much just ignoring this and waiting for him to get his head sorted out. Often he will go out of either door quite happily and then every now and again he doesn’t want to. I am going to take the wait and see approach with this one 🙂
Just had a good lesson with Geoff Shore mainly concentrating on the hunting side of the training today. Lots to do to shape Ragnar’s hunting to balance where he expects the rewards to be. At the moment he is too focused on expecting the rewards to come from me so I need to work on him finding more on the ground and pairing that expectation with his hunting cue. A lot of what I expected as I haven’t been able to do very much work on his hunting over the last month or so. I’m inspired to get on and do some more now that life is settling down a bit I can focus on the dogs’ training a bit more.
Photo by Farlap Photography