I have been doing a bit more heel work on the lead to stop Ragnar popping off every two steps! I am just walking up and down over the same piece of ground and he is starting to put a bit more duration together and expect rapid rewards. This is helping him not to leave me after a treat.
I have continued to work on the boys retrieving one at a time and Ragnar seems to be settling to that and not fretting about waiting his turn as much. He can now remain seated while Erik retrieves and also while I throw Erik’s reward ball before I release Ragnar and reward with his ball. Progress is being made here too 😊
I have also been working on very short distances of off lead heelwork with the two boys together whilst out on our daily walk. This is also showing signs of improvement.
I do a duration sit stay of around 1 minute most days when out on a walk. Ragnar is managing this well now and even stays if Erik moves. Erik should really know better!!! I need to do some practice with this when Ragnar is on his own and I will have a chance to do this over the next few days as Erik will be on minimal exercise following his back treatment. Ideal opportunity for separate walks.
Today I had another breakthrough in my understanding of Ragnar and his retrieve and how to practice a quiet delivery. I worked a bit on short distances and no reward if he barked when he delivered. We had some success with that but there was a lot of failure so I’m not to happy with just progressing with that strategy as I think it will increase the frustration in the long term.
So, I tried putting the dummy out to find when we were hunting and that worked well, quiet pick up and quiet delivery to hand. So, I think I will work on building the value of dummies retrieving with hunting to start with before I go back to the marks. I am also starting to teach the blind retrieve body cue and verbal cue sending out to a bowl of food. I will see if doing memories and blinds also help with the quiet delivery.
I have entered Ragnar in a Working Test in early August so that will give me a good deadline to work towards, helping me to be more focused on my training! The work sorting out the new training venue is slowing down now so I have more time to spend training the dogs again. I am looking forward to this as I have been doing just the minimum with them since December.
We went to a group training session with Geoff Shore, just two if us which was great for Ragnar as it was his first real group gundog training session. Not too much waiting about for his turn. We did some retrieving which went better than I thought it would. He picked one of Geoff’s dummies first time and then retrieved to hand with no barking. 😊 He did several more retrieves, including a couple over a small fence with no noise. We also did some hunting and he did a good job through a sparse cover crop. He managed to wait around off lead and watch Geoff throwing dummies for the other dog to find and retrieve and no noise. Interestingly every time he thought Geoff was going to throw a dummy he put himself into heel position! He spent all session off lead and only ran in once and that was my fault as I said something and I think he thought that he had been sent. Really happy with how he managed himself waiting when it wasn’t his turn and also how he managed to do all his behaviours in a completely new environment without a hiccup. Lots of things still left to teach but love this little guy and how he isn’t phased by any new environment and manages to be happy and focused whatever I throw at him.
I think that this is now the time to push on as his foundations seem to be solid 😊
I have managed to do quite a bit of training with Ragnar this week as the boys are on separate walks due to Erik hurting his back. So, each day we are doing some sit stay work. He is managing 1 minute at ten paces in various areas of the park, today there was a dog walking past and he was fine with that. We are also doing some on-lead heelwork, some hunting, some stop whistle work, sometimes after a bird flush, sometimes just when he is running around. Sometimes the stop is followed by a ball throw and sometimes a retrieve is thrown out and he is either sent for it or rewarded with a ball throw. We are also working on memory retrieves with various dummies.
I have also booked some more one to one sessions with Geoff so hopefully that will keep me on track for the working test in August.
Some big news, Ragnar is now sleeping downstairs without being shut into his crate at night. The first night he came upstairs twice and I told him to go back to bed. Since then he hasn’t come upstairs at all, waiting with Erik downstairs until I go down in the morning. Another milestone 😊
Some more good training today in the park, amongst all the normal stuff we added a few retrieves across a ditch. The final one started on mowed ground, went through a rough grassed area, over ditch and onto mowed grass and then returned the same way. All that and a quiet delivery – success 😊.
His marking into rough grass is improving as is his persistence when he doesn’t get it immediately.
I had the boys out in a crate games session and needed to pop back to the training cabin, I left them in the field, Ragnar was in his crate with the door open. He managed to stay in his crate whilst I went about 100yrds away and went out of sight into the cabin for a short time. He was still there when I got back. Well done little one 😊